FABIans took a break from their research activities and dressed up to attend the annual Year End Function hosted at the Future Africa Campus on 18 November. This year’s event was the first unrestricted ‘in-person’ YEF since 2019. The guest speaker was Christo van der Rheede, Executive Director of AgriSA. The YEF is also an opportunity to reflect on the past year’s achievements and hand out the annual FABI Awards. These awards recognise and celebrate the achievements of FABIans and others towards the achievement of the goals of the Institute.

Professor Irene Barnes presented numerous awards with the most anticipated one being the FABIan of the Year Award that went to PhD candidate Elisa Pal. Other award winners included Award Recognizing Contributions by a Person External to the Institute: Dr Ronald Heath (Forestry South Africa) and the Award Recognizing Contributions by a University of Pretoria Staff member to Prof. Anton Ströh, the former Vice Principal: Research, Postgraduate Studies, Institutional Planning Monitoring and Evaluation who retired from UP at the end of September this year. The Mentorship Award went to Dee Twiddy and Christoff Joubert, Best FABI MSc Student: Shae Swanepoel, Best Student Publication: Bertus van Heerden, Best PostDoc Publication: Dr Jane Chepsergon and the Best FABI PostDoc: Dr Dawit Kindanemariam. Creativity is celebrated in FABI and the Photographic Award ‘FABIans at Work’ was awarded to Dr Ariska van der Nest and the Photographic Award ‘FABI Research’ to Elisa Pal while Prof. Diana Six, Claudette Dewing and Shivan Bezuidenhout were all awarded Creative Arts Awards. The Public Relations Award “Getting the Message to the Public” went to the FABI Social Media Team comprising Tania Pogue, Lente van Zyl, Ofentse Mathibela, Willem van der Westhuizen, Vinolia Danki and Samkelisiwe Thango. All FABI MSC Cum Laude Achievers were also recognised including Nokwanda Dlamini, Alicia Fick, Granny Hlongwane, Robert Jansen van Vuuren, Leandri Klynsmith, Christopher Liakos, Annerie Lotter, Aaron Maringa, Mabodiba Maake, Uyabonga Memela, Trystan Nadasen, Doreen Raseala, Cassandra Schoeman, Medha Sood, Shae Swanepoel, Dr Zorada Swart, Thavar Terriann, Lente van Zyl and Raven Wienk.

Other special guests at the YEF included the 15 postgrad students and academics that had participated in a three-week long workshop. In closing, Prof. Slippers thanked the FABI Social Club, under the leadership of Dr Gerda Fourie and Leandri Klynsmith for their hard work to make the event a resounding success.