College of Human Sciences

Unisans inaugurated as ASSAf and SAYAS members

The Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) inaugurated a record number of 41 leading scientists as new members at its annual awards ceremony on 11 October 2017, increasing the total membership to 542. Newly included in this prestigious academy is Sonja Bosch, Professor in Unisa’s Department of African Languages.

In addition, nine new members of the South African Young Academy of Science (SAYAS) were inaugurated, including Chris de Wet, Associate Professor of New Testament and Early Christian Studies in Unisa’s Department of Biblical and Ancient Studies.

Prof Sonja Bosch has been inaugurated as a member of ASSAf.

Prof Chris De Wet has been inaugurated as a member of SAYAS.

Scientific contributions recognised

Bosch said that it is indeed an honour to be elected as a member of ASSAf, in the sense that her scientific contributions in a cross-disciplinary field have been recognised as being of significant benefit to society. “My main research focus is the technological development of African languages, which is typically set in a team environment. I am looking forward to the new challenge of building and sharing further knowledge as member of ASSAf, in particular within the context of the newly established South African Centre for Digital Language Resources (SADiLaR) which provides a strategic platform for realising sustainable multilingualism in South Africa,” she said.

Bosch’s main research focus is on the technological development of African languages, in particular the linguistic aspects of natural language processing of Nguni languages. She is project leader of the African Languages Wordnet project. She is also chairperson of the Human Language Technology Expert Panel of the Minister of Arts and Culture. She holds an NRF C1 rating.

ASSAf represents the country in the international community of science academies. Since its inception, ASSAf has grown from a small, emergent organisation to a well-established academy. New ASSAf members are elected each year by the full existing membership. Membership of the academy is a great honour and is in recognition of scholarly achievement. Members are the core asset of the academy and give of their time and expertise voluntarily in the service of society.

Promote research by young and emerging scholars in South Africa

Equally honoured and humbled is De Wet. “I am truly humbled by my election to the South African Young Academy of Science. It is a privilege to know that I will be working with an exceptionally creative and diverse team of young researchers, from various fields, to promote research by young and emerging scholars in South Africa. Being part of SAYAS awards the opportunity to combine one’s research activities with the mandate of community engagement. I look forward to contributing to the activities of SAYAS for my term,” he said.

De Wet completed his studies at University of Johannesburg (then RAU) and the University of Pretoria. He is an international expert on ancient Greek and Roman slavery and labour exploitation, and has published two monographs on the topic. He holds an NRF Y1 rating.

SAYAS is the voice of young scientists in South Africa. SAYAS aims to contribute towards solutions to national and global challenges facing society, provide a platform for young scientists to influence policy decisions; contribute towards the development of scientific capacity in South Africa through mentoring and role-modeling of future scientists, and foster opportunities for interdisciplinary collaborations amongst young scientists.

*Compiled by Kirosha Naicker





Publish date: 2017-10-13 00:00:00.0