South Africa: Professor Zeblon Vilakazi Dreams of an MIT-Styled Digital Technology Hub at Wits


Professor Zeblon Zenzele Vilakazi has big plans for Wits University during his tenure as vice-chancellor of Wits University but cautions that South Africa needs to strengthen other streams of post-school education besides universities.

When starting a new job, most people have the luxury of a few days, sometimes weeks to acclimatise to the role and the demands of their new responsibilities.

Professor Zeblon Vilakazi, the new Vice-Chancellor of Wits University, was not so lucky.

His baptism of fire into his new role began almost immediately when Wits had to postpone his official inauguration as the university's new head at the height of student protests in early March.

The inauguration of Wits Vice-Chancellor Professor Zeblon Vilakazi. (Photo: Wits University)

"The last four or five months I've been in office had (many) ups and downs," Vilakazi said in a video conference interview with Daily Maverick on Wednesday, 5 May.

Earlier in 2021, Wits University was at the centre of nationwide student protests that began in March against the financial exclusion of students with historical debt.

The scenes that unfolded at the university's Braamfontein campus bore a resemblance to the #FeesMustFall protests of 2015 t0 2017, except this time a man, Mthokozisi Ntumba,...

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