WBS Timeline - 50 Years of WBS
50 Years of Memories at Wits Business School
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The WBS Timeline

The concept of the WBS timeline centres around the most significant milestones that happened during the School’s 50 year history. We then added some interesting local and global facts alongside those dates in order to give historical context to those special WBS moments.

1968

WBS

Wits Business School opens its doors. The first programme is a partnership with Stanford University: Executive Development Programme for Senior Managers.

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SOUTH AFRICA

The Prohibition of Mixed Marriage Bill is adopted.

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GLOBAL

Rev Martin Luther King is assassinated in Memphis.

1970

WBS

WBS buys Outeniqua House from Wits University. Lecture theatres, an administration block & a library are built.

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SOUTH AFRICA

The International Olympic Committee expels South Africa.

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GLOBAL

US President Nixon orders an invasion of Cambodia.

1971

WBS

Graduation of the first MBA class of 14 students.

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SOUTH AFRICA

Ahmed Timol, political activist dies in detention. Apartheid government claims “suicide”.

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GLOBAL

The world’s first microprocessor is launched.

1974

WBS

Wits creates a separate Faculty of Business Administration.

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SOUTH AFRICA

South Africa is suspended from the United Nations General Assembly.

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GLOBAL

Mohammed Ali defeats George Foreman in Kinshasa in what was called “the greatest sporting event of the 20th century”.

1980

WBS

MBA elective courses are introduced for the first time. 3 black MBA students registered.

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SOUTH AFRICA

Hundreds of school children arrested under the Riotous Assemblies Act.

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GLOBAL

John Lennon is shot dead in New York.
Robert Mugabe is elected Prime Minister of Zimbabwe.

1981

WBS

WBS has 48 full-time MBA students & 153 part-time students: Of the total, 10 are black, 6 are Asian & 29 are women.
The first black MBA student, Sam Molebatse, graduates.

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SOUTH AFRICA

Bishop Desmond Tutu is arrested & his passport confiscated.

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GLOBAL

The Centre for Disease Control & Prevention recognises AIDS for the first time.

1982

WBS

Constance Nkosi becomes the first black woman to receive an MBA.
WBS introduces first Certified Programme in Industrial Relations (CPIR).

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SOUTH AFRICA

Activist Ruth First is killed by a letter bomb in Mozambique.
Nelson Mandela is transferred from Robben Island to Pollsmoor Prison.

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GLOBAL

Times Magazine’s Man of the Year is given for the first time to a non-human, the computer.

1985

WBS

The first IT course, Advanced Information Systems, becomes part of the MBA.

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SOUTH AFRICA

PW Botha declares a state of emergency in South Africa, then delivers infamous ‘Rubicon’ speech.
COSATU is founded.

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GLOBAL

Microsoft introduces Windows.
The hole in the Ozone is first reported.
UK’s first cellular network is launched.

1987

WBS

A group of WBS alumni join lecturer Dr Frederick Van Zyl Slabbert & a delegation of 61 Business Leaders to meet underground members of the ANC headed by Thabo Mbeki in Dakar.

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SOUTH AFRICA

ANC headquarters in London bombed under orders from the SA government.

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GLOBAL

US President Reagan challenges Soviet President Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall.
Black Monday on Wall Street.

1993

WBS

WBS establishes new Graduate School of Public & Development Management (P&DM).
WBS runs a joint executive programme with the South African Police & uMkhonto we Sizwe.

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SOUTH AFRICA

Chris Hani is assassinated.
Multi-party talks resume at CODESA.
Nelson Mandela & FW de Klerk win the Nobel Peace Prize.
UN lifts sanctions against South Africa.
COSATU is founded.

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GLOBAL

European Union formally established.

1996

WBS

New MBA subjects include Labour Problems & Issues in African Management.

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SOUTH AFRICA

The new constitution is approved, guaranteeing equal rights for all races.
Truth & Reconciliation Commission begins.

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GLOBAL

Dolly the Sheep, the first mammal to be cloned, is born in Scotland.

2001

WBS

WBS & the P&DM are integrated into Wits University’s new Faculty of Commerce, Law & Management.

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SOUTH AFRICA

Aids activist Nkosi Johnson dies.
The UN World Conference against Racism, Xenophobia & Related Intolerance is held in Durban.

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GLOBAL

2,977 people killed in the September 11 attacks in America.

2003

WBS

The Higher Education Quality Committee re-accredits the WBS MBA programme.

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SOUTH AFRICA

The Truth & Reconciliation Commission releases its final report.
Anti-apartheid activist Walter Sisulu dies.

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GLOBAL

The Iraq War begins. US forces seize control of Baghdad; Saddam Hussein’s regime falls.
The acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) spreads to 32 countries around the world.

2007

WBS

Executive Education programmes are ranked No. 45 in the world by the Financial Times.

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SOUTH AFRICA

Jacob Zuma succeeds Thabo Mbeki as Leader of the ANC.

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GLOBAL

Steve Jobs unveils the Apple iPhone
Crisis in the mortgage market precipitates the Global Financial Crisis of 2008.

2012

WBS

WBS holds its first Careers Fair.

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SOUTH AFRICA

34 mineworkers killed & 78 left seriously injured by police at the Marikana massacre.

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GLOBAL

The European Organisation for Nuclear Research announces the discovery of a new particle after Large Hadron Collider experiments.

2015

WBS

WBS establishes the Chair in African Philanthropy, the first of its kind in Africa.

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SOUTH AFRICA

Homo naledi unveiled by Wits Professor Lee Berger.

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GLOBAL

Refugee crisis in Europe, mostly from war-torn Syria.
South African Comedian Trevor Noah succeeds Jon Stewart as host of the The Daily Show.

2016

WBS

WBS introduces a new MBA curriculum. First PDBA cohort.
BCX Chair in Digital Business is launched, another first for Africa.

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SOUTH AFRICA

South African sprinter Wayde van Niekerk wins gold, smashing the 400m world record at the Brazilian Olympics.

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GLOBAL

Britain votesto leave the European Union: “Brexit”.
Donald Trump wins the US presidency.

2017

WBS

WBS establishes the continent’s first African Energy Leadership Centre (AELC).

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SOUTH AFRICA

Severe drought in Western Cape.
Cyril Ramaphosa becomes President of the ANC.

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GLOBAL

North Korea conducts a number of nuclear tests.
The year of cryptocurrency, with Bitcoin’s value growing over 1000%.

2018