Prof Mamokgethi Phakeng, Vice Chancellor of the University of Cape Town and winner of the inaugural Africa Education Medal.
In September 2022, Prof Mamokgethi Phakeng was awarded the inaugural Africa Education Medal, awarded by T4 Education to “an outstanding individual who has demonstrated impact, leadership, and advocacy in the field of education”.
Hear the truly remarkable personal and professional story of Prof Mamokgethi Phakeng -- overcoming great adversity in poverty and South Africa’s apartheid, and reaching the pinncale of academia and becoming Vice Chancellor of the top university in Africa.
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About Prof Mamokgethi Phakeng
Prof Mamokgethi Phakeng began her term of office as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cape Town on 1 July 2018. She holds a PhD in Mathematics Education from the University of the Witwatersrand and is one of leading scholars in mathematics education globally.
She has over 80 research papers and five edited volumes published. She has been invited to deliver over 60 keynote/plenary talks at international conferences, and as a visiting professor in universities around the world.
Kgethi, as she is popularly known, has won numerous awards for her research and community work, including the Order of the Baobab (Silver) conferred on her by the President of South Africa in April 2016. In August 2014 CEO magazine named her the most influential woman academic in Africa, in 2020 she was included in Forbes’ inaugural list of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Africa. In September 2022 she was awarded the inaugural Africa Education Medal, awarded by T4 Education to “an outstanding individual who has demonstrated impact, leadership, and advocacy in the field of education”.
She has two honorary Doctorates: an Honorary Doctorate in Science conferred on her in July 2019 by the University of Bristol in recognition of her leadership role in mathematics education in South Africa and an honorary Doctorate in Education conferred on her by the University of Ottawa on 7th June this year for her inspiring leadership and passionate public advocacy for mathematics education that has had a catalytic effect in South Africa.
Kgethi is a fellow of The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) and the African Academy of Sciences (AAS). She is a philanthropist who in 2004 founded the Adopt-a-learner Foundation and since 2018 donates 20% of her monthly salary to a scholarship fund to support financially needy postgraduate women students at the University of Cape Town.