Society awards professor silver medal for research

Professor Kennedy Dzama has written about food security and drought issues in The Conversation Africa.

The South African Society for Animal Science (SASAS) recently recognised the pioneering work of Professor Kennedy Dzama of Stellenbosch University to evaluate the genetics of indigenous South African livestock species.

Professor Dzama received the Society’s Silver Medal at its golden jubilee gala dinner held during the
50th SASAS congress in Port Elizabeth.

The SASAS Silver Medal is presented to scientists who contribute meaningfully to their discipline. The society strives to promote the discipline of Animal Science as a career and an industry on a national and international level.

Professor Dzama is a distinguished professor and chair of the Department of Animal Sciences at Stellenbosch University. His ground-breaking research focuses especially on the genetic evaluation of indigenous South African livestock species.

Some of his most recent work researched the Nguni breed, and specifically this cattle breed’s ability to offer resistance against tick infestations.

His research findings are instrumental in developing protocols, standards and policies for national and international organisations such as the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Center of Coordination of Agricultural Research and Development in Southern Africa (CCARDESA), the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), and the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO).

In the process, Professor Dzama has trained several PhD and Masters’ students and published more than 150 peer reviewed papers and conference proceedings.

Professor Dzama said that he was honoured to be recognised by his peers.

“We have done many things but a lot still remains to be done. Of interest to me going forward is to align the field of animal science with the more complex and overarching issues like food security and climate change,” he said.

Postgraduate students of the Department of Animal Sciences also excelled at the 50th SASAS Congress. For the second time in a row, Daniel van der Merwe received the first prize for the best animal nutrition poster displayed at the congress.

Alretha van Heerden, who is part of the South African Research Chair (SARChI) in Meat Science received the award for the best student presentation.

Retha Engels, a Masters’ student who is also part of the SARChI Meat Science initiative, received a postgraduate bursary from the Society as the best final year animal science student during 2016.