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Vice-Chancellor Message – 12 May 2023

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Dear UJ Community,

With a sense of nervous excitement, I accepted to be Acting Vice-Chancellor and Principal this week while Professor Letlhokwa Mpedi is away on a working trip in Cairo, Egypt. He is representing UJ at the International Association of University Presidents (IAUP) 2023 Semi-Annual Meeting. The IAUP is a global network of university leaders and institutions dedicated to improving the world through higher education, so its importance cannot be underestimated. The theme for the 2023 IUAP is Transforming Global Higher Education through Quality, Innovation and Inclusion. Prof Ylva Rodny-Gumede, Senior Director for the Division for Internationalisation, is accompanying Prof Mpedi.

I gracefully accepted the responsibility to be the Acting Vice-Chancellor as I understand the importance of shared leadership, especially in a dynamic institution such as UJ. To borrow from our Chief Operations Officer (COO), Dr Mpoti Ralephata, who recently stood in for Prof Mpedi, it is indeed a pleasure working with ‘a diverse group of people who are driven by the desire to exceed expectations, and in an environment where each voice is heard and valued.’

Governor of the Reserve Bank charms UJ

As an institution of higher learning, we are committed to providing platforms for robust discussions on current and complex issues affecting the country and the nation. I had the pleasure of giving the opening remarks earlier this week when the Governor of the Reserve Bank, Mr Lesetja Kganyago, delivered a Special Distinguished Lecture under the topic, Challenges facing the global economy: A South African perspective. The event was organised by the College of Business and Economics (CBE) and the School of Public Management, Governance and Public Policy (SPMGPP).

The Governor shared his insights on the global economic crisis from a South African perspective, as well as the impact of the ongoing energy crisis on the economy and how this affects ordinary people. It was encouraging to see our students participating in the discussion and asking questions that show their deep understanding of the prevailing economic challenges. Congratulations to everyone involved in organising such a successful event, well done! To read more about the lecture, click here.

Honorary Doctorate conferral

On Tuesday this week, our University welcomed Sir Hillary Beckles, the Vice-Chancellor of The University of the West Indies, into our esteemed group of luminaries. We conferred an Honorary Doctorate on him for his outstanding performance as an academic, visionary, and student of reparatory justice, a matter that has inspired many across the world. Sir Hillary Beckles demonstrated what it means to be a public intellectual and a community-engaged historian imagining futures; akin to UJ’s vision. To read more on this, click here.

UJ Professorship

Also on the same day, we had the pleasure of welcoming Innocent Musonda, the Director of the Centre of Applied Research and Innovation in the Built Environment (CARINBE), Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment (FEBE), to the UJ professoriate. During his professorial inauguration lecture, he focused on the construction industry transformation, especially in this fourth industrial revolution (4IR) era. Welcome Professor Musonda, we look forward to many more valuable contributions from you! You may read and watch a video stream of the inauguration here.

UJ bags USSA Athletics Championship

It is with immense pride that I congratulate the UJ Sport Athletics Club on being crowned champions of the 2023 University Sports South Africa (USSA) this past Saturday, 6 May 2023, in Bloemfontein. Our team collected 350 points ahead of the runners-up; scooping 29 medals; 14 gold, 10 silver and 5 bronze. Congratulations to the Orange Army, the technical team, senior management and support staff. Click here to read more about this.

High Tea with the VC

Lastly, and on behalf of Prof Mpedi, I remind you that the next hybrid VC Book Discussion, or High Tea with the VC as it is known, will be this coming week on Friday, 19 May 2023, at the usual time of 14:00 (CAT). As communicated last week, the book for discussion will be Never Too Young to Lead: A Call for the Youth to Rise by Mr Lebogang Isaac Maile, a South African politician and the MEC for Human Settlements and Infrastructure Development in Gauteng. Mr Maile will join the discussion as a special guest. For in person attendance, we will again meet at the Chinua Achebe Auditorium, Level 6, Auckland Park Kingsway (APK) Campus. For virtual attendance, please click here.

Kea leboha, ngiyabonga, baie dankie, thank you!

Ms Nolwazi Mamorare: Acting Vice-Chancellor and Principal

Times mentioned in this newsletter refer to the South African time-zone.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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