History-Increasemath – SAMS

I.  The Increase of Mathematical Knowledge

  • A. Annual Congresses
  • B. International congresses, symposia and other meetings
  • C. Publications of the Society
    • Annual Report
    • Proceedings
    • Notices
    • Quaestiones Mathematicae (QM)
    • Webpage
    • SAMS e-News
    • Careers in Mathematics
    • Mathematical Dictionary
  • D. Awards of the Society
    • For Research Distinction
    • For the Advancement of Mathematics
    • For Honours students
  • E. Relations and cooperation with other societies


  • F. Relations and cooperation with outside bodies


  • G. Programs of SAMS
    • Regular Visitors
    • Distinguished Visitors Programme
    • Exchange/Reciprocity Agreements
    • Mathematics Development Programme
    • Transformation Task Group
    • World Mathematical Year in South Africa
    • The Archives of the SAMS
  • H. Delicate issues
    • Stand on Discrimination
    • The language issue
    • Period of Transformation

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In a letter dated 26 September 1957, the Chairman of SAMA, Prof Hyslop, notified Dr J van der Mark (at that stage of the Department of Mathematics at UNISA) that they should arrange a Council Meeting during October of that year in order to make plans for 1958 [13(o)]. On the first three Council Meetings of the Association, held on 28 October 1957 in the office of Prof Hyslop, at Wits, Johannesburg, on 17 February 1958 in Pretoria, and on 31 March 1958, also in Pretoria, respectively, the following four-point programme was fixed for 1958 [13(o)]:

(i) A lecture by Prof FJ Terpstra entitled ‘Algebraic Spaces’ at Wits on Saturday, 29 March 1958 (the first lecture of the Association);

(ii) A symposium entitled ‘The Critical Condition of Mathematics Instruction in High Schools’, with speakers Prof DJ van Rooy, Dr TF Gevers, Mr CM Moll, on Saturday, 24 May 1958 in the AE du Toit Auditorium of the University of Pretoria [13(k)], [13(n)];

(iii) A lecture by Prof H Rund entitled ‘Differential Geometry of Generalised Metric Spaces’ at Potchefstroom on Saturday, 23 August 1958;

(iv) If the interest merits it, a Congress was to be held at the University of Natal in Pietermaritzburg on Monday 27 and Tuesday 28 October 1958, with which was to be combined the Annual General Meeting (AGM). It was also decided to keep Dr B Abrahamson’s proposals for the publication of a journal (see Section C below) in mind when the whole question of a journal was to be discussed at the Annual Meeting [13(f)].

At the end of 1958 a proceedings containing summaries of all lectures given during the year were duplicated and distributed amongst members. Prof DB Sears was keen on forming a Regional Branch of the Society. Regarding the Canadian Bursaries, Prof Rund reported that he should first straighten matters out with the Canadian Mathematical Society [13(f)], [13(l)].

The first Congress of the Association in 1958 in Pietermaritzburg consisted of a Council Meeting, three plenary lectures of one hour each by Professors Hyslop, Isaacs and Van der Merwe, seven short lectures of thirty minutes each, an AGM on the Monday evening (attended by 27 members), followed by a popular lecture by Prof DB Sears. The 1958-AGM decided that the Congress be made an annual institution. The Office Bearers were re-elected for one year, while Profs DB Sears and H Rund, and Dr AP Burger were elected as Additional Members of Council. In 1958, Council received the instruction to investigate how the acquisition of research journals by the different institutions could be coordinated to the effect that duplication would be minimised and that at least one copy of every journal would be available in the country [13(h)]. For this, however, knowledge was required of all holdings of mathematical journals in the country. This aspect will be resumed in the discussion of the National Research Institute for Mathematical Sciences (NRIMS) in Section F(i) below.

A Transvaal Branch of the Association was established in August 1959, with Mr B Stein of the Mathematics Department, Wits, as Secretary [13(o)]. (The province Transvaal no longer exists, and its territory now forms the provinces of Gauteng, Limpopo and Mpumalanga and part of the North West Province. Despite its official disintegration, the Transvaal is still a commonly used geographical term and retains its historical meaning.) During 1959, branches of the Association were also established in Natal and in the Orange Free State (the present KwaZulu-Natal and Free State, respectively). In the initial years, the congress activities were amplified by the Transvaal branch with regular lectures and election of councils. The Chairmen for 1964 and 1965 of the Transvaal branch of the Association were Drs DH Wiid and BC Strydom, respectively. The Transvaal Branch had three meetings during 1964, with talks by Dr G Viljoen, Dr R Wille, and Mr AV Boyd. In due course, references to the branches disappeared from the official documents; an indication (probably) of the fact that the general level of mathematical activity in the various institutions had increased to the extent that the branches were no longer necessary, and that the local activities plus the Annual Congresses provided sufficient outlet for all requirements. During the first four years of the Association, the Secretary used to invite the Heads of all South African universities, university colleges, Provincial Departments of Education, the South African Institute for Physics and the South African Statistical Association (SASA) to send delegates to the Annual Congresses of the Association.

At the AMG of October 1966 at Stellenbosch, Dr HSP (Siegfried) Grässer proposed the following motion (approved by ballot paper in March 1967 [13(h); 22/02/1967]): That the English name of this association be changed to ‘The South African Mathematical Society’.

Apart from the shorter contributed lectures, invited lectures of one hour’s duration have been a feature of the Annual Congresses from the start. Since 1958, the SAMA has invited either three or four speakers to present plenary lectures at its Annual Congresses, however, there were six plenary lectures at the 2008-Congress. The aims of these invited lectures were, and still are, to convey the ideas and flavour of a topic to a wide audience. The 1971-Annual Congress was the first one at which a foreign mathematician delivered a plenary talk, namely Dr P Szeptycki of the University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, who was visiting the NRIMS for a period of time. (He also delivered a short research lecture during the 1960-Annual Congress at the University of Cape Town.) Initially, mainly senior mathematicians were invited to lecture, and later the invited lecturers were predominantly mathematicians who had recently completed dissertations for doctorates. Since 1971 a new pattern, proposed by Prof HJ Schutte, was followed ― the invited speakers were requested to present expository talks, while the shorter research lectures were presented in sessions classified according to subject matters [8; 2/6, 1970]. In 1981, Council decided that when inviting a person to present a survey lecture at a SAMS Congress, it would be mentioned in the invitation that the Society would require a written version of the lecture to publish it in the next issue of the Notices [13(f); 03/04/1981].

The Boulevard Hotel in Pretoria offered bed and breakfast at R2.50 per person for those attending the 1963 Congress, and for the 1972 Congress, breakfast was available at R1.20 per person in the Burgerspark Hotel in Pretoria! Up to 1974, the Annual Congresses lasted for two days, and from 1975 onwards, for three days. Two parallel sessions were introduced in 1966, three in 1971, growing to four in 1974, and to six in 2007. Some statistics about the contributed short research lectures at the Annual Congresses: 9 in 1961, 20 in 1964, 28 in 1969, 45 in 1975, 80 in 1979, 80 in 1986, 113 in 1992, 129 in 2007 and 119 in 2008.

The 21st Annual Congress in 1978 was held at the University of Pretoria, where Dr AP Burger gave the main address [8; 10/03, 1978]. The Deputy Minister of Education, Mr Enver Surty, accepted the invitation to join in celebrating the SAMS 50th Anniversary at the University of Cape Town, and he delivered an address at the dinner party on 1 November 2007. The Annual Congress still remains the Society’s most substantial and presumably most important activity. See Appendix 6 for the venues of the Annual Congresses.

DB Sears. (Photo: University of the Witwatersrand)

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Even during the difficult years of political and academic boycotts against South Africa, there had been a variety of mathematical meetings (not all of them were SAMS enterprises), but most of them with the blessing of SAMS. Some of these meetings drew overseas visitors of whom the names and presence were not widely publicised. A small selection from the list of such meetings is given here.

The First Symposium on Categorical Topology at the University of Cape Town (UCT) was held from 20 to 22 February 1974. They were financially supported by SAMS, UCT, CSIR and Trust Bank. The proceedings appeared in part in Math. Colloq. Univ. Cape Town 9 (1974). On the occasion of the Second Symposium on Categorical Topology, from 3 to 9 August 1976 at UCT, the greatest number of overseas mathematicians up to that stage in the country (eleven of them) were together in one venue.

A Symposium on Numerical Analysis was held from 8 to 9 April 1976 at the University of Natal, with main speaker Professor P Henrici of the ETH in Zürich. There was a special session of seventeen lectures on Categorical Algebra and Topology at the 1979-Annual Congress at UCT [8; 11/4, 1979]. At the National Research Institute for Mathematical Sciences (NRIMS) at the CSIR in Pretoria: a Joint Israeli-South African Operations Research Symposium in February 1981; a three-day Summer Seminar Series on the Numerical Solutions of Partial Differential Equations in February 1982; a three-day Summer Series on Interactive Decision Analysis and Modelling in February 1983.

The Third Symposium on Control Theory and Applications, organised by the NRIMS and the SA Council for Automation and Computation in cooperation with the University of Natal and SAMS, held in Durban in June 1985, had overseas participants in the persons of I Horowitz (Weizmann Institute of Science), C Leondes (University of California) and JL Speyer (University of Texas).

The International Conference on Classical and Categorical Algebra held in July 1985 at the University of Natal, Durban, hosted overseas participants: B Banaschewski, DO Cutler, TH Fay, L Fuchs, H Herrlich, PJ Hilton, G Richter, J Rotman, W Thjolen and KW Wiegmann. As a result of a donation by Dr Jonathan Beare, the Hanno Rund Research Fund with an income of approximately R4000 per annum was established to further research in Mathematics and Applied Mathematics and to enhance the quality of South African Mathematics. The proposal was that an annual Winter School be held in July at the University of Natal in Durban.

The Hanno Rund Winter Colloquium in 1986 was devoted to Calculus of Variations, Graph Theory and Differential Equations. The 1988-Hanno Rund Colloquium did not take place due to the ill health of Professor Rund. The 1991-Hanno Rund Colloquium took the form of an International Conference on Graph Theory held at the University of Natal, Durban, from 22 to 25 July 1991. The 1992-Hanno Rund Colloquium consisted of a Winter School on Information Security and Cryptography and in July 1993, and it was devoted to Applications of Mathematics to Biology.

The political changes in South Africa during the years 1990-94 had opened up the possibility of South African mathematicians to make contact with their colleagues in Africa and to normalise relations with mathematicians worldwide. An International Summer School on Dynamical Systems and Nonlinear Analysis was held at UCT from 25 January to 5 February 1993, with ten prominent experts from overseas in attendance.

The Steering Committee for the International Conference in Abstract Analysis that was held at the Berg-en-Dal Conference Centre, Krüger National Park, South Africa, in April 1993, consisted of Professors R M Aron (Kent State University, USA) and Professor A Pelczynski (Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw), with Professor J Diestel (Kent State University, USA) as International Liaison Officer. About ten mathematicians from other African countries attended the Conference.

Two international conferences were held in South Africa during 1996, namely The Fifth International Conference on the Navier-Stokes Equations and Related Nonlinear problems, and The Second International Conference in Africa on Abstract Analysis.

The Sixth International Conference on the Theory of Radicals and Rings was held in Port Elizabeth from 6 to 11 July 1997, and an International Conference on Nearrings and Nearfields was held in Stellenbosch from 14 to 18 July of that same year.

The First Southern African Summer School and Workshop on Logic, Universal Algebra, and Theoretical Computer Science, was held in December 1999 at the Rand Afrikaans University (the present University of Johannesburg) [8; 30/1, 1999].

PACOM-2000 (see Section E (ii)) was held in January 2000 at the University of the Western Cape (UWC).

The Third Southern Hemisphere Symposium on the Teaching of Undergraduate Mathematics (WARTHOG DELTA 2001) was held in July 2001 at the Berg-en-Dal Conference Centre, Krüger National Park.

In August 2002, the Universities of Potchefstroom, Pretoria and Witwatersrand held an International Conference on the Mathematics of Finance at the same venue. There was a special session on Industrial Mathematics conducted by Dr Norman Morrison at the Annual Congress of 1989 in Bloemfontein [8; 21/2, 1989].

The first Mathematics in Industry Study Group (MISG) in South Africa was held in the School of Computational and Applied Mathematics at Wits from 19 to 23 January 2004 [8; 35/2, 2004]. The primary aim was to bring together mathematicians to work on and solve research problems of industrial origin. The second to fifth meetings of the MISG in South Africa were held at the same venue, and the sixth meeting of the Study Group is again scheduled for early 2009 at Wits.

A Conference on Topology and Analysis was held at Didima, KwaZulu-Natal in July 2004, with 30 participants from 15 countries [8; 35/2, 2004].

The First African Regional Congress of the ICMI (see Section F(ii)) was held from 22 to 25 June 2005 at Wits.

The First International Conference on Arithmetic Geometry and Applications was held at the University of Stellenbosch in January 2005, and the second one was held at the same venue in January/February 2007.

A one day conference on Differential Equations and Symmetries with Applications was held on 14 October 2006 at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban to celebrate the 65th birthday of Professor Peter Leach.

An International Summer School and Research Workshop on Mathematical Finance were held at the African Institute for the Mathematical Sciences (AIMS), Muizenberg, Cape Town, from 18 to 23 February 2008.

Professor James Hyslop (1908–84), first Chairman of the Association, died in May 1984 in Port Alfred. For an Obituary, see [8; 16/2, 1984]. In January 1993, founder member Hanno Rund died in Arizona. A tribute to him by Gerald Lemmer appeared in [8; 25/2, 1993].

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Even before the institution of the SAMA in 1957, mathematicians in the country envisaged the necessity of both a research journal and a regular newsletter:

  • “My own view is that a mathematical society ought to be founded, not so much because mathematicians as a group must meet from time to time but because the society could provide a medium for publication, if a suitable high subscription were levied as the fee for membership… The Mathematical Society of S.A. should provide for the publication of mathematical periodicals with an editorial board whose members can readily communicate with one another – the periodicals to cater for teaching as well as research interests.”

Letter, JM Hyslop to J van der Mark, June 26, 1957 [13(o)].

  • “Provision should be made for publication of a Bulletin… Indeed after struggling for several years against inadequate library facilities, I am convinced that this is the only way in which the problem of the ever-existing field of literature can be met.”

Letter, D Livingstone to J van der Mark, July 2, 1957 [13(o)].

  • “Among the practical objectives of the Society I set high that of establishing a mathematical journal which will appeal to as wide a public as possible and will pay duo attention to the applications of Mathematics – something like the American Mathematical Monthly. The circulation should by no means be limited to members of the society!”

Letter, B Abrahamson to J van der Mark, July 24, 1957 [13(o)].

Furthermore, on the possibility of printing a mathematical journal, Dr Abrahamson (UCT) informed the Secretary of the Association in a letter dated 15 October 1957 about the firm Moore’s in Cape Town who had the agency for Varitype machines. Those were electrical typewriters on which the alphabets were placed on a cylinder. The alphabets (of about 100 characters each) were easily replaceable; the cylinder holds two at a time; there is a supply of several hundred different alphabets ranging from six-point to twelve-point in all sorts of type-styles and languages.

