NWU alumna appointed UCT vice-chancellor

Prof Mamokgethi Phakeng, an alumna of the North-West University (NWU), has been appointed as the new vice-chancellor of the University of Cape Town (UCT).

Prof Phakeng obtained a BSc degree from the former University of Bophuthatswana (now the NWU) in 1987, where she was the only female student in her final-year mathematics class.

She went on to receive an MSc at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits). In June 2002, Prof Phakeng became the first black South African woman to obtain a PhD in mathematics education, also from Wits.

Prof Phakeng joined UCT as a full professor of mathematics education in July 2016 and was appointed as the deputy vice-chancellor for research and internationalisation in January 2017. Previously, she also held the position of vice-principal responsible for research and innovation at Unisa.

Her long list of achievements include being the first South African black researcher to be appointed to co-chair a study commissioned by the International Commission on Mathematical Instruction in 2008.

On receiving the news of her appointment, Prof Phakeng shared with a national radio station that she looks forward to working with the management of UCT. “I am committed to the vision that was approved by Senate and Council last year to ensure that the university is inclusive, engaged and unapologetically African.”.

Prof Phakeng is expected to begin her duties as vice-chancellor on 1 July 2018.