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"Experientia docet" - Experience is the best teacher

The 49th SASAS Congress kick off

We received a chill welcome from the Stellies’ weather but the pleasant reception from the Western Cape branch made it a lot warmer. We are stationed at the breath-taking Spier Wine Estate and Conference Centre for the week. The venue provides an excellent environment for talented and robust minds to interact. With the great speaker line-up, it promises to be an interesting week. Truly, the organizing committee has done an incredible job with bringing everyone together.

Arrival and registration

There was a buzz of excitement as the delegates filled the foyer, as registration progressed.  Along with the registration goodies, the delegates were also given a questionnaire which is aimed at improving future SASAS congresses. The rich presence of various stakeholders from universities, research institutes, government and industry will undoubtedly provide a wide networking platform.  

The SASAS President, Prof M Scholtz

Student poster presentation

Prof M Scholtz gave a great motivational speech, where he spoke of the important things that students need to succeed. He further placed emphasis on effort being the primary driver, regardless of any prevailing circumstances. Thereafter, an array of topics were  covered by students, who gave presentations on  maggot growth , chevon quality, indigenous cattle adaptation, ruminant nutrition,  hatchability in  indigenous chickens, faecal egg worm count and penis weathering bacteria.


The student poster champions

Student quiz

The awesome presentations were capped off by the student quiz, which we all agree was the highlight of the day. The  teams from the University of Stellenbosch (2), the university of Fort Hare (2), the University of Limpopo (2), the University of Pretoria (1) and the University of Free State (2).   The participants were highly competitive with the desire to win, however Tuks remain the reigning champions since the beginning of the Quiz competition (3 years ago). The event was an awesome spectacle with the participants under the pump and the audience being the “Know it all” team.

The blow-by-blow quiz moments

The day was closed off with a meet and greet cocktail which provided a wider platform for the delegates to socialize. And the journey continues…


Compiled by: Yonele Njisane, Sipokazi Nyeleka, Sipho Mabusela & Mzuvukile Mcayiya


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Dining, Wining and Excellence at the Gala dinner

The 49th SASAS congress gala dinner was held at the Stellenbosch town hall on the 06 of July 2016. All the delegates were a sight for sore eyes in their dashing outfits, something different from the usual lab coats and work-suits. The guests were treated to a fun-filled evening, which was accompanied by great music and entertainment from the Amish Gypsy band, Zamar – celebrating through the plucking of strings.

The main order of the day was the handing out of awards to various students and researchers who have worked diligently to contribute to the Animal Science fraternity. There were bronze and silver medals, a president’s award, the most cited article in SAJAS over a period of five years, SASAS and AFMA best poster awards.

Prof M. Scholtz, the SASAS President, announcing awards

Zamar Band – celebrating through the plucking of strings

Bronze medals

Three bronze medals were awarded to acknowledge an exceptional contribution in research towards the generation of knowledge in animal science and the livestock industry. The first recipient was Dr Lise Sandenbergh for her PhD thesis titled “Identification of SNPs associated with robustness and greater reproductive success in the South African Merino sheep using SNP chip technology”. The second was Dr Maria Smith–Stofberg for A PhD thesis titled “A protocol for liquid storage and cryopreservation of ostrich (Struthio camelus) semen”. The third and final recipient was Ms. Zimkitha Soji for her MSc thesis titled “The classification of beef, pork and mutton carcasses in a selected high throughput abattoir in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa”.

Silver medals

Two silver medals were awarded in respect of achievements obtained over a number of years. The first recipient was Dr Trevor Dugmore for his active participation in research, research leadership as well as technology transfer over many years. The second recipient was Prof Esté van Marle-Köster who revolutionised the South African genetic and breeding improvement landscape through the introduction of board molecular genetics.

SAJAS award

The award for the most cited article in SAJAS over a period of 5 years went to M.A Snyman- “Factors affecting pre-weaning kid mortality in South African Angora goats”.

Postgraduate and final year student awards and Prizes

The student’s awards for best final year student, as well as a postgraduate bursary and/or prizes were awarded to Ms N. Ngwendu (University of Fort Hare), K. O’ Reilly and D. du Plessis.

SASAS President’s award

Prof Hettie Schonfeldt, as the manager of RMRD-SA, received the president’s award for her particular and significant contribution to the Animal Science, the animal industry profession and the society at large.

 Poster awards

The AFMA award for best student poster went to Mr. Mashudu Daniel Ramabau who is a second year MSc candidate at the University of Venda. The Studbook award for best student poster went to A. A Zwane et al.

We congratulate all the award recipients. Job well done!!!

Committee elections

Three members were running for election and two (Dr Carrel Muller, Prof Voster Muchenje) were voted in to council with a third member being co-opted (Dr Hames De Villiers).

After the formalities the evening was transformed to selfies and a couple of wine snatching moments, which undoubtedly led to the free dance lessons that followed. What happened thereafter stays in the Stellenbosch town hall.  We look forward to the 50th congress, to be hosted by the SASAS Eastern Cape branch in 2017!!!





Some of the delegates mingling

Compiled by: Sipho Mabusela, SiphokaziNyeleka, Mzuvukile Mcayiya and Yonela Njisane


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