There were basically two models, one for ₤600, the other for ₤1400. The more expensive machine spaces the type automatically to give the effect of printing. Dr Abrahamson was of the opinion that the capital cost would not exceed ₤2000. “If, for instance, the C.S.I.R. could be persuaded to put up the ₤2000, the economics of the proposed journal should be quite feasible.” [13(o)]. On 21 April 1960, Council appointed a committee consisting of Profs JH van der Merwe (convener), H Rund, and Drs AP Burger and J van der Mark to investigate the publication of a journal [13(f); 21/04/1960]. In October 1960, the Secretary/Treasurer made an enquiry with the Dutch publishers Erven P Noordhoff (based in Groningen) about the costs involved in the printing of a mathematical journal. Noordhoff replied by mentioning, as an example, a journal of which they print 500 copies for the Australian Mathematical Society, at a price that varied from 35 to 50 Dutch florins per page, depending on the number and difficulty of mathematical formulas [13(o)].

In November 1960, the President of the CSIR invited the Association to send a delegate to the ‘Conference on the Publication of the Results of Research’ to be held in Pretoria on 2 and 3 February 1961. Prof G L Isaacs was requested to represent the Association on that conference [13(o)].

(i) Annual Report

The folio-sized Annual Report of The South African Mathematical Association (Afrikaans: Jaarverslag van Die Suid-Afrikaanse Wiskundevereniging) appeared from 1958 to 1963. During those years, the Annual Report had a green cover, and it contained the minutes of the Annual General Meetings, programmes of the Annual Congresses and the summaries of the lectures delivered at the congresses. The Annual Report was at first edited by the Secretary. From 1964, separate editors were appointed. From 1964 to 1966, the Annual Report appeared with a blue cover in B5 paper size. The 1967-Annual Report of The South African Mathematical Society (name change in 1967) had the same appearance as the 1966-Annual Report. In 1968, the Annual Report changed in format to a size slightly bigger than paper size A5, still with a blue cover. The last Annual Report appeared in 1970. The annual reports also contained the Chairman’s reports, financial reports, book reviews, summaries of lectures delivered during the Annual Congresses of the particular year and the latest membership list. The annual reports of the period 1964–70 were produced, with the aid of a lithographical printing process, by the Production Section of the University of South Africa (UNISA). The Editors were Prof Siegfried (HSP) Grässer (1964–68) and Dr Niko Sauer (1968–70).

(ii) Proceedings

In 1971, the Annual Report was replaced by the Proceedings of The South African Mathematical Society (Afrikaans: Verrigtinge van Die Suid-Afrikaanse Wiskundevereniging) [8; 3/6, 1971], [13(f); 25/10/1971]. One volume of the Proceedings was issued per year. The Proceedings published summaries of lectures held at the Annual Congresses of the Society. Volume 3 of the Proceedings included a transcript of the Symposium on Applied Mathematics (with main speakers Profs HJ Schutte, SRF Göldner and HSP Grässer) which was held during the 1973-Annual Congress, and Volume 5 contained summaries of nine doctoral theses produced at South African universities. The Proceedings appeared in A5 format, with a green cover, with Niko Sauer as the Editor of Volumes 1 and 2, Gerald Lemmer and Roelof (SJR) Vorster were the Editors of Volume 3, and Gerald Lemmer was the Editor of Volumes 4 and 5. Like the Annual Reports, the Proceedings were also produced with the aid of a lithographical printing process by the Production Section of UNISA. The Proceedings evolved into a bulky magazine; the last volume, Volume 5, consisted of 286 pages.

(iii) Notices

The SAMS Council on its meeting of 27 June 1969, decided that the Notices of The South African Mathematical Society (Afrikaans: Mededelings van Die Suid-Afrikaanse Wiskundevereniging) would be published with Niko Sauer as the Editor [13(f); 27/06/1969]. In 1969, Volume 1 of Notices of The South African Mathematical Society made its appearance under his editorship. From the outset, the frequency of Notices has been one volume per year. Volumes 1–3 appeared in paper size A4 with a white cover.

Since 1972, with Volume 4, the Notices appeared in paper size A5. Volume 4/1 also had a white cover, but the covers of the subsequent volumes were as follows: Volumes 4/2–8/3, pink; Volumes 9 and 10, dark red; Volumes 11 and 12, grey; Volumes 13–14/3, beige; Volume 14/4–19, cream; Volumes 20–25, light blue; Volumes 26–38, white. Volumes 1–3 each comprised of six numbers; Volumes 4, 5 and 11–17 (1979–1985) each comprised of four numbers, with the fourth numbers (the December-issues) devoted exclusively to the texts of invited survey lectures and summaries of contributed papers presented at the Annual Congresses; Volumes 6–10, 18–25, 31–39 (2008) each comprised of three numbers; Volumes 26–28 and 30 each comprised of two numbers, and Volume 29 of one number.

With the present three numbers per volume, the following pattern has developed:

each September-issue usually contains information about the forthcoming Annual Congress and abstracts of the short talks for that Congress, and also the membership list.

The December-issue contains the rest of the abstracts of the short talks, the minutes of the AGM, the President’s Report, reports on Quaestiones Mathematicae (QM), (the research journal of SAMS), the finances of SAMS, information about workshops, and other relevant information.

The next April-issue usually contains the abstracts of the invited papers delivered at the previous Annual Congress, calls for nominations for the SAMS Awards and information on the next Annual Congress.

The SAMS used a design of the Möbius band as official logo on its letter heads and, from Volume 20/2 (September 1988) to Volume 25/3 (December 1993) also on the cover page of Notices. In 1994, the then Editor of Notices asked Strijdom van der Merwe, landscape-artist from Stellenbosch, to redesign the cover page of Notices. His design, a blue Möbius band (different in design from the official one) and blue typeface against a white background, was used (without obtaining permission from Council) on the cover pages of Volumes 26 (April 1994)–36/2 (September 2005).

In 1999, in an attempt to replace or improve its official logo, the Council of SAMS invited entries to its logo competition. The requirements were that the logo should incorporate either ‘The South African Mathematical Society’ or ‘SAMS’ in its design, that it should reflect South Africa’s diversity and should be mathematical in nature. The closing date for the competition was 30 July 2000 [8; 30/2, 1999].

During 2004 dissatisfaction was expressed by SAMS members about the quality of the official SAMS logo. The SAMS council discussed the matter and agreed in principle to look at a new design. SAMS members were again asked for input and the matter was discussed at the AGM in Potchefstroom in November 2004. At this meeting it was agreed that

(i) a new design must be considered;

(ii) the Möbius band must be retained as central figure in the design;

(iii) if any wording is included in the logo, it should only be in English.

At the SAMS Council meeting in February 2005, it was decided to engage the services of a professional graphic designer. From the current official logo and above-mentioned guidelines, a designer, Darren Taljaard of Port Elizabeth, presented Council at its next meeting with a number of possibilities out of which a few were chosen for further refinements. At the September 2005 Council meeting, one logo was chosen from a few proposals for presentation to the members at the AGM on 1 November 2005. Rationale behind the chosen logo:

  • Using a singular version of the Möbius band creates a clean, simple and effective logo and it becomes the focal point of the logo. The essence of the symbol got lost in designs containing multiple strips.
  • Both the abbreviation ‘SAMS’ and the full name of the society are included. It was noted that there exist other organisations using the same abbreviation, for example, the South African Medical Society.
  • The use of blue implies an intelligent, thoughtful approach to the subject at hand, conceptual in nature and yet achievable and practical too.
  • The typeface used is called Myriad. It is a Sans-Serif font (the little curly bits are missing) and is therefore much simpler and less dated than what was used before.
  • The font is bold and easily read, but is more visually interesting than a straightforward Arial/Helvetica etc. A condensed version of Myriad has been used for the full name, to allow maximum type size without creating an unduly long line of type.

Old logo                                                         New logo

The new logo, with the unchanged 1994 Strijdom van der Merwe-design of the Möbius band as focal point, and approved on the AGM of November 2005, has been used on letter heads, and on the cover page of Notices since Volume 36/3 of December 2005. The new logo is also be used on the back cover of QM [8; 36/3, 2005]. The names of the editors of Notices appear in Appendix 3.

Already in Notices 1/1, the Editor requested the members to contribute to the ‘Letters to the Editor’-column. The first volumes contained information on seminars at the NRIMS and UNISA, symposia (also symposia in Mathematical Statistics and Operations Research) at the NRIMS, UNISA, Wits and UCT, colloquia, personal items (promotions, resignations), publications (journals, research reports, books), overseas visitors, vacancies, programmes of the Annual Congresses, and minutes of the AGMs. After the publication of Volume 1 (1)–(3), the Editor mentioned in his report to Council (27 June 1969) that the reaction of the members on this new publication was not overwhelming, in fact the members appeared apathetic [13(r)]. In 1970, the Editor wrote the following editorial [8; 2/3, 1970]:

Whence and Whither

Everything needs examination; even the Notices. Looking back over the time since the beginning of this publication, it becomes evident that, so far, we have succeeded in establishing merely a Newsletter which is rapidly slipping into mediocrity. Communication has been in one direction only, which is a rather unhappy state of affairs. We have had no contributions from members of the Mathematical Society, in spite of the fact that this publication was established, among other things, to serve as their mouthpiece. Are there no issues worthy of being brought to the fore? Are we all satisfied with things as they are?

In his report to Council in October 1971, the Editor again mentioned the lack of interest of members in the Notices [13(f); 25/10/1971]. Eight years later, in [8; 11/2, 1979], the editorial still had the same message: You are not going to get the Notices that you want, but those that you deserve. The last appeal to the members for contributions was made a further twenty years along the line, but all in vain [8; 30/1, 1999]. The News Snippets column containing news from departments (personnel movements, departmental publications, and so on) appeared for the last time in December 2002 with Notices Volume 33/3 [8; 33/3, 2002]. The News Snippets column of Notices has to a certain extent been taken over by SAMS e-News, see (vi) below. It has always been the aim of the Editors of the Notices to publish items of general interest to members of the Society, including abstracts of unpublished research work, bibliographic details of departmental publications and accepted theses, personnel changes, symposium announcements, visitors, and so on.

A novelty introduced in 1977, starting with Volume 9/1, was the regular appearance of published short invited editorial articles, while a lively correspondence section had been established. The editorials dealt mainly with topics like the teaching of Applied Mathematics, Pure Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science at tertiary level, the public image of Mathematics, syllabi, and so on. See Part II.A for a discussion of these editorials. In Notices 3/1, the Editor introduced a ‘Problem Section’, consisting of two sub-sections, namely ‘Research Problems’, and ‘General Problems’ [8; 3/1, 1971]. This attempt ended in Volume 3/2, with only four contributions received in total from members.

The Society managed to keep its membership fees at R2 per annum for the first 12 years of its existence. In order to cover the production costs of Notices (R3 per page) and to fulfil other financial obligations, Council, in 1969, decided to recommend to the 1969-AGM that the subscription be raised to R5 per annum. Largely due to the cost involved in producing our new international journal Quaestiones Mathematicae, Council has had to propose, with some reluctance, that the membership fee be doubled from R5 to R10 in 1978 [8; 10/1, 1978] Production of Notices in 1987: R4920.48; in 2000: R21271; in 2001: R4662 (when UNISA regarded the printing of Notices as part of their Community Service Program); in 2003: R3172; in 2006: R2 917; in 2007: R11 735.

(iv) Quaestiones Mathematicae (QM)

As was mentioned before, the need for the publishing of an own research journal existed from before the foundation meeting of the Society. During the course of 17 years, a number of committees made several investigations and recommendations about the possibility of such a publication. The point of departure throughout all these years had been that the journal should be internationally acceptable and financially viable. In 1966, with the approval of the Council, Prof Rund (Chairman) made fairly extensive investigations with regard to the feasibility of publishing a South African mathematical journal. Unfortunately, lack of suitable printing facilities in South Africa proved to be the main obstacle. Only one firm capable of printing mathematical texts submitted a reasonable tender, which, however, was withdrawn before it could be accepted, on the grounds that the only type-setter acquainted with mathematical type-setting had resigned. Therefore, it was decided to postpone this scheme indefinitely. In the absence of an own international journal, most South African researchers published their papers in overseas journals. Arising out of this, the attention of members of the Association was drawn to the UNISA Mathematics Colloquium-series, sponsored by the University of South Africa, in which long articles or even monographs of a mathematical nature would appear on an ad hoc basis, while maintaining a strict refereeing system [13(q)]. Locally, also, the Department of Mathematics of UCT published their journal Mathematical Colloquium University of Cape Town that contained general research articles that were reviewed by Mathematical Reviews and by Zentrall Blatt. In 1967, the then Department of Education, Arts and Science voted R1 500 for the publication of a journal for Mathematics. The Council of SAMS, however, declined the offer, on the basis of the Chairman’s report of the previous year [13(f); 22/04/1967]. In 1969, Council conducted another comprehensive survey on the desirability and feasibility of a ‘South African Mathematical Journal’. The idea of establishing a proper research journal was again raised among the members of the Council of SAMS at its Annual Congress in October 1972 at Rhodes University, Grahamstown. At that stage the Society had, apart from its Notices, also the Proceedings that published the talks presented at the congresses. Apart from Niko Sauer (NRIMS), the principal driving forces behind the idea of a journal were Profs HJ Schutte (Rhodes University), and HSP Grässer and JH van der Merwe (both from UNISA).

In 1973, an investigating team consisting of Grässer and Sauer (convener) recommended the founding of a research journal of a high standard, with lithographic reproduction of manuscripts in order to keep costs low [8; 5/4, 1973]. The AGM of 22 October 1973 at UNISA decided in principle that such a research journal should be launched. On the AGM of 28 October 1974 at Stellenbosch, a motion was accepted that the journal should appear quarterly from July 1975, with a strong international editorial staff, and with the appointment of two technical editors [8; 7/1, 1975]. The proposed title of the journal was Quaestiones Mathematicae (QM) [8; 8/1, 1976]. This title was Professor Schutte’s idea [3]. The appearance of Quaestiones Mathematicae with as subtitle Journal of the South African Mathematical Society/Tydskrif van die Suid-Afrikaanse Wiskundevereniging in 1976, was indeed a landmark in the history of SAMS. Over the past 32 years, this journal has played a pioneering role in promoting research in Mathematics in South Africa and internationally.

The first Technical Editors were: Dr N Sauer (Manager) and Profs HSP Grässer and WJ Kotzé. When Volume 1(1) (94 pages) of QM appeared in 1976, in A5-formaat, with a red cover, it could boast of an impressive first Advisory Editorial Board, namely: GFR Ellis (University of Cape Town, 1976–), WN Everitt (The University of Birmingham, 1976–1994), L Fuchs (Tulane University, New Orleans, 1976–1994), H Herrlich (Universität Bremen, 1976–), DH Jacobson (NRIMS, CSIR, 1976–1984), WAJ Luxemburg (California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, 1976–), AR Mitchell (The University of Dundee, 1976–1990), Paul S Mostert (The University of Kansas, Lawrence, 1976–1993) and Hanno Rund (University of Cape Town, 1976–1993). In 1978, on the occasion of the 21st Annual Congress of the Society at the University of Pretoria, Dr AP Burger, commented: “Here one might ask the question whether the fact that the scientific editorial board consists predominantly of foreign mathematicians is an indication that South African Mathematics is not yet mature enough to produce a local editorial board with names that are sufficiently well-known internationally.”

