Ricochet News

New direction for NMU with three female leaders at the helm

By Afikile Lugunya - Apr 18, 2018
New direction for NMU with three female leaders at the helm

History was made on Tuesday when the Nelson Mandela University inaugurated three black women as Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor and Chair of the Council,  to steer the university, which carries the name of a global icon and former President, Nelson Mandela, into the future.

The institution formally renamed itself after Madiba in July last year.

Once again, it has made history by introducing the first black female Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sibongile Muthwa, and former Cabinet Minister, Dr Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi, as the Chancellor of the university.

Nozipho January-Bardill will also serve as the new Chair of Council, after accepting the post in October last year.

Madiba, who would have turned 100 years if he was still alive, would have been smiling and celebrating with the trio as he pronounced during the opening of South Africa’s first democratic parliament in 1994 that; “Freedom cannot be achieved unless women have been emancipated from all forms of oppression”.

January-Bardill described Dr Muthwa and Dr Fraser-Moleketi as distinctive leaders, who will take the university to new heights.

“Each one is a distinctive leader in her own right, with shining track records reflecting their respective contributions to the country and the continent-straddling a range of areas of expertise," she said.

“Putting this collective experience together to lead the university will surely see Mandela University catapult to new heights and take on new opportunities with innovation, perseverance, foresight and enthusiastic courage – and I dare say, with humility and a deep concern for the students and staff of this university."

Dr Muthwa graciously thanked the Council for entrusting her to lead University.

She added that she was “humbled” and  “the congratulatory messages following the announcement of my appointment were positive and overwhelming. I graciously thank you”.

Dr Muthwa also paid homage to her predecessors.

“I recognise the sterling work of my predecessors, Dr Rolf Stumpf and Professor Derrick Swartz, who worked hard to build strong foundations on which we are now able to grow. I can only pledge to lead with integrity to build on their work,” she added.

Dr Fraser-Moleketi highlighted that the world will this year be joining South Africa in celebrating 24 years of democracy.

“It is up to us to determine how high we will fly. Some turbulence will be unavoidable, but it cannot deter us from our path,” she said.

“So, humbled, inspired, accountable and once more: resolute… I am resolute in my conviction that this university – our university – will soar from its rock-solid foundations to become a giant African-based edifice of intellectual inquiry and advancement… a transdisciplinary centre of excellence."

Meanwhile, the Executive Mayor of the Nelson Mandela Bay, Athol Trollip, who was among the invited dignitaries, said that the city would work with the university to ensure that jobs are provided to graduate students.

Also speaking at the event, Director General of Higher Education and Training, Gwebinkundla Fellix Qonde, challenged the women to ensure stability in the university, which will ensure its success.

Eastern Cape, Phumulo Masualle, also congratulated them on their appointments.