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Head of Africa’s number one university visits USA

University of Cape Town (UCT) President, Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng, is set to visit New York, San Diego and San Francisco from 3-9 April 2022.

View the UCT Alumni events in the USA here.

Universities across the world are faced with rising tuition costs, the need to innovate fast to accommodate online learning and working environments, while also ensuring they are ranked highly and continue to attract students from across the world. UCT continues to be Africa’s number one university on all top five international rankings:

  • Times Higher Education, Quacquarelli Symonds, Center for World University Rankings,
  • Shanghai Ranking’s Academic Ranking of World Universi ties (ARWU) and US News & World
  • Report Best Global Universities Rankings.

“We are pleased to note that UCT continues doing well in the international arena while remaining the best in and for Africa,” said Phakeng.

The purpose of the visit is to connect with UCT alumni, donors and members of the USA philanthropic donor community. UCT currently has around 8 800 alumni in the USA and receives funding to the tune of around USD 6 million annually from the USA.

By invitation, Phakeng will also speak in San Diego at the ASU+GSV 13.0 Summit on 6 April.

She will avail herself for media engagements before and during her visit. In these engagements she will reflect on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on UCT, as well as the impact of the devastating fire on campus in April 2021. She will further provide an update on the rebuilding and re-imagining process under way and can talk to the following:

  • Running a university amidst COVID-19 and ensuring it remains Africa’s leading higher education institution.
  • Managing rising tuition fees while ensuring the university attracts students from across various backgrounds.
  • UCT’s future; what she brings as a leader of the continents’ top-ranked institution.
  • Research and innovation; strides made by UCT academics at the forefront of global
    COVID-19 vaccine research.
  • Transforming and decolonising university spaces.
  • The importance of maintaining alumni relations in the USA.


Professor Phakeng’s schedule is as follows:
San Francisco: 3-5 April 2022
San Diego: 6 April 2022
New York: 8 April 2022

Journalists or news anchors can conduct one-on-one live or pre-recorded interviews on an agreed upon platform on any of the above-listed themes.

About Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng

Mamokgethi Phakeng (55) is a South African professor of mathematics education with a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Pure Mathematics from the University of North West, and Masters degree in Mathematics Education from the University of the Witwatersrand. She obtained her PhD in Mathematics Education in 2002. In 2018 she became vice-chancellor (or president) of the University of Cape Town (UCT).

She first joined UCT as deputy vice-chancellor: research and internationalisation, in 2017. Prior to that she was the vice-principal of research and innovation at the University of South Africa (Unisa) and Executive Dean of the College of Science, Engineering and Technology at Unisa.

View Professor Mamokgethi Pakeng’s profile here.

About the University of Cape Town

UCT was founded in 1829 as the South African College. Today the university has a highly regarded triple-crown accredited (EQUIS, AMBA & AACSB) Graduate School of Business and six faculties:

  • Commerce
  • Engineering & the Built Environment
  • Law
  • Health Sciences
  • Humanities and Science.

UCT also has more than 80 specialist research units that provide supervision for postgraduate work and is home to more than a third of South Africa’s Arated researchers. Among its more than 100 000 alumni are the late Professor Christiaan Barnard, the world-renowned heart surgeon, and three Nobel laureates, Sir Aaron Klug, the late Professor Alan MacLeod Cormack and JM Coetzee.

Issued by the Development and Alumni Department, University of Cape Town

For media queries, please contact:
Elijah Moholola
Communication and Marketing Department
University of Cape Town
Tel: +27 21 650 5674
Cell: +27 83 981 7770

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