Engineering welcomes home tridentate monument after 50 years

“It is very apt to move this monument to our large building complex in the Faculty of Engineering’s 75th year of existence,” says the Dean, Prof Wikus van Niekerk. The tridentate monument, erected in Victoria Street 50 years ago in honour of engineering, was relocated to the Faculty’s building complex in Banghoek Road in August 2019.

The Stellenbosch University Faculty of Engineering, founded in 1944, was housed in the building of the then Stellenbosch Gymnasium (now the Visual Arts Building) in Victoria Street from 1946 to 1969. The monument was designed by final-year Fine Arts students as a class project in 1968 and depicts Mechanical, Electrical and Civil Engineering (the first three disciplines offered by the Faculty at the time). It was manufactured in the Department of Civil Engineering.

The Dean jestingly refers to the tridentate monument as “Duwweltjie” otherwise known as “Little Devil’s Thorn” as it resembles a large three-pointed devil’s thorn. On 9 October 2019 the Faculty celebrated “Duwweltjie’s” relocation to a place of honour in front of the General Engineering building where the Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Wim de Villiers, was also present.

Over a three-quarter century the Faculty of Engineering expanded its academic offering. Chemical Engineering and Industrial Engineering were established as fourth and fifth departments in 1969 and 1984 respectively. In 2002, the Department of Mechanical Engineering introduced a second degree programme, namely Mechatronic Engineering. One of the latest exciting developments is a BEng Electrical and Electronic Engineering in Data Engineering that will be offered from 2020. Together with several undergraduate modules and postgraduate programmes in Data Science that the Faculty currently offers, this new programme will contribute to equip the younger generation for the FourthIndustrial Revolution.

Photo left: Prof Wikus van Niekerk, Dean Engineering (left) and Prof Wim de Villiers, Rector and Vice-Chancellor, next to the monument dressed in its festive maroon and old gold corporate colours.

Photo centre: From the left are: Profs Kristiaan Schreve (Chair: Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering), Wikus van Niekerk (Dean: Engineering), Jan Wium (Chair: Civil Engineering), Herman Engelbrecht (Chair: Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Hansie Knoetze (Chair: Process Engineering) and Wim de Villiers (Rector and Vice-Chancellor).