The cover and typography of the QM logo was designed by Mr J Fomm, a typographer who worked at the time at Tafelberg Publishers in Cape Town. The first two numbers of Volume 1, printed by Wallachs in Pretoria, evoked some reaction: In a letter to Notices 9/2 (July 1977), Dr DP Laurie expressed his concern about the A5-format of QM, the stingy margins and the smooth glossy paper. The A5-format remained up to Volume 20, but the other concerns were addressed immediately. From Volume 21, QM appeared in the 4A-format (ISO and JIS standard paper size; not A4). In 1977, a thick (432 pages) combined issue of Volume 2(1)–(3) was devoted to the Proceedings of the Second Symposium on Categorical Topology at UCT, August, 1976. With Volume 2(4), Niko Sauer stepped down and Siegfried Grässer took over as Chairman, as the Manager was then called. Dr DCJ (Dawie) de Jongh of the NRIMS, joined as Technical Editor for the Volumes 2(4)–4(2). From Volume 4(2) (1980), Grässer became the Managing Editor ([8; 13/1, 1981]), and from volume 4(3) (1981), Professor JJ Grobler of the University of Potchefstroom for CHE (the present University of the North-West) joined Professors Grässer and Kotzé as Technical Editors.

Professor Grässer represented the SAMS on the Board of Control of the Bureau of Scientific Publications. In 1977, as Chairman of SAMS, he reported that the first national journals, namely the South African Journal of Chemistry, the South African Journal of Science, and the South African Journal of Physics, had either appeared or were on the point of appearing [8; 10/1, 1978]. During the course of 1981, the idea was put to the Council of SAMS that they should consider the amalgamation of Quaestiones Mathematicae with Quaestiones Informaticae and the South African Statistical Journal into a single national journal with the title South African Journal of Mathematical Sciences. This idea was not applauded by Council [8; 15/1, 1983].

Volume 6(1)–(3) was devoted to the proceedings of the Symposium on Categorical Algebra and Topology held at UCT in June/July 1981, while the entire Volume 9 was devoted to the proceedings of the International Conference on Classical and Categorical Algebra, held at the University of Natal, Durban, July 1985. Professor Grässer passed away on 2 May 1990 after still having edited Volume 13(1). It may well be argued that his most lasting contribution is embodied in Quaestiones Mathematicae — it is largely due to his vision and powers of persuasion that the journal became a reality in 1976 after many years of uncertainty. For an obituary to Prof Grässer, see [8; 22/2, 1990]. Volume 13(2) was a special Graph Theory issue and most of the papers in that number were the results of a Graph Theory Workshop held at UNISA in April 1988. Volume 13(3)–(4) was dedicated to Professor KA Hardie for his 60th birthday, and Volume 14(1) was dedicated to Horst-Siegfried Paul Grässer (1935–1990).

                                    JH van der Merwe, HSP Grässer and J van der Mark. (Photo: UNISA)

From Volume 14(3) (1991), Prof JJ Grobler took Grässer’s place as Managing Editor and the two Technical Editors were joined by Prof JH Fourie, also of the University of Potchefstroom for CHE. With the very next issue, Volume 14(4) (1991), JJ Grobler became the first Editor, with W Kotzé and JH Fourie as the Associate Editors. Volume 15(3) was devoted to the Proceedings of the Seventeenth South African Symposium on Numerical Mathematics, held at Umhlanga Rocks near Durban, from 15 to 17 July 1991. Volume 16(3) was devoted to an International Conference on Graph Theory held at the University of Natal, Durban, in July 1991. That Conference was in the celebration of 255 years of Graph Theory and was dedicated to Profs Frank Harary and Roger Entringer in honour of their 70th and 60th birthdays, respectively. Prof Kotzé became the Editor as from Volume 18 (1995), with Grobler and Fourie as Associate Editors. Volume 18(1)–(3) was devoted to the First International Conference in Abstract Analysis (ICAA, 1993) which was held in the Krüger National Park in April 1993. From Volume 22(1) (1999), the Associate Editors were joined by Prof Barry Green of the University of Stellenbosch, and from Volume 23(1) (2000), by Prof S de O Salbany of UNISA. Volume 22(3) was devoted to the Sixth Tri-annual International Conference on the Theory of Radicals and Rings (ICOR97) which was held at the University of Port Elizabeth (the present Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University) in July 1997. Volume 24(3) was dedicated to the memory of Professor John Knopfmacher (1937–1999), member of the Editorial Board 1992–98.

Supplement number 1, in 2001, of QM served as the Proceedings of the WARTHOG DELTA ’01 Conference on undergraduate Mathematics Teaching that was held in the Krüger National Park in July, 2001. Professor Kotzé resigned as Editor of QM at the end of 2001, and as from Volume 25(1) (2002) Prof Barry Green took over the position of Editor, while Kotzé was requested to stay on as Honorary Editor up to Volume 26(4) (2003). The 25th year of QM was celebrated in the form of a silver cover for Volume 25(1)–(4). Since the inception of QM, the Editors managed to sustain, develop and manoeuvre the journal through times that were politically challenging and financially tight. The different forms of academic isolation experienced by South African mathematicians played a definite role in their research output and rate of producing publications. In the early years the QM contents often reflected the research activities of the active schools of Categorical Topology at UCT and Calculus of Variations at UNISA. In recent years there was a substantial increase in the number of papers submitted from other African countries.

Over the years there were several changes and additions to the Advisory Editorial Board:

Professors V Dlab (Carleton University, Ottawa, 1980–1986),

R Entringer (University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, 1984–1997),

KA Hardie (University of Cape Town, 1981–),

DH Martin (NRIMS, CSIR, 1981–1993),

N Sauer (University of Pretoria, 1981–1997),

S Zlobec (McGill University, Montreal, 1981–),

B Banaschewski (McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, 1988–),

JW Brewer (Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, 1988–1997),

G Karpilovsky (University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 1988–1990),

CJ Maxson (Texas A & M University, 1990–),

DS Lubinsky (University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 1991–),

DM Sloan (University of Strathclyde, Scotland, 1991–2003),

R Wiegandt (Hungarian Academy of Sciences, 1991–2002),

J Diestel (Kent State University, USA, 1992–),

J Knopfmacher (University of the Witwatersrand, 1992–1998),

H-PA Künzi (Universität Bern, presently from the University of Cape Town, 1993–),

H Amann (Universität Zürich-Irchel, 1994–),

N Ibragimov (University of the Witwatersrand, 1997–1998, 1999–2002 )

G Frey (Essen University, 2002–),

YG Kondratiev (Universität Bieleveld, 2003–),

R Guralnick (University of Southern California, Los Angeles, 2004–),

FM Mahomed (University of the Witwatersrand, 2004–),

H Prodinger ((University of the Witwatersrand, presently from the University of Stellenbosch, 2004–) and

M Henning (University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, 2009–).

The present Advisory Editorial Board consists of H Amann, B Banaschewski, J Diestel, GFR Ellis, G Frey, R Guralnick, KA Hardie, M Henning, H Herrlich, YG Kondratiev, H-PA Künzi, DS Lubinsky, WAJ Luxemburg, CJ Maxson, FM Mahomed, H Prodinger and S Zlobec. Thus, of the original nine members, three are still on board, namely GFR Ellis, H Herrlich and WAJ Luxemburg.

The University of South Africa subsidised QM in 1978 by the amount of R500. The Financial Report for the year ended 30 September 1979 showed the following: Subscriptions to QM : R250.64; QM subsidies: R500 from UNISA and R1630 from the Department of National Education; production of QM: R1522.68 and postage:R145.60. In 1979, SAMS closed an agreement with the South African National Library in Cape Town for the handling of exchanges of journals for the Society. Copies of QM were made available for this purpose to the Library. Exchange journals will be kept at the Library and although freely available, will become the property of the Library. In 1988, Prof Johann Engelbrecht accepted the responsibility of the marketing of QM [13(f); 31/10/1988]. In April 1990, he sent an informative brochure on QM together with a pro forma letter to 729 mathematicians in other countries [13(m),(o)], [14(b)]. In October 1993 there were 68 overseas subscribers and 30 exchange agreements ([8; 25/3, 1993]), and in 1996 there were 70 overseas subscribers [8; 28/2, 1996]. In 1986, SAMS applied for a subsidy of R3000 for QM for 1987 from the Bureau for Scientific Publications ([13(f); 27/10/1986]), and in 1990 the Bureau subsidised QM to the amount of R5346, and increased the amount in 1993 to R8358. The Income Statement of 1992 showed that the QM subscriptions amounted to R9 136.57, and the financial support for QM to R8 400.00, while the total expenses were R34 941.90. The deficit had to be funded from the membership fees. In 1995, the Society received a subsidy of R7 070 for QM from the Foundation for Education, Science and Technology (FEST).

Volume 2(1)–12(3) were printed by NKB Commercial Printers in Port Elizabeth, Volume 12(4)–20(1) by NMB Printers and Volume 20(2)–22(4) by The Natal Witness Printing and Publishing Company. Volume 20(3)–21(4) were published by The South African Bureau for Scientific Publications in Pretoria, while volume 22 was published by the South African Scientific Publications (SASP) in Pretoria [8; 31/3, 2000]. At the 1998-AGM, the Editor of QM reported that the SAMS grant had decreased from R45 000 in 1994 to R20 500 in 1998. He also reported that FEST had suffered major disappointments due to a loss of R226 000 on government subsidy and the fact that the Journal of Science had moved to the FRD. Therefore, FEST could not support QM with an ad hoc grant for the 1997-issue of QM. It was decided to separate SAMS membership from QM subscribers as from volume 22, and that special rates for SAMS members should apply. When SAMS entered into the contract with SASP, the Society had a debt of more than R35 000 which was to be paid as funds became available. At the end of 1999, the publication of Volume 22(3) was stopped since SAMS still owed R15 000. Having paid the amount, SASP was unwilling to publish 22(4) because their budget did not allow it. After negotiations and after the terms of the contract were brought to their attention, they agreed to publish 22(4) which then appeared well into the year 2000.

Since about 1999 QM went through a very difficult period from a financial point of view. SAMS found it impossible to support the journal as in the past, even though the editors always operated very economically with their costs being essentially production and distribution, spending almost nothing on secretarial assistance. From Volume 23(1) (2000), QM became part of the business of the publisher National Inquiry Services Centre (NISC SA), situated since 1995 in Grahamstown. NISC also took over the QM copyrights from SAMS. Since 2004, full text of current and back issues is available online through IngentaConnect at www.ingentaconnect.com

Although QM was on the Department of Education’s list for subsidised journals ([8; 35/3, 2004]), the Editor of QM indicated occasionally to the Society that the journal needed to get onto the ISI database (AGM of 2002 [8; 33/3, 2002], AGM of 2006 [8; 37/3, 2006]). In August 2008, NISC announced that QM has been accepted for indexing and abstracting in Thompson Reuters’s Journal Citation Reports® (JCR) and Science Citation Index Expanded™ as from the first issue of Volume 30 (2007). Acceptance for coverage in these products follows a rigorous evaluation process and is an endorsement of the quality and international relevance of the journal. Coverage in these products will unquestionably raise the journal’s visibility in the international academic community and, among many other features in these products, the journal will receive a JCR ‘impact factor’. (Inclusion of a journal in JCR was formally referred to as having an ‘ISI-rating’). The journal’s first impact factor will be included in the 2009 JCR which will be published in the second quarter of 2010, however the journal is already considered to be ‘JCR Accredited’ [8; 39/2, 2008], [8; 39/3, 2008]. At the 2008-AGM it was announced that Council would make R6000 available to assist the Editor of QM with secretarial support in ensuring that the journal stays at the reputable level attained [8; 39/3, 2008].

One of the most notable achievements of SAMS (with a membership of about 300) remains the fact that it has maintained a scientific journal for 32 years, although in 2001, only 14 members of SAMS subscribed to QM. Furthermore, QM is the only scientific subject publication in South Africa that has appeared regularly since its inception [8; 31/3, 2000]. A policy document ‘Editorial Policy of SAMS’ was accepted in 2003, see Appendix 9, [8; 34/1, 2003].

(v) Webpage

An experimental web-site for SAMS was set up in 1996. The first webmaster, Johann Engelbrecht, retired from this position in 2004, and the position was taken over by Ebrahim Momoniat (Wits). The present webmaster, since 2006, is Inderasan Naidoo (UNISA), SAMS Council Member for Development and Public Relations.

(vi) SAMS e-News

This service commenced during 2004, with Ebrahim Momoniat as the first editor. It is used to announce meetings, conferences, open positions, and for special announcements. The communication is distributed when an official announcement or information need to be conveyed. The present editor is Inderasan Naidoo.

(vii) “Careers in Mathematics”

Booklet, CM Mynhardt and A Meiring, 1998 [8; 30/1, 1999], [13(f); 16/03/1996].

(viii) Mathematical Dictionary

Although the Mathematical Dictionary Project was not a SAMS activity, the Project enjoyed the blessing and sympathy of the Society. The pioneer in the field of Afrikaans mathematical terms was Prof WFC Arndt. An English-Afrikaans list compiled by him for his own use was published in 1924 by the Nasionale Pers under the title Wiskundige Terme (Mathematical Terms). In 1942, Prof Arndt was requested by the Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns (South African Academy for Science and Art) to compile a list of mathematical terms for publication. This led to the appearance in 1950, in typed and cyclostyled form, of the Voorlopige Lys van Terme in die Wiskunde (Provisional list of Mathematical Terms). At the beginning of 1968, the Vaktaalburo van die Akademie (Technical Language Bureau of the Academy) appointed an Editorial Committee (with Prof Pieter J Zietsman as Chairman) with the task of finalising the Mathematical Dictionary. The first Mathematical Dictionary/Wiskundewoordeboek saw publication in 1971. By the end of the 1970s the Mathematical Dictionary had gone out of print. A second, revised and expanded edition of the Wiskundewoordeboek-Mathematical Dictionary appeared in 1987, again compiled at the direction of the Akademie. Professor PJ Zietsman was the Project Leader and Professor JH van der Merwe was the Chairman of the Editorial Committee.

                                                             PJ Zietsman. (Photo: University of Pretoria)

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(i) For Research Distinction

At its meeting held on 26 October 1981, the Council of SAMS decided to establish an Award for Research Distinction. The initial proposal was that the Award should consist of a medal and a cash amount as determined by the Council and which shall be reviewed and if necessary revised from time to time by the Council [8; 14/1, 1982]:

The Award shall be for unusual research distinction and shall be made only by the Council to a person of outstanding achievement in the fields of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics, the allied fields of engineering, and the arts and sciences who has made important mathematical research contributions in one or more of these areas. Nominations and other procedures and particulars will be made known in the Notices after they have been finalised by the Council.

Professor Hanno Rund received the first Award of the South African Mathematical Society in October 1983 at the University of the Witwatersrand [8; 15/4, 1983]. Presently, the Award is presented in the form of a silver Möbius band (containing 60g silver) with golden rim and appropriate inscription, designed from the ideas of Drs DH Martin and D Race, and Prof LD Nel [13(f); 27–28/10/1982]. There were fifteen awardees in the period 1983 – 2007.

