UKZN Celebrates 10 Years of Excellence

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Professor Malegapuru Makgoba delivers an
address at the 10th year anniversary
commemorative dinner held at the MH Joosub
Hall on the Westville campus.

The University of KwaZulu-Natal celebrated its 10 year Anniversary in style on Wednesday, October 29, with a commemorative dinner held at MH Joosub Hall, Westville campus.

‘As we close these 10 years, remember that all of you are part of the history of the university…we are the only successful merger, others have failed and one was disbanded,’ said UKZN Vice-Chancellor, Professor Malegapuru Makgoba during his reflections on the past ten years.

The event, directed by Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Law and Management Studies, Professor John Mubangizi, echoed on the University’s decade of achievements, hardships and playing a leading role in the higher education landscape.

The event also reflected on the solid foundations that have been laid to take the university to the next chapter.

During his keynote address, UKZN’s Founding Chair of Council and Alumnus, Dr Vincent Maphai commended the Vice Chancellor and his team for what they have achieved. ‘Walk tall, you produced an excellent University…take this moment and thrust us into the next decade.’

Maphai told the audience that the clear “unambiguous political” mandate they received from the then Minister of Education, Dr Kader Asmal was to “make the merger work”. Adding that the important principle of management is to give clear instructions of what you require and provide support.

He said from the time a person takes a life defining decision to the point of execution, the interim is a nightmare and Council had to take full control of the University to execute their mandate.

Maphai said the job of Council is simple but not easy. ‘The role of Council is to give direction, appoint executive management to execute duties, resource that management, and hold that management accountable.’

He said as Council, they lead by example, tightened succession issues which meant changing and reducing the term of council. ‘When your time comes, please go…please make sure this culture is rooted in the University.’

He said there was role clarity between council and management. He pleaded with Council not to spend one minute more than they are needed at the University, and to respect their role.

Maphai said the hands of Councillors should be clean of corruption and to have one aim – to serve the University. 

Reflecting on the merger, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Teaching and Learning, Professor Renuka Vithal said: ‘Our success and standing can be evaluated. I am proud to claim to be the legacy of this past decade…there is more work to be done, but we are well on our way.’

She said the achievements include the rise in the number of students graduating from UKZN, the increase in research produced by the University and the highest number of staff studying and graduating with PhD’s than before. Vithal added: ‘UKZN is truly a reflection of the new South Africa.’

Maphai commended the role played by UKZN’s first Chancellor Dr Frene Ginwala and what she taught him; and the quality of the Student Representative Council and Unions during the merger. He urged academics never to relent on the principle of excellence.

To distinguish themselves from other universities, Maphai requested UKZN to become number one in Research in his lifetime, to build a social identity of members and graduates of the University and to inform public policy and debate.

The event also saw the launch of the 10 year commemorative UKZNTOUCH 2014 publication.  UKZNTOUCH is the annual flagship publication of the University of KwaZulu-Natal aimed at its alumni, opinion makers, strategic partners and donors.

The 2014 edition of the magazine features the theme ‘Excellence through Transformation’ to commemorate 10 years of the merger. The articles feature ground-breaking research and teaching and learning initiatives, key partnerships, community engagement initiatives, and major infrastructure developments, prominent alumni profiles; major news announcements achieved over the past decade and include major milestones in a photographic timeline spread.

Other prominent guests included the EThekwini Municipality Mayor, Councillor James Nxumalo; UKZN’s Chair of Council, Mrs Phumla Mnganga; Former Chair of Council, Mr Mac Mia. Other attendees included Members of Council, Executive Management, Alumni, Student Representative Council, Staff and students.

Entertainment throughout the event was provided by Themi Venturas Productions, the Young Black Mambazo and the UKZN Jazz Band.