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UKZN boasts youngest SARChI Chair in inclusive cities

Lecturer in the School of Built Environment and Development Studies, Professor Hangwelani Magidimisha-Chipungu (35), became the first SARChI Chair in Inclusive Cities in South Africa. The Chair is co-funded by the National Research Foundation (NRF) and South African Cities Network.

This is also the first Chair in the Built Environment Cluster at UKZN and speaks directly to the core courses in the Built Environment Cluster on cities. It provides a direct link between industry and academia while further creating a platform for funding opportunities for students from disadvantaged backgrounds to further their studies, for collaboration with various institutions from a range of disciplines and creating a future research centre that focuses on cities.

Magidimisha-Chipungu sees this as a platform of recognition as a SARChI Chair saying, 'This chair provides an opportunity to further deepen my knowledge on the cities studies. It serves as a motivation for other young academics with an appetite to be SARChI chairs. You do not have to wait until you are 50 or 60 years old to become a SARChI chair but you can be anything you want at any age as long as you put effort in what you do.'

Responding to the good news, the Dean and Head of the School, Professor Ernest Khalema said: 'I am very delighted and happy for Professor Magidimisga-Chipungu's accomplishment as SARCHI Chair. She is a fantastic scholar, hardworking Academic leader, and influencer of note within communities of practice. I am not surprised however because knowing and working with her for almost 10 years she has been incredible. Her accomplishment not only affirms the University's commitment to equity, but also assist us in realising two of our key research strategic areas of understanding 'African cities of the future' and 'fostering social cohesion'...Well done Mbokodo!'

She is an NRF-rated researcher and made history as the first black-female South African born to graduate with a PhD in Town and Regional Planning from UKZN. She is also the first black South African born women to be appointed Associate Professor in Town and Regional Planning at UKZN with a Masters in the same field and a degree in Geography and Environment - both from UKZN. In addition, she has a Diploma in Project Management from Roseburg College in Cape Town.

Magidimisha-Chipungu's awards include the 2018 Mail & Guardian top 200 Young Influential South Africans recognition, 2018 UKZN Best Young Academic, College of Humanities Teaching Excellence Award, International Society of City and Regional Planning Award of Excellence for the outstanding role she played during the Young Professional Planners' workshop and her participation in organizing the Congress in September 2016.

Her research and publications record spans the authoring and co-authoring of a number of book chapters and peer-reviewed journal articles, amounting to over 38 publications. She has recently published a book on Spatial Inequalities in South African Cities: Towards Redistributive Justice. She was awarded funding by NRF to undertake research on spatial inequality - a project she recently completed.

Magidimisha-Chipungu briefly served on the City Planning Commission for eThekwini Municipality with a strategic responsibility of advising the Executive Committee and Councilors' in the Municipality. She has served on the advisory committee of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA-KZN) with a focus on spatial equity in the province.

She is a Board member of SACPLAN - a national professional body that governs the teaching and practice of town planning in the country. As a professional town planner, she also served on KwaZulu-Natal Tribunal whose mandate was to resolve town planning disputes in the province.

Above all, Magidimisha-Chipungu is one of the few selected people invited to take part on the project on 24-hour City with the University of Politecnico di Milan DAStU - Department of Architecture and Urban Studies in Florence, Italy.

For more information please contact:Professor Hangwelani [email protected] 725 6674