31 August 2021
I am extremely proud to have a stellar team by my side. Professor Shirley Sommers, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Teaching and Learning, Dr Loshni Govender, Executive Director: Human Resources, Professor Hilda Israel as the Dean for the Faculty of Education and Director of Research Professor Phindile Lukhele-Olurunju are among the women who  continue to put our institution on the map with their unwavering commitment towards making sure that UMP succeeds. 

Recently, honourable Justice Mandisa Maya succeeded His Excellency President Cyril Ramaphosa as the Chancellor of our institution. I am humbled and honoured to be working with and alongside such formidable women. May we lead the way and forge a better and more equal future for all. 

Though current research indicates that we are nowhere near where we should be in terms of gender equality and equity, let us celebrate our female leaders this month, and be proud that UMP is well on its way to making a difference and shaking things up. 

It is my hope that we can change that here from the ground up. That we will equip our female students with the necessary tools and ensure that the road ahead for them is much more manageable than it was for our generation and the generation before us. May they then in turn forge the way for the next generation after them. 

This month we are celebrating women and all the great strides we have made in doing our past to bring change to the fold. One story I enjoyed in particular, is of the Ndebele women who, although they have no formal education, are actually ethno mathematicians and use symmetrical geeometry in their artefacts. How magnificent is that? Read more about what our Heritage and Culture Lecturer, Ms Thulisile Bhuda found in her research to this discovery. 

I would like to applaud the UMP Gender Forum for their ongoing gender and LGBTQIA+ awareness campaigns, debates, discussions, and dialogues. This month the forum held the 4th annual creating safe spaces symposium with the purpose to educate and raise awareness around gender and LGBTQIA+. In doing so, the Forum strives to create safer spaces for the diverse student and staff population, in light of the ongoing scourge of gender-based violence in our country, including universities. 

Lastly, now that vaccinations are open for 18 – 34 year olds, may I implore you all to do the right thing and get your jab. We have information available for anyone who is still uncertain. In the meantime, please wear your masks, sanitize and keep your social distance. Let's keep each other healthy. 

Professor Thoko Mayekiso