University of Zululand under new management

2010-01-20 00:00

LISTEN to the university community and its vital stakeholders, and create a space that allows for reflection, relaxation and dialogue within the community.

That’s the approach the University of Zululand’s newest rector and vice-chancellor will take when she assumes the position at the beginning of next month.

Professor Fikile Mazibuko leaves the University of KwaZuluNatal where she served as the deputy vice-chancellor and the head of the College of Humanities, to take up her new post in Empangeni.

Answering questions put by The Witness, Mazibuko said she is committed to the development of higher education not only in South Africa, but also in the Southern African Development community and Africa as a whole.

“I understand the complexity of the challenges, the pathologies and the need to afford opportunities of learning and self-sufficiency to everyone, irrespective of … where they are.”

“My view is that, as South Africans, we are in a historic space where we have to build the nation through all sectors. Our national policies, plans, the demographic profile of South Africa, and the declarations we are signatories to, show that we have to provide qua­lity service and education to accomplish this.”

It won’t be the first time a wo­man is at the helm at the university. Mazibuko takes over from Professor Vuyiswa Gumbi, the first wo­man to hold this position.

Mazibuko believes there are still far too few women in positions of influence within higher education and the country in general.

When asked about the university’s notoriety for outbreaks of violence associated with the two big political student organisations, Mazibuko said student politics are part of university life.

“For me, the question should be whether student politics are informed by principles of democracy, transparency, managing contradictions and differences of opinion, and a general understanding of the provisions of the Constitution …”

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