Annual Jakes Gerwel Award

Jakes Gerwel Award in Public Health 2014 - Dr Saadiq Kariem

The second Jakes Gerwel Award in Public Health by the UWC School of Public Health was made to Dr Saadiq Kariem. The award, to a graduate in Public Health of the School, is sponsored by the Mauerberger Foundation Fund, a private philanthropy with a long history of support to UWC.

From left - Dr Saadiq Kariem, Mrs Dianna Yach (Chairperson and Director - Mauerberger Foundation Fund). Prof Helen Schneider (Director of School of Public Health, UWC), Mr Heinrich Gerwel, Prof David Sanders (nominated Dr Kariem for award), Prof Brian O'Connell (UWC Vice Chancellor) 


Dr Kariem (MBChB, MPhil Public Health, FCPHM, EMBA) was extensively involved in the restructuring of health services in the country since 1990 at local, provincial and national levels and played a major leadership role in policy formulation in the health sector. He served as the ANC National Health Secretary (1996 to 2006) and served on the Council for Medical Schemes (2001 to 2008). He was COO and CEO of Groote Schuur Hospital (2005 to 2010). Since 2010 he is the Chief Director: General Specialist and Emergency Services in the Western Cape Department of Health

Prof Helen Schneider, Director of the School: Together with the Mauerberger Foundation Fund, with the Jakes Gerwel Award we at the UWC School of Public Health celebrate the twenty three years of our vision and promise to provide public health education based on equity and social justice. This is as relevant now as it was twenty three years ago.’

The Rector, Prof Brian O‘Connell based his talk on sense-making in South Africa today, on thoughts taken from a poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge Work without Hope: Work without hope draws nectar with a sieve and Hope without an object cannot live’. He developed the theme of living with an object and traced how this drove people and societies to achieve good and bad outcomes. He concluded his talk by asking whether in a democratic South Africa we know what our historical object is and if we are driven to achieving good outcomes in every sphere of social life, including overcoming the challenges we are facing on health issues.

Ms Dianna Yach spoke about the close relationship over more than three decades with the University of the Western Cape and with the Gerwel family - beginning with the sponsoring of bursaries for dental students. She renewed the commitment of the Mauerberger Foundation Fund to support the university and deepen the relationship. She reminded the audience of the foresight of Prof Jakes Gerwel in working to establish the first School of Public Health in the country. The award in public was the Mauerberger Foundation Fund‘s contribution to growing future leaders in the field of public health.

Heinrich Gerwel: As Vice Chancellor of UWC , my father Prof Jakes Gerwel had a personal and proud involvement in the establishment of the School of Public Health and felt that this was an area in which the university could play an important and positive role in academic scholarship that truly made a practical impact on our nation’s democracy. Even after leaving UWC in 1994 to serve President Mandela the institution always held a special place in his heart. Being involved in healthcare through his chairmanship of Lifehealth Hospital Group always gave him insight into the importance of a well established public healthcare system, to its contribution to the wellbeing of society as a whole and specifically towards the economically marginalised in our country. The important work pioneered by Prof. David Sanders and continued by Prof Uta Lehmann and now Prof Helen Schneider as Director of the School serves as testimony on the part of the University and the School to play an immensely important role in furthering human development in a holistic and socially transformative manner.’ 

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