THE COUNCIL of the University of Johannesburg (UJ) has approved the appointment of Professor Njabulo Ndebele as the University’s new Chancellor.
Ndebele, who is former vice-chancellor and principal of the University of Cape Town (UCT), takes over from businesswoman and entrepreneur Wendy Luhabe, who was appointed as the then new UJ’s first chancellor in 2006.
“In Prof Ndebele, we have found someone with exceptional leadership qualities and a demonstrated commitment to values such as equity, diversity, economic development and corporate citizenship that are so important to us,” said the chair of the UJ council, Professor Roy Marcus.
“We see him as a leader who will assist UJ in moving forward to the next plateau of excellence in teaching, research, community outreach and innovation. He is someone with proven success in bringing about partnerships with government and industry, and someone who can help further our standing as a premier African city university.”
As a prominent academic, Ndebele served as the vice-chancellor at UCT from June 2000 to June 2008. He also served as vice-chancellor of the University of the North (now merged into the University of Limpopo) from 1993 to 1998. He was previously vice-rector of the University of the Western Cape.
Earlier positions include chair of the SA Universities Vice-Chancellor’s Association (2002-2005); chair of the Department of African Literature at the University of the Witwatersrand and pro-vice-chancellor, dean and head of the English department at the National University of Lesotho.
Ndebele obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree cum laude in English and Philosophy from the University of Botswana, Lesotho, and Swaziland; a Master’s degree in English literature from Cambridge University, and a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Denver in the US. He has been awarded a number of honorary doctorates in Literature from universities in South Africa, the UK, the US, the Netherlands and Japan.
An established author, Ndebele’s works has been published in literary and scholarly journals and anthologies in South Africa, the US and Europe. His innovative novel, The Cry of Winnie Mandela, was published to critical acclaim. An earlier publication, Fools and Other Stories won the Noma Award, Africa’s highest literary award for the best book published on the continent in 1984. He is also known as a thoughtful commentator on a range of contemporary public issues in South Africa.
Ndebele has done public service in the areas of broadcasting policy, school curriculum, history, and more recently as chair of a government commission on the development and use of African languages as mediums of instruction in South African higher education.
UJ today celebrates Ndebele’s inauguration in the Auditorium, Kingsway Campus, from 5pm.