Mlambo-Ngcuka tipped for NMU

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka
Picture: Veli Nhlapo © Sowetan

Chancellor news celebrated on social media as leap for transformation – but no official word yet

It is a triple dose of woman power for Nelson Mandela University, with former deputy president and executive director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, tipped to take over as chancellor. While the university has not yet formally announced Mlambo-Ngcuka’s appointment, social media has been abuzz with the news following a council meeting on Wednesday where it is widely believed a vote for MlamboNgcuka was taken.

The news is being welcomed as a big step towards transformation at NMU.

Coming on the back of Sibongile Muthwa’s appointment as the new vice-chancellor and Nozipho JanuaryBardil being announced as the chairwoman of council, the news had many celebrating.

Sociology master’s student Pedro Mzileni showed his delight when he tweeted about Mlambo-Ngcuka, adding a heart and a peace sign to his upbeat message of congratulations.

But as the news was celebrated, the university held its cards close to its chest, with spokeswoman Zandile Mbabela saying: “The process of finalising the appointment of the new Nelson Mandela University chancellor to replace Ms Santie Botha has not yet been concluded.”

Yesterday, Mzileni, 25, said: “It is a historic decision.”

Mzileni said he believed the appointment of a black woman sent a message that the university was moving in the right direction when it came to transformation.

“She is an international, widely respected [person], one of the few remaining towers of leadership and ethics that we as a country have to offer the world,” he said.

Replying to Mzileni’s tweet, Lusindiso Holiday said: “Yhaaasssss! I love this woman. Represent, mama. Represent.”

Samela Pantshwa tweeted: “This is the woman who deserves to be the first female president of the country.”

Philela Singama reacted by saying “talking about real radical transformation”. Mvuyisi Nomadwayi said his alma mater was setting the pace.

Mlambo-Ngcuka, 62, was deputy president from 2005 to 2008.

She completed a master’s degree in philosophy from the University of Cape Town in 2003, which dealt with educational planning and policy, before going on, in 2013, to earn a doctorate in technology and education from the University of Warwick.

In 2014, NMU conferred an honorary philosophy doctorate on her, citing her contribution to society through her pioneering work to create better opportunities for women to participate in the typically male-dominated fields of energy and mining.

At the time, Mlambo-Ngcuka said education was “the closest thing to a silver bullet to fight the many challenges the world faces”.

Mlambo-Ngcuka would take over from Botha, 48, an independent nonexecutive director of Tiger Brands and Imperial Holdings and non-executive chairwoman of Curro Holdings.

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