It is nearly a decade (yikes!) since I returned to South Africa and there have been amazing changes in that time. We just had an astronomy town meeting as part of our first large decadal review process and it was wonderful to see the growth at all levels from graduate students to senior faculty. I don’t have concrete figures to back this up so I will just list the senior astronomy or cosmology faculty I can remember who have become formally linked to South African institutions in the last five or so years (in no particular order):
Roy Maartens, Sergio Colafrancesco, Tom Jarrett, Romeel Dave’, Martin Kunz, Jonathan Sievers, Matt Jarvis, David Gilbank, Claude Carignan, Markus Böttcher, Ted Williams (the new SAAO director) and Oleg Smirnov.
That is a serious amount of accretion in just a few years and allied with around 300 students, postdocs and junior faculty it has brought new capabilities to South Africa, especially in the fields of N-body simulations and radio & gamma-ray astronomy. With South Africa being awarded the majority of the SKA and the continuing funding woes in the first world, I suspect it is just the beginning.