It was euphoric celebrations at the Durban ICC as the Durban University of Technology commemorated the inauguration of Professor Thandwa Mthembu as the University’s Vice-Chancellor and Principal during which guests, including high profile, congratulated him on his appointment, also pledging their support in his role as the University’s highest ranking officer.
Prof Mthembu, an accomplished and celebrated academic with a PhD in Mathematics, was appointed by the DUT Council as Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University as of 1 October 2016 on a five-year renewable term.
At the dinner held at the Durban ICC on Saturday, 18 March 2017, which had been preceded by the inauguration earlier at the Fred Crookes Sports Centre, DUT Steve Biko Campus, Prof Mthembu thanked guests who were in attendance, also paying tribute to his parents, paternal grandfather, siblings as well as his six daughters for their support throughout his illustrious career.
Prof Mthembu’s family and friends, DUT staff as well as high profile guests such as Lindiwe Sisulu, Human Settlements Minister; Judge Vuka Tshabalala, current DUT Chancellor; Frances Chisholm, U.S. Consul General in Durban; Wang Jianzhou, Chinese Consul General in Durban; Professor Ahmed Bawa, former DUT Vice-Chancellor and Principal and now Universities South Africa CEO and Ela Gandhi, social activist and former DUT Chancellor, were present to celebrate the prestigious.
“I am a product of a disciplinarian school principal father and a disciplinarian school teacher mother who always told me that it was my duty to look around and find something to do or fix,” said Prof Mthembu. “From then, I became pretty much a self-bureaucracy. I became self-controlled, requiring little or no external bureaucracy at all for tasks I had before me,” he reminisced.
Professor Sibusiso Moyo, Director for Research and Postgraduate Support and acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Engagement at DUT, congratulated Prof Mthembu on his inauguration, adding that she looked forward to his leadership. Zwakele Ngubane, Director of Convocation at DUT, said he wished Prof Mthembu wisdom, courage and strength as he came across as a man of integrity which, so said Ngubane, is what DUT needs. “He has the full support of the DUT staff. Personally, I support the Vice-Chancellor and we (DUT) will grow accustomed to his leadership style. I think there’s going to be a lot more achievements in terms of his objectives and I look forward to growing further under his leadership,” he said.
Also adding his congratulatory message was Dr Eddie Chaobo FU, DUT Confucius Institute Co-Dean, who said he looked forward to promoting and facilitating educational, cultural and academic exchanges between South Africa and Chinese universities through the existing partnership between DUT and the Confucius Institute.
DUT’s e-Skills CoLab Director and CCPE acting Director, Dr Colin Thakur, said, “DUT truly became African when a distinguished son of its soil took over as Vice-Chancellor and Principal. A new journey for this very fine institution begins and I am both humbled and ecstatic to be part of this journey. I was really proud to be part of this,” said Dr Thakur.
A portrait of himself (Prof Mthembu) drawn by the famous Nanda Soobben was presented to Prof Mthembu as a gift at the dinner.
– Waheeda Peters
Pictured: DUT Vice-Chancellor and Principal, during his address at the Durban ICC where a dinner was held to further commemorate his inauguration which had been held earlier in the evening (Saturday, 18 March 2017)