(ii) For the Advancement of Mathematics

At the meeting on 2 April 1993 the Council of SAMS decided to make an additional award, namely the SAMS Award for the Advancement of Mathematics in recognition of exceptional and distinguished service to the cultivation of Mathematics in South Africa. Advancement of Mathematics in all areas that fall within the competence of the Society, in accordance with its Mission Statement, is taken into account [8; 21/2, 1989], [8; 21/3, 1989], see Appendix 8. The Award is presented in the form of a silver medal with appropriate inscription, and has been presented seven times in the period 1998 – 2008.

Each of the two Awards is made at most once per year, and usually the two are not both made in the same year. A person can receive the same Award only once. Nominations are considered annually by an Awards Committee appointed by the Council, which enlists referees and makes recommendations to the Council. Serving members of the SAMS Council are not eligible for an Award [8; 36/1, 2005]. See Appendix 4 for a list of the awardees. The photograph below shows Professor GCL Brümmer receiving his Award for Research Distinction from the 1994-President of SAMS, Chris Brink.

                                                CH Brink (left) and GCL Brümmer. (Photo: SAMS Archives)

(iii) For honours students

In 1989, Council decided to establish a mechanism whereby Mathematics Departments could award prizes, under the auspices of the SAMS, to their best students intending to continue with Mathematics. An amount in the region of R500 was suggested [14(b)]. However, in 1990, Council decided to award a bronze medal to the most promising honours student in Mathematics and/or Applied Mathematics at each university [8; 23/3, 1991], [13(f); 30/10/1990]. The medal has the logo of the SAMS on the one side, with space for the winner’s name to be engraved on the other side. The first awards were made in 1991, when 10 medals were awarded [14(c)]. From 1992, the names of the awardees were published in the Notices: 7 awardees in 1992, 9 in 1993, 6 in 1994; 5 in 1995, 8 in 1996, 6 in 1997 and 2 in 2002. Council received a consignment of new medals in 2004, for departments to order [14(e)].

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The SAMS has been active in the field of interdisciplinary cooperation with other societies and institutions. For example, in 1962, SAMS and the South African Institute of Physics initiated a comprehensive survey on scientific resources and man-power in South Africa. In 1996, the Council of SAMS expressed its desire to obtain closer cooperation with sister societies such as the South African Society for Numerical Mathematics (SANUM), the South African Relativity Society (SARS) and the Operations Research Society of South Africa (ORSSA) [13(f); 16/03/1996]. The Operations Research Society of South Africa (ORSSA) (Afrikaans: Die Operasionele Navorsingsvereniging van Suid-Afrika (ONSA)) was founded in Johannesburg on 20 November 1969. About 150 individuals were present, coming from all parts of South Africa and Rhodesia (the present Zimbabwe). The historic relationships between SAMS on the one hand and the Mathematical Association of South Africa (MASA) and the Association for Mathematics Education of South Africa (AMESA) on the other hand, will be addressed in Part II of the paper.

(i) Southern African Association for Research in Mathematics, Science and Technology Education

In January 1992, a Workshop on Research in Science and Mathematics Education, organised by Diane Grayson, was held at the Cathedral Peak Hotel in the Drakensberg. About 60 participants came from many parts of South Africa and a few from neighbouring Southern African countries. They ranged from scientists and mathematicians, with little familiarity with science or Mathematics education, to science and Mathematics educators who had been working in the field for much of their working lives. At the end of the workshop a proposal was put forward and accepted that an association should be formed to promote Mathematics and science education research. Thus was born the Southern African Association for Research in Mathematics and Science Education (SAARMSE). The first SAARMSE meeting was held at Rhodes University in January 1993, and at that meeting the constitution was ratified. In 1999, Zimbabwe hosted the first SAARMSE conference outside of South Africa, and since then conferences have been held every second year in South Africa and every other year in a different country. In 2000, the SAARMSE AGM decided to change their name to SAARMSTE, to include the growing interest in Technology Education. Hosting conferences across the region has served SAARMSTE well, and they now have chapters in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland, Namibia and Botswana. The name of the SAARMSTE research journal is African Journal of Research in Mathematics, Science and Technology Education [8; 27/1, 1995]. In 1995, the SAMS Council made formal contact with the SAARMSE Executive, and documentation were exchanged. A short article on SAMS was planned to appear in a SAARMSTE Newsletter.

(ii) African Mathematical Union

The first Pan-African Conference of Mathematicians (PACOM) was held in 1976 in Rabat, Morocco. The event was sponsored by King Hassan, and the African Mathematical Union (AMU) was formed on that occasion. Every four years, the main event for the AMU is the PACOM. In his 1989-Presidential Report to SAMS, Prof Ronald I Becker reported that attempts to improve contact with the African mathematical community outside the borders of South Africa were unsuccessful [8; 21/3, 1989]. The situation changed in 1994. In August of that year, the South African delegates (Profs RI Becker and APJ van der Walt) at the Twelfth General Assembly of the IMU in Lucerne, Switzerland (July/August 1994), suggested in their report to the SAMS Council that the time was ripe for the entry of South Africa into the AMU. The SAMS applied for membership in the African Mathematical Union in March 1995, and South Africa was admitted as a member nation in September of that year at the Fourth Pan African Congress of Mathematicians in Ifrane, Morocco [8; 31/1, 2000]. On that occasion, the SAMS delegation consisted of Wesley Kotzé, Henda Swart and Loyiso Nongxa, while AMESA was represented by Aarnout Brombacher. The following South Africans were put on Commissions by the 1995-Executive Committee of the AMU: Henda Swart as Chairperson of the Commission for Women in Mathematics in Africa, John H Webb on the Commission for the Olympiad of the AMU, Cyril Julie on the Commission for Mathematics Education [8; 28/1, 1996], [14(b)]. The Fifth PACOM was held in January 2000 at the University of the Western Cape, Bellville, where Professor Jan Persens (a former SAMS President) became the first South African to be elected as President of the AMU. The theme for PACOM-2000 was ‘Africa in the World Mathematics Year 2000: Assessment and promotion of Mathematics education and research at the dawn of the 3rd millennium.’ Some 170 mathematicians and Mathematics educators from 20 African and 15 other countries attended the meeting. The present President of SAMS, Prof Hlengani Siweya, was elected Vice-President of the AMU (Southern Africa) in September 2004 at the Sixth PACOM in Tunis. In his 2007 Presidential Report to SAMS, Nigel Bishop reported that the AMU had requested for nominees for their proposed awards, and for a speaker at the Seventh PACOM from 27 to 31 August 2008 in Cairo [8; 38/3, 2007]. Unfortunately, this congress had been cancelled. The Seventh PACOM will now be held from 3 to 8 August 2009 at the Félix Houphouët Boigny Foundation for Peace Research in Yamoussoukro, Côte d’Ivoire, on the theme ‘New trends in the development and the applications of Mathematical Sciences.’

(iii) Southern African Mathematical Sciences Association

The Southern African Mathematical Sciences Association (SAMSA) was inaugurated in December 1981 at the University of Botswana. Membership of SAMSA was primarily from the then Southern African Development Coordination Conference (SADCC, 1980–1993, Lusaka Declaration, 1980) region covering Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The aims of SAMSA are: (i) to promote cooperation and exchange of ideas in mathematical research and teaching of Mathematics and to stimulate communication between mathematicians in the area; (ii) to organise research seminars and colloquia; (iii) to arrange visits to the area of eminent mathematicians and organise inter-departmental visits and exchange visits; (iv) to seek and maintain contacts with other mathematical associations within and outside the region, provided that the aims and purposes of such other associations are consistent with the aims and purposes of SAMSA; (v) to produce a research and information publication, and any other publications deemed to be of value in the promotion of the above aims. Their first conference was held in 1981 at the University of Botswana. Due to the political situation in South Africa then, it was not possible for South Africa to participate at that time. In 1992, SADCC was transformed into the Southern African Development Community (SADC, 1993–, Windhoek Treaty, 1992). South Africa was admitted on 30 August 1994, and SADC now consists of 15 countries. Three SAMSA conferences were held in South Africa, namely in 1997 at the University of Pretoria (jointly with SAMS and the AMS), 2002 at UNISA in Pretoria and in 2004 at the University of the North (the present University of Limpopo) at Polokwane [8; 27/1, 1995]. Good personal relations between SAMS members and SAMSA members have existed since about 1993 [8; 27/1, 1995]. A need for greater formal interaction and cooperation between SAMSA and SAMS was expressed in an 2005-article in the Notices [8; 36/1, 2005]. The SAMSA President, Professor Edward Lungu, presented a plenary lecture at the 2005 Annual SAMS Congress in Grahamstown. In his Presidential Report at the 2007 AGM, the President of SAMS in turn remarked that SAMS could work still more closely with SAMSA.

(iv) The South African Society for Numerical Analysis

The South African Society for Numerical Analysis (SANUM) was founded in 1982 with the chief aim of providing a framework for continuation of the very successful congresses that had been held annually in Durban. At that stage, 40% of SANUM members were not members of SAMS [13(f); 19/04/1982]. Negotiations for the incorporation of SANUM into SAMS had made good progress in 1983 [13(f); 28/10/1982 and 02/05/1983]. In its concern to avoid schism and further dismemberment of the SAMS, its Council initiated negotiations with the Council of SANUM with a view to unification. The Chairman of SAMS, Prof Keith A Hardie, reported in his 1983-Address that the SAMS Council met with a favourable response and that progress had been made in drafting a revised constitution for SAMS that would permit this development [8; 16/1, 1984], [13(f); 2/05/1983]. Some of the SANUM Symposia were held at Umhlanga Rocks or at Sanlameer in KwaZulu-Natal. SANUM presented a Special Session on Numerical Analysis and Approximation Theory at the 1997 SAMS Congress in Pretoria [12]. In March 2008, the Thirty-Second South African Numerical and Applied Mathematics Symposium was held at the University of Stellenbosch, for the tenth year in succession at the same venue. The 2009-SANUM Symposium will take place from 6 to 8 April at the University of Stellenbosch.

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(i) The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)

The history of support for research in universities goes back to 1942 when General Jan Smuts began developing a vision for a national research body in South Africa. In 1945 Parliament passed a bill to establish the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) – Dr Basil Schonland was its first President. Fostering research in universities through grants and bursaries was an item on the agenda of the first council meeting. When Dr Stefan Meiring Naudé became President of the CSIR in 1952, he introduced specialised university committees to evaluate applications and allocate funds. Meiring Naudé’s successor, Dr Chris van der Merwe Brink, created the University Research Division and introduced the concept of Cooperative Scientific Programmes (CSP) to promote goal-orientated research designed to solve problems of critical national importance. Dr Chris Garbers took over as President of the CSIR in May 1980, and the CSIR subsequently appointed Dr Reinhard Arndt as Vice-President with executive responsibility for the University Grants Division and the CSP. The allocation of funds at that stage did not seem to be based solely on clearly defined and agreed upon criteria. To place national research funding on a more secure footing, Garbers and Arndt co-opted Prof Jack de Wet, retired Dean of Science at UCT, to investigate options for research funding in higher education and to advise the CSIR. As a result of De Wet’s recommendations, the Main Research Support Programme and the Cooperative Scientific Programmes were combined to form the Foundation for Research Development (FRD) in 1984, headed by Dr Arndt. In 1990 the FRD became an independent body with Arndt as its President. It was decided by Arndt and De Wet that the most important criteria researchers would have to comply with to access FRD funding would be the quality of their research and of their research students. The FRD would invest its money in people with a track record of doing good research. This led to a novel concept of peer evaluation and the rating of individual researchers in higher education, based on their recent track records and outputs in research. Their level of support was exponentially linked to this rating. The system was widely acclaimed, attracting favourable international comment. Early on it became evident that evaluation could only be done by individuals accepted by the applicants and the broader community as peers who are actively involved in the relevant field of research. A large number of leading researchers, many of them outside the country’s borders, became involved in adjudicating the quality of the research outputs of South African researchers. More than 24000 local and foreign researchers have participated as reviewers. More than 4000 applicants have been evaluated, some of them once, others on several occasions.

The National Research Foundation:

In April 1999, the FRD and the Centre for Science Development (CSD) were united into a new organisation, the National Research Foundation (NRF). The first President of the NRF, Dr Khotso Mokhele, was appointed in July 1999, while Prof Mzamo P Mangaliso was appointed as NRF President in 2006. During 2007, the review of the rating system was instituted as the result of the recommendation of the Institutional Review of the NRF undertaken during 2005. The result of the review of the rating system became available early in 2008. During the period 2003–07, there were 139 mathematical scientists (statisticians included) rated by the NRF. The number of rated mathematical scientists (statisticians included) in the different categories, supplied on 23 March 2009 by the Monitoring and Evaluation Section of the NRF, were as follows:

A 7: Researchers who are unequivocally recognised by their peers as leading international scholars in their field for the high quality and impact of their recent research outputs;

B 41: Researchers who enjoy considerable international recognition by their peers for the high quality an impact of their recent research outputs;

C 73: Established researchers with a sustained recent record of productivity in the field who are recognised by their peers as having produced a body of quality work, the core of which has coherence and attests to ongoing engagement with the field, and demonstrated the ability to conceptualise problems and apply research methods to investigating them;

L 3: Persons (normally younger than 55 years) who were previously established as researchers or who previously demonstrated potential through their own research products, and who are considered capable of fully establishing or re-establishing themselves as researchers within a five-year period after evaluation. Candidates who are eligible in this category include: black researchers, female researchers, those employed in a higher education institution that lacked a research environment, and those who were previously established as researchers and have returned to a research environment;

Y 20: Young researchers (normally younger than 35 years of age), who have held the doctorate or equivalent qualification for less than five years at the time of application, and who are recognised as having the potential to establish themselves as researchers within a five-year period after evaluation, based on their performance and productivity as researchers during their doctoral studies and/or early post-doctoral careers.

In November 2008, when the Review of Mathematical Sciences Research at South African Higher Education Institutions ([10] ,see also Part III.D), took place, there were about 150 NRF-rated researchers in Pure and Applied Mathematics, Statistics and Mathematics Education, almost all of whom hold an academic position at a university. Approximate breakdown within areas showed 105 in Pure and Applied Mathematics, 35 in Statistics and 10 in Mathematics Education. The International Review Panel (Part III.D) found the NRF rating system to be rigorous and apparently reliable.

In March 1992, the Department of Mathematics at the University of Stellenbosch, celebrated its Centenary in the form of a symposium. One of the invited talks on that occasion was presented by Prof JJ Grobler: ‘The status of Mathematical Research in South Africa’. He presented the following:

(i) In the 1986 World Directory of Mathematicians (WDM), 135 South African mathematicians (163, statisticians included) were listed. The membership of SAMS consisted of the names of 294 full members. There were 93 mathematicians (136, statisticians and computer scientists included) listed by the FRD as being rated in December 1991. Grobler estimated that, in 1991, about 100 mathematicians in South Africa were doing research. Thus, in 1991, only 34% of the members of SAMS were actively doing research in Mathematics. In the 1986 WDM were the names of 46% of the members of SAMS. This means that more than half of the members of SAMS had never published more than two papers which had been refereed.

(ii) By using the 163 mathematicians and statisticians in the 1986 WDM, to calculate the number of mathematicians per million (mpm) of the population of South Africa (40.1 million people), gives 4.06 mpm. The African average was 0.85 mpm, and the average for developed countries was 34.03 mpm. Israel with 65.33 mpm had the highest ratio. These statistics showed that South Africa compared with a developed country with 4.4 million people.

