NWU pays tribute to outgoing chancellor

Issued by North West University
Johannesburg, Oct 3, 2019

It was a prestigious occasion when the North-West University (NWU) paid tribute to its outgoing chancellor, His Majesty Kgosi Leruo Molotlegi on Wednesday, 25 September 2019.

The university hosted a celebration and thank you dinner at the Emerald Hotel in Vanderbijlpark to acknowledge the involvement, guidance and support that Molotlegi has given to the institution during his term of 10 years.

Since his inauguration as chancellor in 2009, his relationship with the NWU evolved. From being a ceremonial office bearer - encompassing graduations in the main and representing the NWU to external audiences - it evolved to exploring and introducing collaborative projects in the furtherance of the interest of the NWU.

During the course of the celebration, several members of the NWU's high-level governance structure took to the podium to deliver personal tributes and dedications. These included messages from Dr Bismark Tyobeka (chairperson of the NWU Council), Prof Dan Kgwadi (vice-chancellor), Prof Linda du Plessis (deputy vice-chancellor for planning and campus operations in Vanderbijlpark), and the Student Representative Council chairperson, Heinz Schoeman-Struwig.

In his address, Molotlegi said that from being a student in the late 1980s, to taking up the role of chancellor, and now in his primary role as community leader, he has developed a contextual and holistic appreciation for higher education, and more so for the NWU.

This appreciation is particularly important to him since it bears testament to the critical role universities play within the national context.

Collaboration and transformation

He referred to the challenges facing higher education institutions and explained that in an effort to chart a way forward, issues such as historical legacy and the poor state of the South African schooling system need to be addressed as a national priority.

He also committed himself publically to accept his share in eradicating these pitfalls. "I hope to continue collaborating with the NWU - and other institutions of higher learning - beyond my tenure as chancellor. Together, we should join hands in bringing about the change that we want to see in our society," he said.

With regards to transformation, he added that given South Africa's education trajectory (based on current statistics and the mounting pressure on universities), he foresees a time when universities may also become a social resource.

"As I see it, a university that gears itself up in some way to address local challenges will be a wonderful boon to its country. On the contrary, a university merely focused on academic discourse is going to come under immense pressure in the foreseeable future."

In closing, he stated that when it comes to matters of proactive and innovative transformation, it is of cardinal importance to think beyond the narrow images of numbers and ledgers that the word has come to evoke in South African parlance.

"Let us rather think of how we can maximise the learning and growth potential of transformative engagements with communities of practice within and beyond our campuses. This is important because the greatest asset of the 21st century is the minds of our young people and we must ensure that they are experts in flexibility, self-awareness, adaptability and respect for the diversity of ways in which knowledge can be experienced and applied."

* The NWU Council appointed His Majesty Kgosi Leruo Molotlegi as the second chancellor of the NWU in June 2009, and he was reinstated for a second term in 2014. He has been the leader of the 150 000-strong Royal Bafokeng Nation in Phokeng in the North-West Province since 2000. He is the 36th king of the Bafokeng and the 15th direct descendant in a long lineage of Bafokeng kings.