I am employed by Stellenbosch University‘s IT division as Director: Institutional Software Solutions, a new role as from January 2016. My role entails technical responsibility for the design, development, procurement and maintenance of institutional (large) software solutions and information systems.
I have led a sustainable IT initiative on campus in line with my convictions about sustainability and environmental protection. Those convictions were also responsible for me being a co-founder of ecoafrica.com – an inbound ecotourism website – way back in 1995 (other web properties included krugersafari.com, krugerpark.com and ecoAfrica’s Blog). Ecoafrica and the web properties were sold during and before 2009 and it has been sad to see some of them disappear recently.
I was a member of the Wildlife and Environment Society of SA for a number of years and as I entered what I call the “community phase” of life, I joined Jonkershoek Volunteer Wildfire Services (VWS) as a volunteer wildfire-fighter, but resigned after 5 years’ service. A lifelong love of hiking and mountains led me to (finally!) become a member of the Stellenbosch section of the Mountain Club of SA as well.
Originally I graduated with a degree in electronic engineering from Stellenbosch in 1979 and followed it up with an MBA in 1994. I am something of a permanent student, so in line with my “green” interests completed an MPhil in Environmental Management in 2004 and a BPhil in Renewable and Sustainable Energy at Stellenbosch’s Sustainability Institute in 2009. I believe that the twin challenges of our time are the depletion of our endowment of energy sources, mainly fossil fuel, and climate change.
I am married to Marion who hails from the Koo, and we have been blessed with two lovely daughters, Leigh and Heather. Leisure time is spent windsurfing, reading, travelling, sea kayaking and hiking. The university has generous leave conditions and I work hard at exploiting them optimally. Working myself to death is not an option. My motto for this phase of my life is: ¨Play hard, work smart¨.
My father, Felix Pina, is Dutch, from Wassenaar. He emigrated here with his parents and brothers after WWII and settled at Koelenhof near Stellenbosch. There was a romantic theory that we are the descendants of Sephardic Jews, but my brother’s recent research into the roots of the Pina family indicates that we descend from French Huguenots who fled to the Low Countries. My mom, Cynthia Pina (Visser), is a Capetonian through and through and I was born on the slopes of Table Mountain as well, but I now call Stellenbosch “home”.
I am a football fanatic. World Cup 2010 was an absolute highlight, a spectacular and uplifting experience. I played competitively for almost 30 years, and coached too. I have always followed Ajax Amsterdam, Oranje and FC Barcelona – it’s a football philosophy thing.
I would have loved to have been a virtuoso jazz pianist – or a rock star – but sadly the love of music was never matched by raw talent. So although I took piano lessons in my mid-thirties for three years, I ended up frustrating myself no end. There has been a recent, enjoyable re-acquaintance with the guitar, however.
Above Kasteelspoort, Table Mountain (photo by Peter Groves)
visited 29 states (12.8%)
With Clarissa, a fellow mega-hiker, and Patrick I once more headed for Helderberg's Dome. This autumn Saturday was hot and windless. On previous occasions over the years I have not climbed all the way to the top of The Dome and I was determined do it this time. But...read more
Plettenberg Bay: 17 & 19 December 2006: The Robberg peninsula is a nature reserve and marine protected area at the southern extremity of Plettenberg Bay, South Africa (the Eden to Addo Mega-hike jump-off point is close by). Humans have occupied the rocky...read more
After the Eden to Addo Mega-Hike, the participants were asked to reflect on the concept of "corridors", as Eden to Addo is a conservation corridor initiative. Here is my effort... If Earth is a self-regulating organism - Gaia to some - then ecosystems represent the...read more
400kms, 17 days, 6 mountain ranges, many rivers, numerous veld types: 11 - 27 August 2006 The first time I saw the phrase "Eden to Addo" it spoke to me. Then when I saw it juxtaposed with "mega-hike" the synapses fired in my brain. The concept was so evocative I had...read more