(iii) Another indication of South Africa’s international standing was given in a ranking of countries according to a publication count (1981–85) (Scientometrics 16(1), 329–330). With a total of 191 publications in Mathematics, South Africa was in the 30th position, and with 68 publications in Applied Mathematics, South Africa was the 21st position. No African countries were listed for Applied Mathematics; for Mathematics, Egypt was in position 35 and Nigeria in position 38, respectively.

(iv) In 1991, the FRD ratings were: A 7, B 14, C 43, D 11, Y 16, L 2.

(v) As far as fields of research were concerned, it was shown that the most popular topic in South Africa was Algebra, and in particular the Theory of Rings and its generalisations.

(vi) The system of financial support for mathematicians through the FRD (presently, the NRF) was (in 1992) considered to be a strong point, and it probably still is the case.

The National Research Institute for Mathematical Sciences (NRIMS): The acronym NRIMS features quite often in this paper. The NRIMS of the CSIR was formed on 16 October 1961 from three erstwhile divisions of the National Physics Research Laboratory of the CSIR. The new Institute had two research departments, namely Electrical Engineering and Mathematical Sciences. Dr AP Burger, the first Director of the NRIMS until he was promoted to Vice-President of the CSIR on 1 April 1973, also acted as Head of the Mathematical Sciences Research Department, and as Head of the Division of Mathematical Analysis until the appointment of Dr N Sauer in 1969. Dr JD Neethling was the first Head of the Numerical Analysis Division, being succeeded in July 1964 by Professor C Jacobsz, while the first Head of the Statistics Division was Dr NF Laubscher, a founder member of the SAMA. Initially, 26 research posts were allocated to the Mathematical Sciences Research Department. The study of Operations Research was inaugurated in 1962 by Dr Burger, and a separate Operations Research Section was created in 1969. In April 1973, Dr Burger was succeeded as Director of NRIMS by Prof C Jacobsz. On 1 January 1974, the headship of the Mathematical Analysis Division fell vacant, following the appointment of Dr N Sauer to the Chair of Applied Mathematics at the University of Pretoria. Later in 1974, the Divisions of Numerical Analysis and Mathematical Analysis were joined in one Mathematics Division, of which Dr R Rösel was appointed head.

Professor DH Jacobson succeeded Professor C Jacobsz as Director of NRIMS on 1 January 1975. One of the notable developments which Professor Jacobson stimulated at the NRIMS was research in modern system theory and optimisation. On 1 April 1980, Jacobson was appointed as a Vice-President of the CSIR and was succeeded by Dr DH Martin as Director of NRIMS, and on 17 January 1982 the Mathematics Division was split into a Division of Mathematics and Dynamic Meteorology with Dr Y Yavin as Head, and a Division of Numerical and Applied Mathematics with Dr DP Laurie as Head.

                                                          DH Jacobson. (Courtesy of Prof Jacobson)

In 1982, the Institute subscribed to over 400 scientific journals, and enjoyed excellent computing facilities. Some fifty scientific papers were published each year in international specialist journals, preprints of these being produced in limited numbers as CSIR Technical Reports, for the shorter reports, or as Special Reports for the longer ones. Members of staff played active roles in the professional activities of SAMS, SANUM, SASA and ORRSA. The research projects of the NRIMS could be divided into: Dynamical Systems, Numerical Mathematics, Dynamical Meteorology, Optimization, and ‘Pure’ Mathematics. Although the centre of gravity of the NRIMS portfolio of research projects lied solidly in modern Applied Mathematics, many of the projects mentioned above demand familiarity with and insight into concepts, results and techniques of modern Mathematics – in particular algebra, analysis, topology and measure theory. That was the reason why the NRIMS had some highly qualified ‘pure’ mathematicians on their staff – people capable of pursuing challenging research programmes in their particular areas of interest, and of being significantly involved in more applied projects [8; 14/3, 1982].

In 1967, the NRIMS made an extract from the list of journals in South African libraries, of holdings of journals with mathematical content, and kept this updated over a long period to serve as the basis for voluntary coordination between institutions. At the 1971-AGM of SAMS, Dr Keith Hardie expressed his appreciation towards the CSIR for the publication of the list of ‘Journals with mathematical content in South African Libraries.’ He also requested the CSIR to pay attention to the fact that there existed a considerable number of journals not available in South Africa. Council decided that the next step would be to request the CSIR (and in particular, Dr AP Burger) to compile an integrated priority list of journals which were still not available in South Africa, and that this list shall be submitted to those bodies which give financial support for such purposes [13(i); 1969]. At the 1974-AGM of SAMS, Dr Hardie made a strong plea that any new current subscriptions to mathematical periodicals be reported to the editor of Notices for publication therein [8; 7/1, 1975]. Lists of new periodicals subscriptions at the NRIMS, were published occasionally in the Notices, see [8; 7/2, 1975], [8; 8/1, 1976], [8; 10/1, 1978], for example. The SAMS further cooperated with the National Library Advisory Council, who chose Mathematics as an experimental field in which to develop their ideas on organising a national supply of books and journals. The Society, together with the NRIMS, assisted in compiling a core-list of mathematical journals and this list appeared in 1972. A list of 50 new periodicals subscribed to by the NRIMS was published in [8; 10/1, 1978].

In his 1986-President’s Report and Address to SAMS, Dr DH Martin, mentioned, firstly, the revised and enlarged FRD funding scheme for support of researchers at universities, technicons and museums — the so-called FRD Main Programme. Secondly, he mentioned the ‘research publication’ component of the funding formula for universities, based upon a single summary measure — the number of articles per year in approved journals. These two developments — the formula and the FRD Main Programme — added up to a substantially heightened prominence and importance on the university campuses of successful discipline-specialist researchers. Under the Main Programme, publication in a recognised professional journal is effectively the only criterion by which progress is measured. In his Address, Dr D Martin also mentioned the 1985-White Paper on Industrial Development Strategy. This White Paper insisted that ‘researchers should become more geared to the demands of the market situation’. It specifically recognised the shortage of scientists and engineers in research and development and establishments, and insisted that optimal use be made of the available research infrastructure.

The President of the CSIR announced that the CSIR would make a ‘change of course’ involving a wide-ranging deepening of its involvement with industry. The staff of the CSIR recognised the announcement to be a watershed in the history of the CSIR [8; 18/3, 1986]. Problem/client-directed research requires multi-disciplinary team approaches and efforts, as opposed to the individualism and specialisation that is stimulated by peer evaluation. He mentioned that, in his opinion, there is a greater need for top people who are scientific generalists rather than for more specialists. Dr Martin suggested that the FRD be approached with a request to create a National Programme for Industrial Mathematics. Under such a programme researchers tender for support for a particular project, giving all details of their expected work schedule and required funds; success is measured by practical utility, such as increased efficiency and quality of some industrial process. In reaction to Dr Martin’s Address, members, in letters to the Editor of Notices, appealed to the NRIMS not to disturb the balance between mathematical specialists and generalists – there ought to be room for both [8; 19/1, 1987], [8; 19/2, 1987]. In 1987, Dr DP Laurie took the initiative and invited all those in support of the creation of a National Programme for Industrial Mathematics to write to him [8; 19/1, 1987]. It later became clear that there was insufficient interest in such a Programme [13(f); 2/11/1987]. During 1986–87, NRIMS was incorporated into the centre for Advanced Computing and Decision Support of the CSIR.

(ii) International Council for Science (ICSU)

South Africa is a founder member of the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU), which was established in 1931 to promote international scientific activity in the different branches of science and their applications for the benefit of humanity. It is one of the oldest non-governmental organisations in the world. It represents the evolution and expansion of two earlier bodies known as the International Association of Academies (IAA; 1899–1914) and the International Research Council (IRC; 1919–31). The ICSU’s strength and uniqueness lies in its dual membership: National Scientific Members and International Scientific Unions, whose wide spectrum of scientific expertise allows ICSU to address major, international, interdisciplinary issues which its Members could not handle alone. In 1998, Members agreed that the Council’s current composition and activities would be better reflected by modifying the name to the International Council for Science, while its rich history and strong identity would be well served by retaining the existing acronym, ICSU. The South African ICSU Secretariat serves the South African scientific community and most of the ICSU unions and affiliates to which South Africa adheres. Presently, the Secretariat is administered by the NRF as part of its science liaison activities.

The International Mathematical Union (IMU):

The first steps towards the formation of the IMU were taken in 1919 in Brussels at the Constitutive Assembly of the International Research Council (IRC). In accordance with the programme approved in Brussels, the IMU was founded during the International Congress of Mathematicians in Strasbourg on 20 September 1920. Under difficult political circumstances, the IMU faded away during the period 1931–36. The rebirth of IMU after World War II took some time. In December 1949, a Policy Committee made the decision that a Union Conference would be held in New York. This took place from 27 to 29 August 1950 and resulted in a draft of Statutes and By-Laws and an Enabling Resolution. In December 1950, the Statutes and By-Laws of the Union had received their final touch. The Enabling Resolution stated that the IMU would be established as soon as ten countries had joined. This happened on 10 September 1951. The IMU was again in official existence with the Danish Academy of Science as its first headquarters. The first ten members of the new IMU, in alphabetic order, were Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, and Norway. Five more countries joined in 1951: Australia, Canada, Finland, Peru, and the United States. The first General Assembly took place in Rome in March 1952. The years 1950–52 were milestones in the history of the IMU. The Constitutive Convention in 1950 in New York created the IMU de facto. By the Statutes adopted there, the IMU came into being in 1951 de jure, and in 1952 the General Assembly inaugurated the activities of the new Union, elected its first President and Executive Committee and was readmitted to ICSU. To preserve its history, the International Mathematical Union maintains an archive containing important correspondence and documents. The archive keeps, in particular, the correspondence of all IMU Prize selection committees. The IMU Executive Committee decided that all material related to IMU Prizes must be kept confidential for 50 years, though. The IMU Archives has been at ETH Zürich for a long period of time until it moved to the University of Helsinki in 1994, where it has been since [5].

The question of affiliation with the IMU was already raised on the SAMA Council Meeting of 31 March 1958 [13(f)]. On 21 April 1960 Council decided to investigate the possibility to join the IMU as a member [13(f); 21/04/1960]. The AGM of 24 October 1960 decided to request the CSIR to join the IMU in Group I (with one vote in that category). In 1965, the CSIR obtained membership, and the National Committee consisted of seven members nominated by the SAMA, three members nominated by the South African Statistical Association (SASA) and one member nominated by the CSIR [13(i); 1965]. In 1974, at the suggestion of the SAMS, South Africa’s membership category was raised from the lowest to the second category, Group II (with two votes in that category). In April 1966, the South African National Committee for Mathematics for the IMU (SANCIMU) designated a South African delegate to the General Assembly of the IMU which was held just prior to the IMU in Moscow in August, 1966. Unfortunately, no visa for entry into the USSR was granted by the Soviet authorities to South Africans during that period of our history [13(q)]. In 1979, SANCIMU, appointed by the CSIR, was constituted of the Council of the Society, together with three representatives of SASA and one representative of ORRSA [5], [8; 12/1, 1980]. Prof HJ Schutte represented South Africa at IMU General Assembly meetings in Nice (1970) and Vancouver (1974), while Prof Grässer was the representative at the Helsinki (1978) meeting. Profs Ronnie Becker and Andries van der Walt attended the 1994 International Congress of Mathematicians in Switzerland as SAMS delegates, see Section E.(ii) above. Professor Sizwe Mabizela represented SAMS at the General Assembly of the IMU and at the ICM in August 2002 in Bejing, see [8; 34/2, 2003] for a report. In 1979, SANCIMU consisted of the Council of SAMS, three representatives of SASA and one representative of ORRSA [8; 12/1, 1980]. Presently, SAMS together with the Association for Mathematics Education of South Africa (AMESA) are members of the IMU through the NRF as adhering organization. The administrative aspects of this membership are handled by the South African ICSU Secretariat at the NRF. The academic and scholarly aspects are taken care of by SANCIMU. Through the NRF office, SAMS receives financial support for sending a delegate to the General Meeting of the IMU during the International Congress of Mathematicians.

The International Commission on Mathematical Instruction (ICMI): The ICMI was first established at the International Congress of Mathematicians held in Rome in 1908. After an interruption of activity between the two World Wars, ICMI was reconstituted in 1952, at a time when the international mathematical community was being reorganised as an official commission of the International Mathematical Union (IMU). This defines the formal position of ICMI also today. Thus, the Terms of Reference of ICMI are established by the General Assembly of IMU, which is also responsible for the election of the Executive Committee of the Commission. Furthermore, the far majority of the funding of ICMI comes from IMU. As a scientific union, IMU is a member organisation of ICSU. This implies that ICMI, through IMU, is to abide to the ICSU statutes, one of which establishes the principle of non-discrimination. This principle affirms the right and freedom of scientists to associate in international scientific activities regardless of citizenship, religion, political stance, ethnic origin, sex, and such like – see Statute 5 below. Apart from observing general IMU and ICSU rules and principles, ICMI works with a large degree of autonomy. The International Congress on Mathematical Education (ICME) is held every four years under the auspices of the ICMI. It is, however, planned and organised by separate committees, which operate independently of the ICMI. The aim of the Congress is to present the current states and trends in Mathematics education research and in the practice of Mathematics teaching at all levels. The Congress will gather a broad spectrum of participants such as researchers in Mathematics education, teacher educators, practicing teachers, mathematicians, and others interested in Mathematics education.

International Council of Science Statute 5: The Universality of Science “The principle of the Universality of Science is fundamental to scientific progress. This principle embodies freedom of movement, association, expression and communication for scientists as well as equitable access to data, information and research materials. In pursuing its objectives in respect of the rights and responsibilities of scientists, the International Council for Science (ICSU) actively upholds this principle, and, in so doing, opposes any discrimination on the basis of such factors as ethnic origin, religion, citizenship, language, political stance, gender, sex or age. ICSU shall not accept disruption of its own activities by statements or actions that intentionally or otherwise prevent the application of this principle.” Revised wording approved by the ICSU Executive Board, November, 2004.

In 1974, South Africa’s representative on the IMU International Committee on Mathematical Instruction (ICMI) was Prof JH van der Merwe, and in August 1976 he attended the third International Congress for Mathematical Education (ICME) which was held in Karlsruhe [8; 7/1, 1975], [8; 9/1, 1977]. The South African delegate to serve in ICMI for the period 1 January 1983 to 31 December 1986 was Professor PG Human of the Department of Didactics, University of Stellenbosch. Prof J H Webb attended the congress of the ICME in Budapest as South Africa’s official delegate as appointed by SAMS. He reported that all went well and that South Africa was not suspended from ICME or from any of the working groups. On 6 January 1989, Mr Alwyn Olivier, the then President of the Mathematical Association of South Africa (MASA), wrote to the South African ICSU Secretariat, objecting against the fact that SANCIMU had appointed a National ICMI representative, without consulting with MASA first. He pointed out that MASA, with no representative on SANCIMU, was much more involved in school Mathematics than SAMS. The Presidents of SAMS and MASA met during 1989 to discuss matters of mutual interest, such as inter-societal cooperation, Olympiads and representation of MASA on SANCIMU [14(b)]. For the term of office 2001–05, there were four representatives of AMESA, and four representatives of SAMS on SANCIMU [8; 35/3, 2004]. At the 2006-AGM of SAMS, it was announced that there were four representatives on SANCIMU, two seats of which were occupied by SAMS, namely by the President and the Vice-President of SAMS [8; 37/3, 2006]. The 2008-SANCIMU consists of four representatives of AMESA and four representatives of SAMS, namely Proff J Banasiak (Chairman), S Mabisela, J Moori and Dr GM Moremedi. Council had supported a bid, jointly with AMESA, to hold the 2012-ICME in Durban. A committee of the ICMI visited South Africa in June 2007 and held discussions with the bid committee and others [8; 38/3, 2007]. Prof Johann Engelbrecht was the SAMS representative on the organising committee [8; 36/3, 2005]. Unfortunately, South Africa lost the bid to Korea. At the 2008-AGM three new SAMS representatives on SANCIMU were elected, namely T Dube, G Moche and E Brüning [8; 39/3, 2008].

