The aroma of ting ya mabele lingers in the air. The traditional Tswana fermented sorghum porridge is a morning signature dish in the stately kitchen of Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng (55). She cooks it every morning before going off to lead Africa’s most prestigious institution of higher education.
Since taking the reins at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in 2018, Phakeng has remained her authentic self, while working tirelessly to ensure that the institution is not an ivory tower disconnected from reality. When in Cape Town, Phakeng calls Glenara, home. This is a Victorian double-storey house that is owned by the university and situated in the leafy suburb of Rondebosch.