News & Events

SA Conference 2006

“Vineyard of Talent”, Golden Key’s 5th National Conference in South Africa, took place in Stellenbosch this month (15 – 17 September 2006).  About 90 delegates, representing 11 universities, gathered in Stellenbosch to celebrate excellence and to learn from each other. 

The conference kicked off with an address by Alex Perwich, Golden Key’s CEO.  He challenged the delegates to find their own definition for “success” by sharing some of his personal experiences.  The cold and wet weather did not keep the delegates from participating in a Drum Café session and Stellenbosch-style “Spitbraai” (not to mention the “Sokkie”!).

Saturday was packed with workshops ranging from “Action-Centred Leadership” to “Entrepreneurship” and “Creative Writing”.  Chapters had the opportunity to showcase their education-focused service projects at the Literacy Lunch, where Travis Gale (Associate: AppleTree/Step One) shared some inspirational insights that he gained from his “around-the-world” bicycle tour.

The conference concluded with an African Feast at Moyo (Spier Wine Estate), sponsored by Standard Bank.  At this event, Richard Gush (Director: Investment Banking, Standard Bank), encouraged delegates to keep a healthy work-life balance.

Delegates returned home with a new sense of purpose: “Overall it was an enriching experience, urging us to think more, work harder and reach for the stars” - Marghreette Klink, UWC.

Some highlights of the conference:
New SA Member of the Council of Student Members (SA CoSM)

At the conference, Charmaine Malcher of the University of Johannesburg was elected as the new CoSM for Golden Key in South Africa.  Charmaine will serve in this position until September 2007.

She can be contacted at email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it
Global Bylaws



The Council of Student Members (CoSM) shall serve in accordance with the Society’s bylaws, Policies and Board of Directors mandate as an advisory body to the International Staff and International leadership Council regarding student member matters.

The primary purpose of the CoSM is to serve as a resource on a variety of Society issues, ideas and initiatives.  The CoSM serves the Society at the international level.

Other purposes may include:

1. serving on ad hoc work groups and task forces to address issues of significant importance to the Society; i.e.: student member benefits and services development, international conference planning, partner or alumni development, strategic planning input, etc;

2. assisting the Golden Key International Staff in the implementation of conferences, specific programs, activities and initiatives; and,

3. serving as an additional communication channel for chapter leaders and student members, as required.
Chapter Awards

Best Education Focused Service Project:   University of the Free State
Best Country-Specific Initiative:                University of Kwa-Zulu Natal
Best Communication Programme:            University of the Free State
Best Membership Drive:                          Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University

Golden Key Graduate Scholar Award: R72 000

Congratulations to Tinus Stander of the University of Stellenbosch, who is the first SA student to win a Golden Key Graduate Scholar Award (US$10 000)!

Read more about Tinus at .

Student Leader of the Year Award: R5 000
Congratulations to Laura Maureen Pereira of the University of the Witwatersrand!  Laura joined Golden Key in 2004 and has been actively involved ever since.  She holds a BSc degree in Zoology and Biology (Cum Laude) and is currently completing her BSc Honours degree.  Laura is a master in the art of multi-tasking and managed to maintain her excellent academic results while serving on the Wits SRC, Golden Key Executive Committee and many other facets of student life.

Advisor of the Year Award: R5 000
Congratulations to Dr Derek Swemmer of the University of the Witwatersrand!  Dr Swemmer, the Registrar of Wits, has been a Golden Key Advisor since 2002.  Over the past couple of years, he has made significant contributions to furthering Golden Key’s mission at his university, in South Africa and internationally.  His approach to “Advising” is to lay a good foundation and then to give students the creative freedom to implement, while maintaining an open-door policy.  He has also recently been elected to serve on the Golden Key International Board of Directors.

Community Service Initiative  

Golden Key’s strategic community service focus is LITERACY.

As part of the Community Service Initiative for the SA Conference 2006, we asked each Chapter to donate books and stationary to support the new library that the Stellenbosch Chapter started at PC Pietersen Primary School in Kylemore.  The response was overwhelming and the library literally DOUBLED in size! We would like to thank our Chapters for their generous contributions.