(iii) Associated Scientific and Technical Societies of South Africa

In 1920, a number of scientific and technical societies formed the Associated Scientific and Technical Societies (AS & TS) of South Africa. Their object was to promote the interests of scientific, professional and technical societies, the advancement of knowledge on scientific and technical subjects, and the provision of secretarial, liaison, meeting and club facilities for its constituent societies. In 1965 and 1966, the Liaison Committee of AS & TS and the Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns deliberated on the need for liaison between societies from all the various scientific disciplines. That Liaison Committee then called a series of three meetings in 1967, to which a variety of societies in the scientific field were invited to discuss the creation of a Joint Council of Scientific Societies, see (iv). After extensive and constructive discussions a preliminary constitution emerged, and it was agreed that the Joint Council should be established with the minimum number of foundation members, namely, the few comprehensive societies which each cover a variety of disciplines, and in addition one specialised society for each of the six traditional main disciplines in the basic sciences, viz. Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Geology, Botany and Zoology. The Joint Council was launched with ten founding members, of which SAMS was one. The first meeting of the Joint Council took place on 28 March 1968.

In 1969, the SAMS became an Affiliated Member of AS & TS at R10.50 per year. (Full membership was too expensive.) That gave the SAMS the right to nominate one observer to the meetings of the Council of AS & TS and ensured that the name of SAMS was not absent at the highest levels where planning and policymaking took place [13(f); 27/06/1969]. During the period 1969–70, SAMS was represented by Dr AP Burger as observer. Due to reorganisation of membership categories of AS & TS in 1974, SAMS was promoted from Affiliate Society status to the new category of Associate Society. The SAMS continued to remain an Associate Member of AS & TS. Dr AP Burger represented SAMS ever since the Society had joined AS & TS until 1992, when the Council of SAMS decided to terminate its membership of the AS & TS [8; 24/3,1992], [14(b)], [14(e)].

(iv) The Joint Council of the South African Scientific Societies (JCSASS)

The Joint Council of Scientific Societies (JCSS) (the later Joint Council of the South African Scientific Societies (JCSASS)), was formed in 1968 to coordinate the activities, on the highest level, of scientific societies in South Africa. The Council of SAMS became a Full Member with one vote in 1968 [13(f); 16/03/1968]. Members like JH van der Merwe, HSP Grässer, N Sauer en AP Burger, who resided in Pretoria, represented SAMS on the Joint Council. The aim of the Joint Council was to extend and strengthen the service which science and scientists could render to our country. One of the first actions of the Joint Council had been to prepare a memorandum to the committee which was enquiring into the conditions of service of scientists in government departments and statutory organisations. The memorandum set out in detail the pressing need for recruitment, equipment and reward of scientists in South Africa. Before 1969 already, the JCSS took note of the interests of many scientists in the possible advantages and disadvantages of statutory professional registration, and they made enquiries in other countries concerning the attitudes and policies of scientists to this matter. Affiliate Membership was introduced in 1972, on the basis that Affiliate Societies would be mainly represented in the Joint Council by specified Full Member Societies. In that year there were three Affiliate Members adhering to the Joint Council through SAMS, namely MASA, ORRSA and SASA. At a JCSS Council Meeting in early 1973, members expressed concern about the fact that in certain cases South African scientists were debarred from attending overseas conferences. The JCSS compiled a list of such cases and requested the CSIR to make representations to ICSU [8; 5/1, 1973]. An important development flowing from the efforts of JCSS was, in 1976, the recommendation by the Science Adviser to the Prime Minister that a ‘Bureau for Scientific Publications’ be established to render technical services to national research journals.

SAMS was involved in the following activities of the joint Council: (i) the survey of scientists and their salaries in 1969, and a survey of graduate manpower in 1973; (ii) radio talks by Dr AP Burger in 1971, and by Prof Schutte in 1975 [13(m),(o)]; (iii) the problem of publication of research results (in 1975, the establishment of national journals for the basic sciences had been approved in principle by the Scientific Advisory Council, and was referred to the Department of National Education.); (iv) collaboration in the registration of scientists and in the drafting of the Act for Parliament The purpose of statutory professional registration was on the one hand to protect the public and the employer through the medium of an autonomous statutory council which exercises supervision over the training and professional practice of those registered, and on the other hand to identify clearly the profession and to make it more attractive by way of official recognition and improved status and bargaining power. In order to assess the opinion of South African scientists concerning the desirability of statutory professional registration, a total of 7500 questionnaires together with an explanatory letter were sent in 1976 to all members and affiliated societies of the JCSS who distributed the documents amongst their members [8; 9/1, 1977]. Out of 192 mathematical scientists, 55 indicated ‘yes’ to registration, 102 ‘probably’, 8 ‘no’ and 27 were ‘uncertain’. In 1978, the Council of SAMS nominated a subcommittee consisting of Dr AP Burger (Convener), Profs GJH Hauptfleisch, WJ Kotzé, SJR Vorster and Dr P van Eldik to advise Council on the matter of registration. Prof Niko Sauer represented SAMS on the South African Council for Natural Scientists (SACNAS) during the period 1986–88, and he was succeeded by Prof JJ Roux (UNISA, Statistics). In 1990–91, Profs JS Wolvaart (ORRSA) and Johan Swart represented SAMS on SACNAS. In 1991, the SAMS Council decided to reconsider its position with regard to representation on SACNAS, but in 1992, they announced that SAMS will have to continue with its membership of SACNAS since it is a constitutional body requiring our participation [8; 24/3, 1992]. The SACNAS has a statutory right to comment on educational matters. In respect of secondary education it has delegated this right to JCSS and consequently advice from professional bodies concerning the planning of school syllabuses could be channelled through the JCSS [8; 16/1, 1984]. During the years of compulsory military service for young White males, the JCSS had succeeded to persuade the South African Defence Force (SADF) to extend the postponement of military service further to students studying for degrees up to the Masters level, provided that the universities undertake to recommend only those students who potentially could follow a professional career in their respective fields. Sensible use would be made by the SADF of people with post-school qualifications, but the SADF retained the right to train as officers those with good leadership qualities [8; 12/4, 1980], [13(f); 14/03/1980]. In 1992, Council decided to apply for observer status only to the JCSS [8; 24/3, 1992].

                                                              HJ Schutte (Courtesy of his daughter Anita)

It was notified in the Government Gazette of 4 November 1983 that the Minister of Constitutional Development and Planning had recognised fourteen associations, among which SAMS, as associations of Natural Scientists [8; 15/4,1983]. By 31 October 1984, there were 144 Mathematical Scientists that had registered by the SACNAS [8; 17/1, 1985]. The Natural Scientific Professions Act No. 106 of 1993 was repealed in 2003 and replaced by the Natural Scientific Professions Act No. 27 of 2003. In 1997, Prof JS Wolfaardt (UNISA) represented the Mathematical Sciences (SAMS, SASA, SAIC (South African Institute for Computer Scientists – the present SAICIT, South African Institute for Computer Scientists and Information Technologists) and ORSSA) on the South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions (SACNASP). Individuals who wish to practice as Natural Scientists are required to register with SACNASP. Persons who are not registered may not perform work identified for registered persons. Categories of registration are as follows: Professional Natural Scientist (Pr.Sci.Nat.), Candidate Natural Scientist (Cand.Sci.Nat.) and Certificated National Scientist (Cert.Sci.Nat.). Presently, there are 95 registered Professional Natural Scientists in the Field of ‘Practice: Mathematical Sciences’. Most of them are working in the fields of Statistics and Operations Research. Only six indicated their home society as SAMS, and three of them are present SAMS members. In 2005, 14 out of 124 in this ‘Field of Practice’ indicated SAMS as their home Society. Prof H Siweya is the current representative of SAMS on the Council of SACNASP [8; 35/3, 2004]. The Mission Statement and Objectives of SACNASP are as follows: Mission Statement: SACNASP strives to establish, direct, sustain and ensure a high level of professionalism and ethical conduct, that is internationally acceptable and in the broad interest of the community as a whole and the natural sciences. Objectives: To promote the practice of natural science professions in South Africa, exercise control over the standard of professional conduct of professional natural scientists, monitor the standard of education and training of natural scientists and to recognise education and training which is a prerequisite for registration in terms of the Act.

(v) The National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF)

The NSTF was established in 1995. According to their website, they are broadly representative (with 134 members currently), represent wide-ranging expertise and experience, play a powerful consultative and lobbying role in SETI (Science, Engineering, Technology and Innovation) policy matters, and since 1998 organise the annual NSTF Awards. The objectives of NSTF are: (i) to influence and catalyses quality delivery of SETI policy; (ii) to monitor and promote the health of the SETI system; (iii) to celebrate, recognise and reward excellence within the SETI sector. In 2005, SAMS joined the National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF). This enables SAMS to participate in plenary meetings of the forum, and also in the biannual meetings of scientific societies [8; 36/3, 2005].

(vi) The African Institute for Mathematical Sciences

The African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) is an educational centre in Muizenberg, Cape Town. It is a collaborative project of the Universities of the Western Cape, Cape Town and Stellenbosch, the Faculty of Mathematics of the University of Cambridge, the Division of Mathematics and Physics of the University of Oxford, and the University of Paris-Sud-XI. It was launched in Muizenberg on 18 September 2003, and the goals of AIMS are:

  • To promote Mathematics and science in Africa.
  • To recruit and train talented students and teachers.
  • To build capacity for African initiatives in education, research, and technology.

The Institute is focussed around a nine-month, postgraduate course covering many of the most exciting areas of modern science. The course develops strong mathematical and computing problem-solving skills and leads to a postgraduate diploma in the Mathematical Sciences, formally accredited by the three partner South African Universities. Students with good Mathematics, science or engineering degrees are invited to apply and will be supported on bursaries where needed. Since opening in September 2003, AIMS has rapidly gained international recognition as a centre of excellence, which prepares students for research and teaching careers in the quantitative sciences. Council members of SAMS serve on the AIMS Advisory Board.

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The programmes of SAMS dealing with the teaching and the image of Mathematics will be covered in Parts II and III of this paper.

(i) Regular Visitors

Foreign mathematicians have visited South African universities and research institutions on a regular basis over the years. Unfortunately, however, due to the South African domestic policy during the period before 1994, numerous mathematicians chose not to visit the country, and some of those who did come, were put under severe pressure from their home-institutions The roles played by NRIMS, UNISA, and the Universities of Cape Town, Witwatersrand and Natal in arranging visits by overseas mathematicians during those difficult years were of great value to the academic community. Volumes 1 to10 of Notices contain names of visiting mathematicians like L Elsner and E Sperner (Hamburg), MA McKiernan (Waterloo), J Dieudonne (Nice), F Harary ((Michigan), IM James (Oxford), L Kuipers (Illinois), H Rohrbach (Mainz), GG Lorentz (Austin, Texas), P Szeptycki (Lawrence, Kansas), F John (Courant Institute, New York), L Collatz (Hamburg), LCA van Leeuwen (Groningen), … It was decided on the AGM of 1973, that departments and institutions should use the Notices to notify members of lecture series by local or foreign mathematicians [8; 5/4, 1973]. The Notices of April 1980 mentioned the following overseas visitors to South Africa: Dr E Rosinger, Profs TL Jenkins, B Banaschewski, MZ Nashed, WF Pfeffer, while the Notices of April 1982 contained the names of twenty-four overseas visitors at NRIMS, UNISA, University of Natal and University of Cape Town. The situation concerning visitors gradually improved until it normalised in the early 1990s.

(ii) Distinguished Visitor Programme

A prominent involvement in foreign relations was the scheme that the Society had launched with the cooperation and significant financial support of the CSIR, under which each year the Society invited one prominent mathematician to the country for a couple of months so as to enable him or her to do the rounds of the various institutions. One of the major reasons for establishing the programme was that such a visit could supplement and enhance existing research programmes, or that inadequate interest in key areas could be rectified. Already at the 1969-AGM, members emphasised the desirability that the South African universities and relevant institutes should combine their efforts in inviting overseas mathematicians to this country [13(g); 20/10/1969]. At the 1970-AGM it was announced that the CSIR was willing to assist this scheme financially, but on an ad hoc basis, that is, that any support from the CSIR would have to be requested from time to time for a specific visitor, and institutions to be visited would then contribute to the cost on a pro-rata basis [13(g); 19/10/1970]. In 1971, the CSIR made a grant of R1 500 maximum (on a rand-for-rand basis) available for 1972; the CSIR grant for 1973 was R1750 [8; 3/6, 1971]. In June 1971, a circular was sent to all Heads of Departments of Mathematical Sciences in the country, explaining this Programme [13(m),(o)]. Most departments reacted positively, some with fairly reserved support and others with stronger reservations. From 1972 onwards, eminent mathematicians were invited to visit South Africa with the help of the CSIR. After long preparation this scheme was launched in 1972 with Prof Paul S Mostert (University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas and son of a South African farmer) as the first visitor, and with a symposium on topology arranged in collaboration with the University of Cape Town. The visit of Professor Mostert took an unfortunate turn when, on 29 July 1972, a report (‘Brain Drain’ hitting SA teaching – claim) of an interview with Mostert appeared in the Eastern Province Herald. Mostert was reported to have said, among other things: “The political situation is the cause of a brain drain from South Africa which directly affects the standard of Mathematics teaching here”…The teaching of maths here was mediocre”, and further; “Top South African institutions would rank as second rate in the States”. Later on in that same year, Mostert did write to the Eastern Province Herald (and also to Prof HJ Schutte on 2 January 1973) and explained that he had never used the phrase “second rate”, but rather “second rank” , meaning “certainly South Africa had no university that would be equal to a Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Berkeley, or Chicago.” Furthermore, “Also I made no comments whatever about teaching,…” [13(m),(o)].

