National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF)

Ukhozi Awardees

 NSTF Ukhozi Award


Watch the 25-Year Anniversary video highlighting the achievements of the NSTF Awards

2023 Ukhozi Award Winner

Dr Philemon Mjwara – Director-General: Department of Science and Innovation (DSI)

For his significant contribution to the South African National System of Innovation and for the role he played in building strong relations between the DSI (as DST and later as DSI) and the NSTF.

  • His major contribution to South Africa’s National System of Innovation over the years
  • The role he played in building strong relations between the DSI (as DST and later as DSI) and the NSTF
  • His facilitation of funding and support that enabled NSTF to continue fulfilling its mandate and its non-profit activities
  • The key role he continues to play in government through his astute leadership, and in substantially contributing to the government’s agenda for research, innovation and the generation of high level skills, for the sake of South Africa’s future.
  • The inspiration he brings as a role model for the youth


About Dr Mjwara: Dr Philemon Mjwara holds a BSc, MSc and PhD from the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits). His academic career includes serving as professor of science and technology policy at the University of Pretoria, and physics lectureships at the universities of Wits, South Africa and Fort Hare. Dr Mjwara has published and presented numerous papers on physics, technology analysis and technology foresight processes. His professional experience includes working as a director in the former DACST, serving on the National Advisory Council on Innovation (NACI), and Group Executive for Research and Development and Strategic Human Capital Development at the CSIR.

As part of his many contributions, Dr Mjwara led a team that conducted the South African Technology Foresight project. The outputs of the project were presented to President Thabo Mbeki in 2000, as well as to a NSTF Plenary meeting at the time. His project approach led to a number of institutions from other parts of the world inviting the core team members to share their knowledge at conferences in Japan, Austria and Hungary. He was also asked to participate in the development of scenarios for South Africa for the years 2004 to 2014. This was run from the office of the President.

Dr Mjwara currently serves as the longstanding DG of the DSI, a position he has held since April 2006. His responsibilities include the development and implementation of South Africa’s STI policy. He also serves on various advisory councils and review boards, including the Board of the World of Platinum of South Africa and the SKA organisation.

About Dr Mjwara’s involvement with the NSTF: Dr Mjwara has been involved with the NSTF since as early as 2000 as a director at DACST, but increasingly so since his appointment as DG of the DSI in 2006. He has ensured that the NSTF has a sustainable and stable collaboration with the DSI in promoting SET and innovation in South Africa. Dr Mjwara serves on the NSTF Exco as the main representative for the DSI representing government.

2018 Ukhozi Award Winner

Dr Xolani Humphrey Mkhwanazi – Director and Chairman: Phathela Investments (Pty) Ltd

For an essential contribution to the NSTF and South Africa’s science, engineering and technology (SET) environment. His significant influence is seen in numerous ways.

  • His contribution as the first Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the NSTF
  • The role he played in establishing, growing, and maintaining the NSTF Awards
  • The key role he continues to play in industry in South Africa, and thus in promoting technology, as well as the science and engineering skills pipeline
  • The inspiration he brings as a role model for the youth
  • His scientific qualifications and experience in research institutions
  • His role in establishing and strengthening institutions and companies in South Africa


About Dr Mkhwanazi: He is an internationally experienced senior business leader, serving as a Director in several companies. He has extensive executive leadership, as well as business and technical experience in the energy, mining and public sector. Dr Mkhwanazi has a passion for mentoring newly-appointed executives and for inspiring the youth.

Dr Mkhwanazi is a former Executive Chairman of BHP Billiton Southern Africa, a position he held for 7 years from 2008 to 2015. He joined BHP Billiton in February 2005 as President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of BHP Billiton Aluminium Southern Africa. Before then, Dr Mkhwanazi was CEO of Bateman Africa Limited, a position he held from 2004. He was previously CEO of the National Electricity Regulator of South Africa where he was responsible for rebuilding the organisation into a world-class regulatory authority. He was also responsible for setting up and leading several regional and African-wide regulatory bodies. He was President of the Chamber of Mines of South Africa for the period 2010 to 2012.

Dr Mkhwanazi currently serves as Deputy Chairman of the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), Chairman of Odgers Berndston South Africa, as well as Chairman of Private Label Promotion (PLP). He is a Non-Executive Director (non-independent) of listed South32 Limited and Murray & Roberts Holdings.

Dr Mkhwanazi has a BSc Maths and Physics from the University of Botswana and Swaziland. He has an MSc and PhD Applied Physics from the University of Lancaster, United Kingdom.

About Dr Mkhwanazi’s involvement with the NSTF: Dr Mkhwanazi was at the CSIR as Technology Transfer Manager. This meant he was responsible for rolling out technology programmes across South Africa in support of new business initiatives. In 1997 the CSIR seconded him to build up the new organisation, NSTF, which had been launched in 1995. He played a key role in developing the national Science and Technology Policy White Paper for the then-called DACST. The NSTF Awards were established in 1998 under his guidance, and the year was declared the Year of Science and Technology in South Africa.

NSTF-South32 Awards


The NSTF welcomes collaboration with other organisations, such as those they have been in partnerships with for many years:

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