UCT Astronomer wins Commemorative MeerKAT Award at SA Women in Science ceremony

28 Aug 2018 - 10:30

Professor Renee Kraan-Korteweg

The Department of Science and Technology rolled out the red carpet for women achievers in science, technology and innovation at a gala dinner in Limpopo on Thursday evening, 23 August.  At this event, Professor Renee Kraan-Korteweg, from the Department of Astronomy at UCT, was awarded the Minister's Special Award in the field of Astronomy, the Commemorative MeerKAT Award, in recognition of her contributions to astronomy.

The South African Women in Science Awards (SAWISA) was held under the theme, "100 years of Mama Albertina Sisulu: Women united in moving South Africa forward", emphasising Sisulu's great courage as a unifying leader during the apartheid era. In 1956, Sisulu was instrumental in leading about 20 000 women from across South Africa to march on the Union Buildings in Pretoria to protest the law requiring black women to carry passes.

Addressing the event, the Minister of Science and Technology, Ms Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, said, "It is fitting that this year's SAWiSA is dedicated to remembering the sacrifices that women such as Mama Albertina Sisulu made to building a democratic society that respects and celebrates the crucial role that women play in all fields of human endeavour."

The Minister urged South Africans to recognise the hard work and dedication of the SAWiSA participants, as they were making a great contribution towards knowledge production in the country.

Dr Seipati Makunyane, who delivered the keynote address, described the awards as not only prestigious, but inspiring. "This occasion challenges us to reflect on the current situation in the world of science, research and technology in our country, and the strides made in bridging the gaps that exist," she said.

Recently the Department of Science and Technology launched the 64-antenna MeerKAT, a milestone for science and astronomy in our country. To celebrate this achievement, a "Commemorative MeerKAT Award" was made to an outstanding woman astronomer, Professor Renée Kraan-Korteweg, who holds the Research Chair of Astronomy at the University of Cape Town. She is also the Chair of the South African Astronomy Advisory Council and Vice-President of the International Astronomical Union.