Prof KO Friedrichs (Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, New York) was the Distinguished Visitor of SAMS for 1973, combined with a three-day Symposium on Differential Equations at NRIMS from 30 July to 1 August 1973. Prof AC Zaanen (Leiden, Netherlands) was the Visitor in July 1974, and his visit was combined with a Symposium on Functional Analysis at Potchefstroom University. Most of the subsequent visits were combined with symposia or a series of lectures at one of the participating institutions. See Appendix 5 for the list of visitors to South Africa under this programme. Prof PJ Hilton was the distinguished visitor in 1981. Before his departure to South Africa, he wrote to the secretary of SAMS: “… I need your assurance, Professor van Eldik, that I would have equal opportunity to meet and address black and white students, and black and white colleagues. This, for me, is a matter of deeply held principle, and I very much hope you will be able to tell me that the arrangements for my visit can be made in such a way as to conform to this principle.” In a letter to the Editor of the Notices of the AMS, published in February 1981 in [6], Peter Hilton announced his decision to accept the invitation by SAMS. He also sketched which conditions established for his visit by him, were compatible with his opposition to racism and his desire to help mathematicians and students anywhere in the world. He visited 16 South African universities, the CSIR, Soweto, was the main speaker at the MASA Convention of Mathematics and Science Teachers in Cape Town from 13 to 17 October 1981, and also at the Symposium on Categorical Algebra and Topology at the University of Cape Town. In a short note that appeared in 1983 in Notices of SAMS [8; 15/3,1983], Peter Hilton gave his impressions of his visit to South Africa. He mentioned that in his opinion, and as far as Mathematics was concerned, the work done in South Africa at the research level was good, but that the teaching of Mathematics and the staffing problems at all levels should cause concern, especially in the Black schools. The high school curriculum was very traditional and was dominated by the nation-wide matriculation examination used for university entrance, while the university undergraduate curriculum was modelled on the old Cambridge patterns. In a letter to the Secretary of SAMS, Prof Hilton described his visit to South Africa as “the most memorable experience of his life” [13(f); 28/10/1981].

During the period 1974–90 in particular, some of the mathematicians invited under this programme declined the invitation straight away on the grounds of the political situation in South Africa, some cancelled their visits on the last minute, and others kept SAMS on hold for a year or even two [13(f); 24/10/1977]. The academic boycott against South Africa had a considerable effect on the activities and programmes of SAMS, in spite of the fact that SAMS-membership has always been open to all races. In 1977, Professor James Eells of The Institute of Advanced Studies at Princeton was invited to visit South Africa in 1979 under the Distinguished Visitor Programme. On 5 October 1977, he wrote to the Secretary of SAMS: “…It appears that an aim of the present government of South Africa is not only to repress its black majority – but literally to exterminate any black who dares to reach upwards to realize his own potential. (Three case histories, documented in detail, have reached me during the past year – purely by chance.) under the circumstances, I regret that I cannot accept your invitation, knowing that my main objectives there would run counter to those of your government.” [13(f); 14/05/1990]. Due to the increase in travel expenses and a substantial reduction in the contribution of the Foundation for Research Development (FRD) in the early 1980s, a very high daily tariff had to be imposed on institutions visited, with the result that fewer institutions were eventually involved. From 1984 onwards SAMS paid its visitors a monthly allowance equivalent to the top of a professor’s salary scale (R2500 per month at that stage), and the host institutions would contribute 6% of this monthly rate for each working day that the visitor spends with them [13(f); 2/05/1983]. In 1988, the FRD had decided to resume the funding of the invited visitors. For example, in 1994, they supported the visit of Professor Zvi Artstein of the Weizmann Institute, Rehovot, with the amount of R12 000. The Distinguished Visitor Programme was advertised for the last time in the Notices 27(2), September 1995. On the other hand, in 1997, the FRD contributed an amount of R5 000.00 towards the visit of Professor AO Kuku. He had been the last visitor on the Distiguished Visitor Programme.

(iii) Exchange/Reciprocity Agreements

In 1974, SAMS entered into a reciprocity agreement with the AMS whereby members of the one Society can obtain membership of the other at half the membership fee. Unfortunately, this agreement floundered more or less at its inception in 1974 [8; 5/2, 1973]. The agreement was treated as a delicate matter with political connotations, and the AMS decided to cancel the agreement [8; 7/1, 1975], [13(f); 28/10/1974]. At a Council meeting of the American Mathematical Society in January 1974, the Executive Director was instructed to cancel the reciprocity agreement with SAMS, and the President of the AMS was authorised to appoint a committee to include Black mathematicians, to examine the principles of reciprocity and to report to their Council. The 1982-Exchange Agreement between Israel and South Africa was a consequence of the scientific cooperation between the National Council for Research and Development (NCRD) in Israel and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in South Africa [8; 14/1, 1982]. The Agreement provided for the annual exchange of scientists to participate in research and thus strengthened scientific and technological cooperation between Israel and South Africa. The Agreement provided for 12-man-months per year in each of the two countries. In 1990, SAMS established a reciprocity agreement with the Gesellschaft für Angewandte Mathematik und Mechanik (GAMM), and in 1993 the Council of SAMS accepted the terms of the reciprocity offer made by the Council of the Netherlands Mathematical Society (Wiskundig Genootschap) [14(b)]. They offered a reduced membership rate, free receipt of their newsletter De Mededeling, and Indagationes Mathematicae at a reduced rate. In that same year, SAMS accepted this offer, and in turn offered membership of SAMS at a reduced rate, and free receipt by surface mail of Notices and QM. It appears from the Minutes of the SAMS Council meeting of 25 October 1994, that this agreement was not widely introduced among the members; some members of Council did not even know about it. In 1995, SAMS again entered into a reciprocity agreement with the AMS, and SAMS is presently still on the list of the AMS reciprocating Societies [8; 28/2, 1996], [14(b)], [14(h)]. In 2005, SAMS concluded a formal cooperation agreement with the Real Sociedad Matematica Espanola (RSME), and in 2006 a reciprocity agreement with the Tunisian Mathematical Society had been concluded.

(iv) Mathematics Development Programme

In March 1994, Chris Brink and Mathume Bopape, the Presidents of SAMS and AMESA, respectively, met informally to discuss their common concern about Mathematics competitions: the lack of coordination at a national level and the respective roles of the Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns (South African Academy for Science and Arts), AMESA, SAMS, the South African Mathematics Olympiad Committee, and the International Mathematics Olympiad Programme. They decided to explore the possibilities of liaison and cooperation between SAMS and AMESA. Brink suggested that they could jointly mount a National Enrichment and Development Programme in Mathematics (NEDPIM) and submit it to the FRD for discussions. On its meeting of 28 March 1994 the SAMS Council approved the idea, and Chris Brink subsequently approached the President of AMESA with the request of forming a joint Steering Committee to take this matter further. The Council of SAMS named the following Council members as their representatives on the Steering Committee: Chris Brink (President), John Webb (Coordinator of the IMO Programme) and Johann Engelbrecht (Education Portfolio). On 30 September 1994, Alwyn Olivier (AMESA) informed Brink of their support and suggested the Programme be renamed the Mathematics Development Programme [14(a)]. In October 1994, Brink and Bopape met with Dr P Nevhutalu, Director Schools Division of the FRD to discuss the idea of a joint FRD-supported programme. In an independent development, the FRD issued in December 1994 a national ‘Call for Ideas’ as to which programmes the FRD should mount as part of its new dispensation. The Council of SAMS viewed this as an opportunity to promote Mathematics, and in February 1995, formulated and submitted a proposal called the Mathematics Development Programme (MDP) (A programme of mathematical development and enrichment for Mathematics teachers and their pupils) to the FRD. The submission was one of about 450 the FRD received, and went into the melting pot together with all the others. The following submission to the FRD was made with the approval and support of AMESA, ORSSA, SANUM, the Royal Society of South Africa, and of Diane Grayson, President of the South African Association for Research in Mathematics and Science Education (SAARMSE) in her personal capacity [14(a)]: (i) The FRD should declare the development of Mathematics, in all its facets, as a national priority, and (ii) launch a national Mathematics Development Programme.

Description of the envisaged project: We envisage a broad national thrust in the development of mathematical expertise which will address the national needs and make a major contribution to the FRD mission and objectives. The MDP will concern all facets of Mathematics, in the sense of addressing simultaneously the three categories of corrective action, competitive research and industrial liaison. It will do so by inviting, evaluating, selecting and funding project proposals from all stakeholders in each of these areas. Project proposals could come from individuals, consortiums, institutions or organisations. Individually they might address educational matters, pure research, directed research, or industrial applications. Overall, however, the Programme will present a coherent picture of a coordinated and holistic approach to teaching, research and applications of Mathematics countrywide, actively promoting the interaction between these areas. As such, it will at the organisational level cut across the boundaries between pure and applied research, between research and teaching, between the secondary and tertiary education sectors, and between industry and academia. It will use Mathematics as a foundation from which to build and enhance a Science and Technology ethos in South Africa, and it will lay to rest the myth that Mathematics is the domain of only a few [8; 28/1, 1996], [14(a)].

The background was the serious problems countrywide in the teaching of Mathematics in our schools. The document identified two main target groups, namely high school pupils of special interest in Mathematics, and Mathematics teachers at both primary and secondary schools whose command of the subject and teaching ability will be enhanced by enrichment of their mathematical backgrounds. In the document, under the heading Activities, the following proposals were made: (i) a National Centre for Mathematical Enrichment, so that the MDP will operate from a central office with a national coordinator and an administrative infrastructure; (ii) the IMO Talent Search; (iii) the Interprovincial Mathematics Olympiad (IPMO) competition; (iv) a Development Programme for Teachers; (v) the popularisation of Mathematics.

The suggestion was also that the MDP would subsume the SAMS programme for talent search and training for the IMO [8; 27/1, 1995]. In April 1995, Dr R Arndt, President of the FRD, suggested that the MDP should be included in the National Government’s Presidential Projects. At a meeting with the FRD Executive on 17 October 1995, the FRD undertook to take the MDP idea forward to the Government. The plan would be to create a home for Mathematics at the FRD, and to appoint at sufficiently senior level a National Coordinator for the MDP, endowed with administrative infrastructure and a secretariat [8; 28/1, 1996]. In February 1996, Dr Arndt, accompanied by representatives of SAMS and AMESA, met with Dr BS Ngubane, Minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology to put forward the proposal for the MDP to him. The idea was accepted with great enthusiasm and with the expectation that the project would be discussed by the full Cabinet at some stage. In September 1996, the FRD approved in principle that they would increase their role from being a facilitator in promoting the MDP idea to becoming the manager of the process (and to cover the costs) until the launch of the MDP. During 1997 it was admitted in correspondence between interested parties that the idea of the MDP had lost some steam, and that in order for the MDP to get off the ground, it would need a full-time person to go and sell it to Government, NGO’s, the business world, overseas funding agencies, and so on [14(a)]. According to the 1998-Annual Report of the President of SAMS, financial support for the MDP was secured from The UNESCO Field Office in South Africa through the (to be established) South African National Commission for UNESCO. At the 2000-AGM, the President Talvin Schultz, reported that although there was appreciation for the idea of the MDP in several quarters, the Society had not been successful in soliciting partners who would finance the anticipated activities.

(v) Transformation Task Group

The following proposal was accepted on 5 November 1996 at the AGM of SAMS at the University of the Western Cape (UWC): The AGM instructs the Council of the South African Mathematical Society to appoint a task group, to be announced on 6 November 1996, to investigate a fundamental renewal of the Society with regard to all its activities and structures. The year 1997 was special in the sense that the University of Pretoria hosted a Joint SAMS-AMS-SAMSA Conference that was also sponsored by the London Mathematical Society and UNESCO. The Conference took place from 25 to 28 June on the campus of the University of Pretoria, and was attended by about 370 registered participants. One of the main points on the agenda of the AGM was the report by Chris Brink, the Convener of the SAMS Transformation Task Group. The proposals of the Task Group to the AGM were:

1. That the structure of Council should be changed, in such a way that each position on Council is associated with a specific portfolio.

2. That the Council portfolios should be the following: President, Vice-President, General Secretary, Financial Manager (these four to form the Executive), Scientific Activities, Education, Development and Public Relations, and Liaison.

3. That the manner of election of Council should be as follows:

(a) Election of Council members shall take place by majority vote at the AGM. (Postal votes shall be allowed.)

(b)Nominations for Council shall be called for, made, and circulated, in advance.

(c) Each nomination shall be for a specific portfolio, and shall be accompanied by a brief CV and statement of intent by the nominee.

(d) Election to Council shall be for a period of two years at a time.

4. That the number of elected Council members and portfolios (8) be written into the Constitution, but that the nature and description of a portfolio could be changed by simple majority vote at an AGM.

5. That Council shall have power of co-opting onto Council a maximum of three extra Council members, to serve in portfolios such as may be determined by Council.

6. That Council may determine such additional portfolios and make such additional appointments to these further portfolios as it may deem fit, with these additional portfolio holders answerable to Council without thereby becoming members of Council.

7. That the current criterion of membership of the SAMS (a four-year degree) be abolished, and that membership of the SAMS should be open to any person who holds a tertiary qualification in a mathematical discipline (i.e. Level 5 or higher on the NQF).

8. That the June 1997 incoming Council of the SAMS be mandated by the AGM to continue the process of transformation, taking into account in particular the following:

(a)That responsibility for the transformation process be vested in the President.

(b)That, as a matter of priority, the Mission Statement of the SAMS should be rewritten so as to give a clear indication of current realities and aspirations.

(c)That the Council shall launch an initiative to secure for the SAMS, in conjunction with such other Societies and organizations as it may deem fit, a permanent office for Mathematics in South Africa.

(d)That the Council shall launch a debate on the nature and future of the publications of the SAMS, in particular with regard to electronic publishing.

(e)That the Council shall set up a structure for developing and maintaining electronic communication, internally between SAMS members as well as externally with other Societies and societal structures.

(f)That at a suitable time the Constitution of the SAMS should be amended so as to incorporate (in flexible manner) the changes decided upon.

(g)That the new Council shall report back at the AGM of 1998 on progress being made with transformation.

Some of these proposals were taken into account when the Constitution was amended in 1997. The proposal of a permanent office for Mathematics in South Africa eventually lead to the registration, in 2004, of the South African Mathematics Foundation (SAMF) as a section 21 company with offices in Pretoria, see Part III.C of this paper. In an Addendum to their proposals, the Task Group described each Council portfolio as part of their proposal. The Task Group’s description of portfolios corresponds to a large extend to the description presently used by SAMS, see Appendix 10. The Task Group’s proposals concerning the election procedures for Council members were not accepted – see also Appendix 10 for the present procedures.

(vi) World Mathematical Year in South Africa

In May 1992 in Rio de Janeiro, the President of the IMU, declared the year 2000 to be World Mathematical Year (WMY-2000). The declaration had three aims in mind: (i) The great challenges for the twenty-first century; (ii) Mathematics, a key for development; (iii) The image of Mathematics. World Mathematical Year 2000 was celebrated internationally, see [8; 31/1, 2000, pp.35-39] for an agenda. South Africa had also been actively involved through its WMY-2000 Committee in organising events to mark WMY-2000. The efforts had been mostly through SAMS, AMESA and SAMO (South African Mathematics Olympiad), with assistance from the Departments of Education and Arts, Culture, Science and Technology. The following activities took place: PACOM-2000 at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) in January 2000 (joint AMU, SAMS, AMESA Congress); PAMO-2000 at the universities of Cape Town and Western Cape; talks at some other South African universities; Scifest 2000 Millennium Mathematics Marquee, April 2000, organised by AMESA; AMESA Mathematics Challenge 2000 for Grades 4 to 7 during Mathematics Week 16 to 22 October 2000; Third Hanno Rund Conference on Differential Equations and Applications, University of Natal, Durban; SAMS Annual Congress during Mathematics Week; International Conference on Modern Group Analysis for the New Millennium, from 27 September to 3 October 2000, at the University of the Witwatersrand; radio interviews, and newspaper articles; 200 gold-plated medals for WMY-2000, funded by Rand Merchant Bank, were divided between AMESA, SAMS and SAMO, and were presented to worthy recipients [8; 31/3, 2000].

