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Prof. Mamokgethi Phakeng | South Africa | Education & Compassion

Businesswoman & Tenth Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cape Town

Professor | Education | Keynote Speaker

Prof. Mamokgethi Phakeng's story is one of academic brilliance, social impact, and unwavering dedication to uplifting others. As the Tenth Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cape Town, she didn't just lead; she inspired transformation on a grand scale. Her journey to the pinnacle of academia was paved with remarkable achievements. With a PhD in Mathematics Education from Wits University, Mamokgethi emerged as one of the foremost scholars in her field globally. Her scholarly prowess was acknowledged through over 60 keynote talks at international conferences and prestigious appointments as a visiting professor at universities worldwide. But Mamokgethi's impact extended far beyond the ivory tower. Affectionately known as "Deputy Mother" by countless young people across Africa, she embodied the ethos of servant leadership and philanthropy. In 2004, she founded the Adopt-a-learner Foundation, providing vital support to South African students from underprivileged backgrounds to pursue higher education.

When Mamokgethi assumed office as Vice-Chancellor in 2018, she didn't seek pomp and ceremony. Instead, she directed resources toward paying off students' outstanding debts, demonstrating her commitment to accessible education. Moreover, she pledged a portion of her salary and speaking engagement earnings to scholarship funds, ensuring that financial barriers wouldn't hinder students' aspirations.

Under her leadership, the University of Cape Town soared to new heights, garnering recognition as the best in Africa across major global university rankings. Mamokgethi's tenure was marked by innovation, inclusivity, and a steadfast dedication to excellence.

Even after stepping down as Vice-Chancellor, Mamokgethi's influence reverberates through her various roles as a director, executive chairperson, and advisory council member across multiple organizations. Her impact on education, social change, and the empowerment of marginalized communities continues to inspire generations.

In recognition of her outstanding contributions, Mamokgethi has received numerous accolades, including honorary doctorates, prestigious awards, and inclusion in Forbes' list of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Africa. Her legacy serves as a beacon of hope and a testament to the transformative power of education and compassion.

Social Media Handles:

LinkedIn: Mamokgethi Phakeng

Instagram: @fabacademic


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