19 June 2018

South Africa: UCT's New Vice-Chancellor Mamokgethi Phakeng On Transitions, Transformation and Twitter


Come 1 July 2018, the University of Cape Town will have a new vice-chancellor. Professor Phakeng takes over from Dr Max Price at one of the most challenging periods in the institution's history, following recent years roiled by student protests and fierce debates over transformation. But when Prof Phakeng sat down with Daily Maverick for a recent interview, she came across as a woman with a clear vision of what her role should be.

Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng is in a slightly awkward position. The 51-year old is not yet the vice-chancellor of UCT, but since her appointment was announced in March she has increasingly been thrust into the public eye as if she was. Interview requests have been coming thick and fast: finding time to sit down with Daily Maverick required an acrobatic juggling of her schedule.

"Transition periods are not easy," Phakeng admits.

"In my case, I'm doing many transitions. I'm transitioning out of a job, because I'm appointed from inside. I'm transitioning...

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