UJ appoints Dr. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka as its Chancellor

Date: Jan 11, 2022 |


The Council of the University of Johannesburg (UJ) is pleased to announce the appointment of former United Nations (UN) Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women, Dr. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, as its new Chancellor. Her five-year term of office will run from 1 October 2022 until 30 September 2027. She will succeed Professor Njabulo Ndebele, whose second five year term as Chancellor ends 30 September 2022.

Dr. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka was a member of the first South African democratically elected Parliament in 1994, first as deputy minister in the Department of Trade and Industry (1994 – 1996) and as minister of Minerals and Energy (1999 – 2005). She later became the Deputy President of South Africa (2005 – 2008), the highest-ranking female political leader in the history of the country.

Throughout her illustrious political career, Dr. Mlambo-Ngcuka directed her energy towards issues of human rights, equality and social justice, with a specific emphasis on gender and youth development. She has a track record of giving back to her communities, dating back to the pre-1994 years when she was a teacher and a lecturer. She continued in this vein when she moved to Geneva, where she took up the position of coordinator at the World YCWA, a grassroots-driven, global movement rooted in the leadership of women, young women, and girls. While in this role, she established a programme for young women (1984 – 1989), among other roles.

Dr. Mlambo-Ngcuka was appointed as the United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women in 2013. As the head of the United Nations entity that is dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women, she was a global advocate for women and girls. She led the organisation’s innovative work on transforming social inequalities and discriminatory norms, with initiatives such as the HeforShe movement (driving men and boys’ engagement in gender equality), the UnStereotype Alliance initiative (influencing advertising norms for positive change and equal representation) and helped countries to change hundreds of laws that discriminate against women and girls.

Dr. Mlambo-Ngcuka has also successfully mobilised a historic 40 billion USD in financial commitments from Member States, private sector, philanthropies and civil society as well as young people, which have formed Generational Equality to drive transformative change for women and girls around the world. She continues to be engaged and affiliated with organisations committed to education, women empowerment and gender equality. Such affiliations include the Umlambo Foundation (Founder), the Global Partnership and Fund to End Violence Against Children (BoardMember), African Leadership Academy (Member of the Advisory Board) and the Mandela Rhodes Foundation (Board of Trustees).

Details of Dr. Mlambo-Ngcuka’s inauguration will be announced later. Says UJ Registrar, Professor Kinta Burger: “UJ’s approach to impact reflects the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – something that Dr. Mlambo-Ngcuka, in her capacity as UN Executive Director of UN Women, has cherished and led. Indeed, she embodies all the UJ values and aspirations, values, where equality, diversity and inclusivity have been part of the University’s success story.”

The Chair of UJ Council, Mr. Mike Teke, says: “The position of Chancellor at UJ demands a person of stature, exemplary moral and ethical values, someone who will not shy away from addressing some of our greatest challenges and someone who will speak for those who often have no voice in society. Such a person is indeed Dr. Mlambo-Ngcuka. She is a distinguished person with a demonstrable record of excellence, leadership for the betterment of society, and service to her community. We look forward to her contribution towards our vision: An international University of choice, anchored in Africa, dynamically shaping the future”.

Mr. Teke also paid tribute to the outgoing Chancellor, Prof Ndebele. “Prof Njabulo Ndebele has immensely contributed to UJ’s strategic direction and its growth as an important player in the higher education sector, both locally and internationally.”

Professor Tshilidzi Marwala, the UJ Vice-Chancellor and Principal, is also pleased with Dr. Mlambo-Ngcuka’s appointment. “As the first woman to hold the position of Deputy President in South Africa, Dr. Mlambo-Ngcuka provided political oversight to several programmes to combat poverty and bring advantages of a growing economy to the poor. In doing so, she embraced the technologies that the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) provides, using ICTs for development. She would, therefore, be a most excellent ambassador for UJ’s approach for social justice and 4IR.”

About Dr. Mlambo-Ngcuka

Dr Mlambo-Ngcuka was born in 1955 in Claremont, KwaZulu-Natal. After matriculating from the Ohlange High School in Inanda, and in pursuit of scholarly excellence, she enrolled for a Bachelor of Arts (in Social Sciences) at the National University in Lesotho (awarded in 1980), obtained a qualification in Gender Policy and Planning from the University College, London (in 1988), a Master’s degree in Philosophy from the University of Cape Town (2003), and a Doctorate in Engineering from Warwick University (awarded in 2013).

She has given back to her community, first as a lecturer at the Mpumalanga Teachers Training College (1980 to 1981) and subsequently as a teacher at the Ohlange High School (1981 to 1983). She then moved to Geneva and took up the position of coordinator at the World YWCA, where she established a global programme for young women (1984 to 1989). During this time she also spearheaded TEAM, a developmental organisation based in Cape Town which focussed on upskilling women in informal settlements, thereby promoting economic self-reliance.

As the first woman to hold the position of Deputy President, Dr. Mlambo-Ngcuka provided political oversight to several programmes to combat poverty and bring the advantages of a growing economy to the poor. In doing so, she embraced the technologies that the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) provides, using Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs: -the topic of her doctoral thesis) for development.

Despite an extraordinary workload, she continues to be affiliated with organisations devoted to education, women’s empowerment, and gender equity. These include the Umlambo Foundation (Founder), the Global Partnership and Fund to End Violence Against Children (Board Member), thePrincess Sabeeka Bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa Global Award for Women’s Empowerment (Member of the Jury), African Leadership Academy (Member of the Advisory Board), and the Mandela Rhodes Foundation (Board of Trustees).

She has authored several scholarly and other opinion pieces, including in the Harvard International Review. She has been awarded Honorary Doctorates from the Witwatersrand Technikon (in 2003), one of the precursor institutions of the University of Johannesburg (UJ), the University of the Western Cape (in 2007), Nelson Mandela University (in 2014), the University of Fort Hare (in 2016), Wits University (in 2019), and Rhodes University (in 2020).

She was inducted as a Hauser Leader at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership and awarded the Vanguard award by Howard University for Leadership and Activism in promoting human rights, equality and justice for women and girls across the globe.

ends

Phumzile Mlambo Ngcuka

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