UJ Alumni Awards winners announced

23 September 2021

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The University of Johannesburg’s School of Tourism and Hospitality (STH), recently, hosted the Alumni and Industry event, where alumni, Brandon Adams and Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa were named STH Rising Star and STH Golden Circle Alumnus Award recipients, respectively. The annual event gathers the UJ academic community, students, and alumni, as well as industry partners to reconnect and celebrate the strides that are being made in the sector.

STH Alumni Awards
The awards are a special feature of the annual event and carry forward the STH tradition of recognising alumni for their contribution to the tourism and hospitality sector. As the recipient of the 2021 Rising Star award, Brandon Adams, City Lodge Hotel Group’s General Manager of Road Lodge Potchefstroom, joins a growing list of talented young and talented alumni who are doing exciting work that sets them apart from their peers.

The Golden Circle Alumnus award is the oldest award category dating back to 1988. It is presented to alumni who are considered by their peers as remarkable achievers and contributors to the tourism and hospitality at large. As the Chief Executive Officer of the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA), Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa, fits the bill, especially considering his recent work and contribution in helping to steer the sector forward amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Tshivhengwa now joins a formidable group of industry leaders who have all built illustrious careers in the sector locally and internationally.

Bouncing Forward
The theme for the event ‘inspiring confidence’, spoke the sense of optimism for the sector, as the world cautiously moves to relax lockdown restrictions and resume domestic and international travel. “2021 has us really digging deep” said STH Director, Prof Diane Abrahams. “Where we thought resilience was important, and it is, we very quickly realised the importance of adaptability too. To quote the words of my son’s school headmaster, it is no longer about bouncing back, it’s about bouncing forward. And, for those of us in higher education, and especially in the tourism and hospitality we have realised that in our bouncing forward, we have to unlock innovation”. Guest speaker, futurist, and expert on the future of work, Graeme Codrington, highlighted the need for a change in mindset and stressed the importance of adaptability ahead of more disruptions in the future.

Collaboration
Collaboration was a key talking point, starting with ribbon-cutting ceremony that took place earlier in the day for the rebranded Sun International Auditorium, located at the Kerzner Building of the UJ Bunting Road campus. This was further emphasised in the speech by Prof Boitumelo Diale, president of the UJ Convocation, who also urged alumni to continue to pay it forward by getting involved with the university initiatives – in particular, the fundraising efforts aimed at assisting students with historical debt.

Inspiring Confidence
Touching on the overall theme for the event, Prof Diane said: “Tonight, we celebrate how we, as the School of Tourism and Hospitality, are adapting and bouncing forward. I think this is made possible through the power of our diverse relationships with our alumni, our industry partners, our passionate and dedicated staff, and our current cohort of students, who I think, in many instances, are our greatest teachers. They have chosen this sector during the most challenging times and together we have to keep inspiring confidence in the future of tourism. Congratulations to our award recipients, Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa and Brandon Adams. The two indeed inspire us with much needed confidence,” concluded Prof. Abrahams.

To watch the full recording of the event, visit the STH Facebook page on @sthatuj or click here: https://www.facebook.com/sthatuj/videos/158233436477809