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University to bid farewell to giant

Aug 11, 2016
University to bid farewell to giant

Friday 26 August will signal the end of an era for Walter Sisulu University (WSU) giant Prof Khaya Mfenyana as he officially bids farewell to the institution at a ceremony to be held at the Mthatha campus’s eNkululekweni Site.

The festivities are set to precede the University’s official inauguration of its Chancellor, Sheila Sisulu, and Vice-Chancellor Prof Rod Midgley, who’ll be formally inducted by Council chairperson Judge Nambitha Dambuza at the institution’s NMD Site in Mthatha on Saturday 27 August.

WSU staff, students, management, as we as counterparts, will be on hand to bear witness to the departing of a colossal figure that has dedicated more than 28 years of his life to the growth and development of the institution.

“Prof Mfenyana’s tenure spans close to three decades, many of which were spent in various roles in the health sciences faculty. As Interim Vice-Chancellor since February 2014, he has played a significant role in leading and guiding the institution towards its consolidation and stabilization,” said Vice-Chancellor Prof Midgley.   

Prof Mfenyana was the first Professor and Head of Department of Family Medicine at the then University of Transkei (now Walter Sisulu University) and Mthatha Hospital Complex from 1989 – 2005.

He has championed community-based education and social accountability at this institution and this has made WSU the first medical school in South Africa to introduce a curriculum that embraces problem-based learning and community-based education as the main learning strategies from first to final year.

Prof Mfenyana became the Acting Vice Chancellor & Principal of the former University of Transkei (Unitra) from May to September 2002, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the former Unitra at the beginning of 2005 and then served as Interim Vice Principal of Walter Sisulu University from July 2005 to December 2007. 

He was then appointed as the first Substantive Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at WSU in January 2008 to August 2012, when he was requested by the Administrator of the institution   to assist in the Office of the Vice-Chancellor, while not neglecting the Faculty of Health Sciences, especially on Professional, Provincial, National and International Health Issues.

Prof Mfenyana was further appointed as Interim Vice-Chancellor as from the 1st February 2014 to 31 July 2016 so as to deal with the transitional period of establishing a New Council, followed by a substantive Vice-Chancellor and Principal of Walter Sisulu University in the Post Administrator Period.

In 2011, he served as a member of the Ministerial Task Team that was appointed by the Minister of Health to advise on processes for establishing District Clinical Specialist Teams as part of re-engineering of primary health care system in South Africa.

He was further appointed by the Minister of Higher Education and Training in 2012 as a member of the Joint Technical Task Team to advise on processes for separating the Medunsa Campus from the University of Limpopo and establishing a New University incorporating the Medunsa Campus, now known as the Sefako Makgatho University.

Prof Mfenyana was part of the screening committee for the Discovery Foundation Awards in 2011/2012.

Prof Mfenyana has published in peer reviewed journals in South Africa and abroad.  He has also contributed a chapter in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd editions of the Handbook of Family Medicine in South Africa. He has also presented many papers at Conferences in South Africa and abroad.  Prof Mfenyana’s current research interest is in Community-Based Education and Service-Learning

Prof Mfenyana did a teacher’s diploma, followed by a BSc degree at Fort Hare between 1965 and 1970.  He did MBChB at the University of Natal, which he completed in 1977, and a Masters Degree in Family Medicine at Medunsa from 1980 to 1984.  He was awarded a Fellowship by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to do a Masters Degree in Educational Administration at Michigan State University in USA from 1994 – 1996.  He was further awarded a Fellowship of the College of Family Physicians of South Africa (FCFP) by peer review