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Golden Key Congratulates - Gerda Odendaal

Gerda Odendaal, a student at the University of Stellenbosch, has received the ATKV study bursary of R20 000.00. She is a Golden Key Member since 2005 and currently completing her Honours degree in Afrikaans. In 2005 and 2006 she was the top student in the following language modules: German, General Language Science, Afrikaans and Dutch. Golden Key wishes Gerda all the best with her studies.

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UFS Chapter, Bloemfontein Zoo Visit

14 Children visited the Zoo on a 3 hour outing. 5 Mothers and 2 CHOC members (Linda and Nicolene with the Rag Queen) and 5 members from the Golden Key University of the Free State Chapter who was volunteer helpers.

It was a successful and educational event which ended up with smiles on every attendee’s face. Thank you all who helped making a difference.

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International Conference Update

Golden Key South Africa had a wonderful time in Orlando, Florida attending the Golden Key International Conference. Besides all the networking, workshops, events and service projects – Golden Key South African representatives were named winners of the following:

Congratulations to Dr Derek Swemmer, Registrar at Wits, Advisor since 2001 and serves on the Board of Directors – Winner of the ILC President's Award,  Golden Key’s highest individual honour award (read more on this award under the Awards tab)

Congratulations to our South African chapters who participated in the CitizenSHIP Showcase Expo.

1st place        North-West University with Community Service and                                    Membership Drive

2nd place       University of Cape Town with Golden Key University of                                     Cape Town 2009 Projects

3rd place        University of Pretoria with Pretoria Service Projects 2009

Thank you to these chapters as well as other chapters who also participated and represented their universities at this international event: University of the Western Cape, University of Johannesburg, the University of Stellenbosch and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University..

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Student on an International Journey of a Lifetime

The International Scholar Laureate Program provides a once-in-a-lifetime experience for university scholars from across the world

The International Scholar Laureate Program (ISLP) for Engineering in China was an awesome experience.  I had the time of my life!  I was informed about the program through an e-mail I received from Golden Key.

I realised I would never be able to pay the full tuition fee on my own. I asked my bursar, Sasol Mining, if they would be interested in sponsoring me.  I offered to pay 18% of the tuition fee.  After a few e-mails, Sasol Mining agreed to pay the remaining balance on condition that I lengthen my future period of employment with them.

The International Scholar Laureate Program for Engineering in China took place from 20 to 30 May 2009.  56 Engineering students from 3 countries participated in the program.  The delegation consisted of 2 American faculty advisors, 52 American students, 3 Australian students and an industrial engineering student from South Africa (myself).  Professor Wang Rushu (Senior Engineer of the Three Gorges Dam) & Mario Fasondini

Some of the places we visited in China included:
-Beijing:  the Bird’s Nest Stadium, the Water Cube, Tsinghua University, The Great Wall, 800-year old Summer Palace, Tiananmen Square & the Forbidden City.
-Yichang:  Three Gorges University, Guyuan Power Plant, Chexi Cultural Village and (for me the highlight of the trip) the Three Gorges Dam Construction.
-Shanghai: NEC (a company in the integrated circuit and semi-conductor industry), Jinmao Tower (3rd largest building on earth), the French Concession and the Pearl TV Tower.

Through a comparative “curriculum” (program we followed), we had the opportunity to gain a global understanding of how engineering is practiced in China. During our site visits, I was able to compare and contrast what I saw and learned during these site visits with current methods and procedures used in South Africa.

During the ISLP I became aware of a Chinese type of thinking and how it influences their engineering process in general.  Through discussions with fellow delegation members I became aware of a “global approach” to engineering problem solving.  

My academic expectations for the ISLP delegation have definitely been met.  These expectations were to:
-examine the influence of culture on the engineering discipline.
-analyse current issues and trends in industrial engineering.
-further develop leadership skills such as communication, networking, decision making and goal setting.
After the ISLP, I wanted to have an idea of some of the challenges that professionals may encounter in the future.

There are a range of topics that continue to occupy my thoughts after the ISLP experience.  I feel the ISLP delegation on engineering broadened my horizons on a professional and personal level.  This experience provided me with memories that I will be able to think back on for as long as I have a healthy mind!

My wish is that more students may have the opportunity to experience such a wonderful time as I did.

I want to thank Sasol Mining for providing me with funds to attend the ISLP delegation to China.  Thank you Golden Key for informing me about this great program!

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