UJ’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Letlhokwa George Mpedi, honoured as Chief in Ghana 

In a significant occasion that bridges continents and celebrates a deep commitment to education, research, and Pan-Africanism, Professor Letlhokwa George Mpedi, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Johannesburg (UJ), has been bestowed as a Chief in the Abeadze Kingdom in Ghana. His Royal Majesty Daasebre Kwebu Ewusi VII, the Paramount Chief of the Abeadze Kingdom bestowed this honour at a ceremony held on November 13, 2023, at UJ’s Art Centre in South Africa.

The coronation ceremony marks the beginning of a remarkable journey for Prof Mpedi. It signifies a remarkable milestone in his illustrious career and his deep-rooted connection to Ghana. The second leg of the coronation will take place during the annual Daasebre Kwebu Ewusi VII festival in Ghana, scheduled for August 2024. His Royal Majesty Daasebre Kwebu Ewusi VII, also known as the Omanhen (Overlord) of the Abeadze Traditional Kingdom, will preside over this momentous event.

Prof Mpedi’s coronation as a Chief in Ghana is a testament to his lifelong commitment to fostering growth and development across the African continent. “This installation is being conferred on Prof Mpedi to acknowledge his impactful contributions in the area of research, mentorship to young Ghanaian men and women who had the rare opportunity to learn and continue to learn under his tutelage, as well as progressive collaborations between institutions of higher learning in Ghana and South Africa, which has seen several Ghanaian men and women benefit from postgraduate education in law,” said His Royal Majesty Daasebre Kwebu Ewusi VII.

Professor Mpedi takes his oath of office during the coronation ceremony. Photo: Nokuthula Mbatha/University of Johannesburg 

Dedication to Ghana and Pan-Africanism

Throughout his distinguished career, Prof Mpedi has maintained a deep affection for Ghana, where he has been a visiting Professor at the Faculty of Law at Cape Coast University, authored a book on Labor Law in Ghana, and mentored numerous Ghanaian students. Furthermore, UJ’s dedication to African-centred education has led to partnerships with several Ghanaian institutions, resulting in meaningful research and academic exchange.

Commitment to Societal Impact

Prof Mpedi’s commitment to Pan-Africanism and societal impact is evident in UJ’s educational initiatives, where they have formed valuable partnerships with various Ghanaian institutions. These collaborations have paved the way for significant research and academic exchanges. Prof Mpedi stressed the importance of knowing who you are and what you stand for, echoing the words of the late Kofi Annan. This philosophy underlines the significance of making a positive societal impact and aligning one’s efforts with a greater purpose.

Responsibility as Chief

As Prof Mpedi steps into the role of Chief in the Abeadze Kingdom, he recognises the responsibility that comes with this honour. He is committed to uplifting, empowering, and making meaningful contributions to the communities he serves in Ghana and beyond. Guided by the principles of Pan-Africanism and a belief in our shared humanity that transcends borders, he is determined to contribute to the development of the African continent.

His Royal Majesty’s Recognition

His Royal Majesty Daasebre Kwebu Ewusi VII emphasised: “Today’s coronation is not just Professor Mpedi’s recognition, but also a celebration of shared values and common aspirations. We commend Prof Mpedi for his unwavering dedication to the betterment of our society and by extension the broader African continent.”

In a moment of reflection, Prof Mpedi extended his gratitude to His Royal Majesty Daasebre Kwebu Ewusi VII for bestowing this honour upon him and to the people of the Abeadze Kingdom for their unwavering support. With a sense of purpose and a deep commitment to the shared vision, he looks forward to exploring new avenues for societal impact in collaboration with all.

Alongside Prof. Mpedi, Refilwe Phaswana-Mafuya, Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health, and the Director of the South African Medical Research Council/UJ Pan African Centre for Epidemics Research (PACER) Extramural Unit, was honoured as the Queen of Research by the Abeadze Kingdom last year, emphasising UJ’s commitment to excellence and collaboration across disciplines.

(L-R): Chancellor of the University of Johannesburg Dr Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of UJ Professor Letlhokwa Mpedi, Queen Mother Obahemaa Kyeredeh Professor Refilwe Phaswana-Mafuya and His Majesty Daasebre Kwebu Ewusi VII. Photo: Nokuthula Mbatha/University of Johannesburg
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