(vii) The Archives of the South African Mathematical Society

The Archives of SAMS (initiated by Professor Siegfried Grässer) is located in the Archive and Special Collection Section of the UNISA Library in Pretoria. In 1986, the Librarian of the Manuscript Collection, Sanlam Library at UNISA, compiled a complete inventory of the Archives for the Council of SAMS [13(b)]. In 1987, Council appointed Mr DJT Hanekom of UNISA as Honorary Archivist [8; 19/3, 1987], [13(g); 3/11/1987]. He recommended to Council that the SAMS documents should be transferred to the Archives every three years [13(p)], [13(f); 9/05/1988 and 31/10/1988]. The last Secretary who complied to this request was Dr B Kok who transferred the documents in her possession to the Archives at the end of her term in November 1988 [13(f); 31/10/1988]. At the request of Prof Alko Meijer, President of SAMS, the Archivist submitted a report to the Council meeting of April 1993, outlining Council’s responsibilities towards the upkeep of the SAMS Archives. At the 1998-AGM, members were requested not to throw away SAMS correspondence, documents and photographs, and that Council should give consideration for these to be kept in a central place, especially after the retirement of Mr Hanekom from UNISA [8; 31/2, 2000]. Presently, the documentation in the Archives provides a reasonable reflection of the history of SAMS up to the end of 1988.

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The 1989 Mission Statement contains the following clause:

(i) Stand on Discrimination

At its inception, the Society unequivocally rejected any possibility of discriminatory clauses in its constitution. It believes that the best interest of mathematical learning can only be served in a society which is free from discrimination in any form with regard to race, religion or gender. The Society rejects such discrimination in its admission to membership, in the election of office-bearers, and in all other areas of the conduct of its business. It believes firmly in the right of all people to associate freely for the purposes of research, scholarship and teaching.

Although the South African Mathematical Society never allowed any discriminatory practices regarding its membership and attendance of its congresses, it must be admitted that the laws of the country and the large-scale discrimination in the country, occasionally put Council, members and potential members in unenviable positions. On 11 August 1962, Council decided that it was inappropriate to form separate branches of The South African Mathematical Association for non-Whites [13(f); 11/08/1962]. Letters from the mid-1970’s in the SAMS Archives between members and organisers of Annual Congresses reveal a concern about the reception that Black members and Black students might expect on certain campuses and whether they would be allowed to stay with the other delegates in the hotels listed for the Congress. In 1976, SP Mashike (University of the North) was admitted as full member of SAMS [13(f); 25/10/1976]. In 1977 the Society had two Black members, both from the University of the North ([8; 9/2, 1977]), and four Black members in 1980.

During the years prior to 1994, SAMS only had a hand full of non-White members. One person that stood out during that period was Professor Ismail J Mohamed. He was admitted as a full member on 21 October 1963 [13(f); 21/10/1963]. On the Council meeting of 21 October 1963, the President, Dr AP Burger, informed the members that he had personally discussed the arrangements for that evening’s reception after the AGM with Professor Mohamed. He did that, so he explained, to save Prof Mohamed unnecessary embarrassment. Some of the Council members dissociated themselves completely from the President’s actions [13(f); 21/10/1963]. In 1968, Mohamed lost his membership due to the non-payment of dues [13(f); 16/03/1968]. He was admitted as a full member again in 1975 [13(f); 27/10/1975]. Mohamed resigned in 1976 as member of SAMS ([13(f); 27/10/1975]) on the grounds of the following two points: (i) he found it strange that as an algebraist, he was not invited to the Algebra Symposium held at the University of Pretoria (during the Distinguished Visitor Professor F Loonstra’s visit), and (ii) he disagreed with the Society’s continued representation on the Council of MASA when membership of the latter was only open to persons of the White group [13(f); 27/10/1975]. Prof Zietsman of the University of Pretoria replied by letter on (i) by saying that Prof Mohamed arrived back in South Africa to take up his position at Wits after the invitations for the Symposium had been sent out. On (ii), the Secretary of SAMS explained to Prof Mohamed that the Society had always been non-political, but had to operate within the framework of the laws of the country; see Part II.B(i). In 1977, MASA removed the term ‘White’ from their Constitution [13(f); 24/10/1977]. Late in 1976, Prof Mohamed, from UWC at that stage, was arrested and was held without trial. During that period, Dr BH Neumann of Canberra expressed his concern in letters to Profs HJ Schutte and HSP Grässer about Prof Mohamed’s predicament. Prof Mohamed was released from detention early in January 1977 [13(m),(o)]. He was again arrested in February 1985 and charged with high treason. That caused a stir among the scientist world-wide. Below is a part of a letter, dated March 20, 1986, sent by Eliot Stellar, Chairman, US National Academy of Sciences, to Dr Marshall Nirenberg, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland:

”Dear Dr. Nirenberg: …The Committee on Human Rights was created in 1976, at the request of the NAS membership. Over the years the Committee has worked in behalf of more than 200 scientists, engineers, and medical professionals who have been, or still are, prisoners of conscience…The Committee takes on cases of individuals from the scientific community, anywhere in the world, who are believed to be victims of severe repression, that is, people who are imprisoned, have been sent into internal exile, or have “disappeared… Ismail Mohamed is one of South Africa’s leading algebraists. He is a professor at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg and a leader of the United Democratic Front. He was arrested on February 19, 1985, and charged with high treason, a capital offence. The Committee took numerous private actions in Professor Mohamed’s behalf, including letters to South African government officials, letters and telephone calls of moral support to Professor Mohamed and his wife, a request to the Committee’s correspondents to write individual letters of concern, and requests for information to officials of the American Embassy in Pretoria. In October, I received a letter from Professor Mohamed in which he wrote:

I am very grateful for the concern and support the National Academy of Sciences as well as yourself and Professor Lipman Bers have shown for the trial we have to face.

He went on to say,

We are encouraged and strengthened by the continuing interest of the American people in the struggles we face.

All charges against Professor Mohamed were dropped on December 10…”

[http://profiles.nlm.nih.gov/JJ/B/B/Z/D    Accessed 19 July 2008]

After 1994, Prof Mohamed became a Member of Parliament for the ruling party in South Africa [8; 28/1, 1996].

On 6 July 1977, Nic Heideman (Rhodes University) wrote the following letter to Roelof Vorster (UNISA):

Dear Roelof, There is a very bright black student at Fort Hare University who is doing an MSc jointly at Rhodes and Fort Hare. He is soaking up Mathematics at a terrific rate and it is a real pleasure to have him in a class. His name is Gordon Nongxa. He will probably go overseas next year to do a PhD in Maths. Before going he should really have a wider contact with mathematicians and the various branches of the subject. I am very keen for him to join the society and come to the next Congress. I notice from the latest membership list that there are at least two other black members. What arrangements have been made for blacks at the Bloemfontein Congress? Can they stay with the other delegates at the hotels listed, and are the facilities at the Congress the same? I would like to know the full picture before I talk to Gordon about joining and coming to the Congress… [13(m),(o)]

Gordon Loyiso Nongxa became a student member of SAMS in 1977 [139f); 24/10/1977]. He became South Africa’s first black Rhodes Scholar and went on to obtain his DPhil in Mathematics at Oxford University (UK) in 1982. In 2003, he was appointed the Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Witwatersrand.

In his Presidential Address, “Die Wiskundige en Politiek” ([8; 19/3, 1987]) (The Mathematician and Politics ([8; 20/1, 1988])), delivered at the 1987-AGM at Stellenbosch, Professor APJ van der Walt, briefly sketched the extent to which the South African mathematician in performing his task, had been affected by the political dispensation of the time. He mentioned that the number of countries to which we as South Africans scientist may not travel or in which we were just very unwelcome guests was steadily increasing. SAMS belonged to the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU) through the IMU, and ICSU prescribed that all conferences held under its auspices must be open to all without consideration of, amongst other things, citizenship, and that therefore such conferences may be held only in countries which are prepared to admit everyone to the conference concerned. But, not all conferences were held under the aegis of ICSU. Furthermore, even the attendance of ICSU conferences were not without problems: Delays occurred in the issuing of visas, as when a passport with a valid visa was sent to the applicant by surface mail instead of airmail. Even in the 1980s a considerable number of foreign mathematicians still visited South Africa. The Visitor’s Programme of SAMS was under pressure not only because prominent mathematicians refused on principle to come to South Africa, but also because those who did come sometimes found that this was regarded by their colleagues as a dubious action which drew criticism and had to be defended. The President was of the opinion that the attitude of the South African mathematicians under these circumstances should be to:

(i) raise their level of scientific practice – quality is always more difficult to ignore summarily;

(ii) persevere and spare no effort to make their contribution worldwide; members were strongly advised to approach the South African ICSU Secretariat for advice and assistance, especially in the case of ICSU conferences;

(iii) receive in South Africa as many visitors of high standing as possible; (iv) play a more active role in politics.

In his 1988-Presidential Address, Professor Johan Swart, expressed the opinion that the way that science and technology were perceived by the government of the day, was harmful. He invited members of the Society to sign (in their private capacity) a declaration for the condemnation of statutory racial discrimination [8; 20/3, 1988]. The 1989-SAMS President, Ronald Becker, in his Report mentioned that the Society should not seek to take a political stance; however, where political policy impinges directly on the interests of Mathematics and Mathematics Education, it becomes necessary to formulate a clear policy. A first step in this direction is the postscript of the proposed Mission Statement (the 1989-version, [8; 21/3, 1989]), as stated above as the Stand on Discrimination. See Appendix 8 for the most recent version of the Mission Statement.

                                                                   APJ van der Walt (Photo: [3, p.24])

(ii) The languages issue

The following variations of the Afrikaans name of the Association/Society occured in minutes of meetings, in official letters, and on letterheads: Die Suid-Afrikaanse Wiskundige Vereniging (1957–58), Die Suid-Afrikaanse Wiskunde Vereniging (1958), Die Suid-Afrikaanse Wiskunde-Vereniging (1961), Die Suid-Afrikaanse Wiskunde-vereniging (1962), and Die Suid-Afrikaanse Wiskundevereniging (1963–). This last accepted form still appears on the cover and on the contents page of Notices of the South African Mathematical Society, even though English became the language of communication of the Society in 2000. Although up to about 1990, the languages Afrikaans and English were regarded as having the same status within the Society, the following analysis gives the percentage of short research talks delivered in Afrikaans at a selection of Annual Congresses: 43% in 1958, 48% in 1969, 65% in 1973, 44% in 1974, 55% in 1975, 46% in 1976, 42% in 1977, 33% in 1980, 47% in 1983, 37% in 1986, 13% in 1990, 20% in 1992, 11% in 1994, 5% in 1996, 0% in 1997, and 0% after 1997.

On 8 August 1979, Dr RJ Gardner, who had been appointed from overseas in 1978 as Senior Research Officer at NRIMS, wrote to the Editor of Notices [8; 11/3, 1979]. Gardner’s discontent was about language, in particular, the usage of Afrikaans at the Annual Congresses: “… On the other hand I am sure that it is very rare that a non-speaker of English attends; of course English is an official language South Africa, but it is also, above all others, the language of published Mathematics. Consequently, I believe that the meeting should be conducted as far as possible in English… For reasons of common courtesy, and in order to reach all who might be interested, it seems to me that English should be used if at all possible.” By invitation from the editor of Notices, Prof PJ Zietsman of the University of Pretoria replied and pointed out: (i) The SAMS Congress is not an international congress, but serves the primary purpose of promoting communication between South African mathematicians; (ii) The use of Afrikaans at the highest level in communicating research results helps to motivate the continuing interest in Afrikaans terminology; (iii) The mathematical content of a congress address is not the only important aspect: clarity of presentation and stimulation of the audience also come into play. Dr Gardner resigned as member of SAMS in 1980 [13(f); 27/10/1980]. The view that the SAMS Congresses were not regarded as international congresses is strengthened by the fact that, for example, two of the three plenary lectures at the 1982-Annual Congress were delivered in Afrikaans.

The 2000-AGM endorsed the following language policy of SAMS: The language of record of SAMS shall be English. Any member may volunteer to translate any official document of SAMS into any of the 11 official languages. After Council independently verifies its authenticity, the translation shall be published in the Notices. Members are required to provide brief English translations of all correspondence — including papers presented at SAMS congresses.

(iii) Period of Transformation

The decade from 1990 to 2000 had been most challenging for SAMS on almost all fronts. The social transformation processes had placed extreme demands on educational institutions, and in most instances, members and co-opted members of Council were under pressure to yield immediate qualitative and quantitative results. In his 1992-Presidential address, Wesley Kotzé emphasised that, on the eve of the ‘new South Africa’, the mathematical community should (i) keep abreast of and compete with international achievements in our subject; (ii) maintain the standards of our degrees at a level comparable with at least respected American universities, and (iii) be increasingly involved with training at pre-university level in a supportive role to teachers [8; 24/3, 1992]. The Society had been struggling to balance its finances. Some of the Treasurers during that period fell behind with their duties, sometimes due to more urgent obligations at their institutions. There were a variety of problems. For example, by the end of 1993 only 53% of membership dues were paid-up to date, earlier budgets had taken arrears in membership dues as a credit, whereas it was doubtful whether all those dues were in fact recoverable, membership dues notices did not get posted early in the year, or audited financial statements were not presented in time to Council for consideration and presentation to the AGM. In 1994, Council appointed a Finance Committee to assist the Treasurer in putting the financial affairs of the Society on a sound footing [13(c)], [14(e)]. In the early 1990s, Council revised the Code of Conduct for the Council of the SAMS and also the rules and procedures for Council Members [8; 31/3, 2000], [14(b)].

The Möbius band that was supposed to be handed to the 1996-recipient, was not ready until March 1997. That was mainly due to lack of proper communication and the uncertainty about responsibilities among members of Council. That incident caused some embarrassment and harmed the image of SAMS [14(b)]. In the year 2000, the membership of SAMS had stabilised at around 195, of which only approximately 110 were paid-up members. The resolution to separate subscription to QM from membership had the effect that QM subscription diminished substantially.

At the 2000-AGM, the President reported that the effectiveness of Council had been unsatisfactory over several years and for several reasons. He mentioned that a persistent degree of non-compliance with standing procedures compromised the effectiveness of the Society. Furthermore, in the period July 1997 to August 1999, the regularity of the Notices collapsed, and this contributed to some of the weak communication patterns which were emerging. For example, members were notified of the amendments to the 1997-Constitution only prior to the 1999-Congress [8; 30/1, 1999]. The possibility of electronic editions of Notices was mentioned by Council in 1997 [14(b)]. The fact that English had become the language of record of the Society also caused a degree of dissatisfaction, resignations and apathy amongst some members of SAMS [8; 31/1, 2000], [8; 31/2, 2000], [8; 31/3, 2000].

Prof J van der Mark, founder member, died in 1990. For an obituary to him, see [8; 22/2, 1990]. Prof Hennie Schutte, also one of the founder members, died in 1991, while on a visit to friends in the Netherlands. For an obituary to him, see [8; 24/1, 1992]. Prof Andries van der Walt died on 31 December 2008; for an obituary, see [8; 40/1, 2009].

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