Thabo Mbeki appointed as Unisa chancellor

Thabo Mbeki

Unisa has named former president Thabo Mbeki as its new chancellor, in a bid to reposition itself as an African university, it said on Thursday.

“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,” vice chancellor Professor Mandla Makhanya said in a statement.

Makhanya said in making the decision there had been consensus that Mbeki was “an outstanding African intellectual giant and the most recognisable 21st century proponent of the African Renaissance who is highly regarded internationally”.

The institution also acknowledged Mbeki’s role in the anti-apartheid liberation struggle and post-apartheid nation-building. It also factored in his current role in conflict-resolution and development initiatives on the continent, Makhanya said.

“He has even been utilised by the United Nations to look into illicit trade in Africa and examine ways of resolving this challenge.

“We have observed his consistency, passion and dedication in the educational and intellectual engagement programmes. This is in line with and helps to reinforce our academic and research project,” Makhanya said.

Unisa also aimed to become an intellectual home of African thought leadership. Mbeki’s appointment would give impetus to the institution’s partnership with the African Union Commission, to be a transformed African university and realise African Union Agenda 2063, Makhanya said.

The 2063 agenda was a global strategy by the AU to optimise use of the continent’s resources for the benefit of all Africans.

Mbeki takes over from Judge Bernard Ngoepe who stepped down earlier this week after 15 years of service.

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