First black woman to obtain full professorship in town and regional planning in SA

Professor Hangwelani Magidimisha-Chipungu. Picture supplied

Professor Hangwelani Magidimisha-Chipungu. Picture supplied

Published Aug 2, 2023


Durban – What a great way to mark the beginning of Women’s Month with a University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) academic who has become the first black woman to achieve full professorship in town and regional planning.

UKZN’s Professor Hangwelani Hope Magidimisha-Chipungu made history as the first black woman in South Africa to obtain full professorship in the discipline of town and regional planning.

Magidimisha-Chipungu, who has a passion for creating cities which are more inclusive, smart and resilient, is making great strides in her field.

As founder and chief editor of the Journal of Inclusive Cities and Built Environments, Magidimisha-Chipungu actively advocates for urban environments that cater to the diverse needs of their inhabitants.

“I share a vision with many to create positive urban transformation for the benefit of all people. I am an eternal optimist and believe that greatness can be achieved through hard work, dedication, and an unwavering commitment to creating positive change in our cities and societies,” Magidimisha-Chipungu said.

Some of her significant accomplishments include her appointments as the youngest SA Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI) chairperson for Inclusive Cities, alternate chair for the SA Council for Planners and a member of the eThekwini planning commission. She was also the first black woman in South Africa to hold a PhD in town and regional planning from UKZN.

Magidimisha-Chipungu also authored and co-authored a number of books and peer-reviewed many journal articles. Her most recent book is titled “The Anatomy of Inclusive Cities in Southern Africa.”

Reflecting on her journey to becoming a full professor, Magidimisha-Chipungu said that attaining the achievement demanded extensive training and unwavering commitment, years of dedication to academia, effective mentoring of students, imparting knowledge through teaching, engaging with the community, and establishing both national and international recognition.

She expressed gratitude to her family, UKZN, colleagues, friends, and students for supporting her throughout her academic journey and said she’s ready for the next phase of her career.

“I plan to spend the coming years trying to mentor more planners to become the best version of themselves, including becoming full professors,” Magidimisha-Chipungu said.

Professor Ernest Khalema, the UKZN dean and head of the School of Built Environment and Development Studies, congratulated Magidimisha-Chipungu.

“This promotion to full professor is testament to UKZN’s commitment to excellence through leadership. We are proud of Magidimisha-Chipungu, particularly her world record-breaking accomplishments, mentorship and tenacity to date. We look forward to increased trailblazing from the only female full professor in the field of town and regional planning in the nation,” Khalema said.

WhatsApp your views on this story at 071 485 7995.

Daily News