Former President of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki was inaugurated as the new Chancellor of The University of SouthAfrica(Unisa) last week Monday, February 27. Mbeki replaces Judge Bernard Ngoepe, who served as chancellor of Unisa for 15 years.
In a statement realised Unisa explained why Mbeki was chosen. “To sustain and consolidate this profile, the university had a rigorous process of selecting a new chancellor and there was consensus in selecting former president Thabo Mvuyelwa Mbeki, an outstanding African intellectual giant and the most recognisable 21st century proponent of the African Renaissance, who is highly regarded internationally.”
Mbeki was selected by the university in a bid to better the institution’s value as an African university and to give momentum to the university’s partnership to the African Union. “He has been involved in various leadership roles in the anti-apartheid liberation struggle and post-apartheid nation-building programme for almost six decades. He continues to be involved in a range of conflict-resolution and development initiatives in Africa.”
Unisa also identified Mbeki as an important man in the African Union and a good ambassador for the institution to have if they aim to become “the African university shaping futures in the service of humanity.”
Unisa has partnered with the Thabo Mbeki Foundation, which is one of their strategies to profile the university internationally and to enhance the institution’s standing globally. UNISA is also looking to become one of the keyrole players in the mission of the African Union Agenda 2063, and the appointment of Mbeki greatly assists this vision.
Unisa Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Mandla Makhanya expressed UNISA’s excitement about Mbeki as the new Chancellor. Prof. Makhanya said, “As we welcome Former President Mbeki as our new Chancellor, we are excited about the value his stature and intellectual standing will add to our university at the time where the prospects of the Africa Rising Narrative seem to be realistic enough for the continent to claim its prominent place in the global community.”
Written by Van Zyl Cronje