Professor Thandwa Zizwe Mthembu is an experienced academic and leader who joined the Durban University of Technology Community in October 2016 as Vice-Chancellor and Principal. He has been in university leadership in South Africa for about 21 years.
Born in Hlazakazi in Nquthu and raised at Thalaneni in Nkandla, Professor Mthembu is a mathematician by profession. Born into a family of teachers he took education very seriously to the point that he completed his PhD in mathematics at the age of 28. He attended the University of Fort Hare where he did his BSc Hons in Mathematics, Vanderbilt University in the USA (MSc), and at the University of the Witwatersrand (PhD).
Prior to joining the DUT family, he served for almost 10 years as Vice-Chancellor and Principal of Central University of Technology (CUT) in the Free State. In addition, he has served in various executive positions such as being: Vice-Principal and Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Partnerships and Advancement at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg; Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Academic and Research at the then University of Durban-Westville now part of the University of KwaZulu Natal; and, Principal at the Welkom Campus of the then Vista University.
He has published mathematics papers in international journals. His research interests have broadened into higher education leadership and management, entrepreneurship education and other fields, in which he continues to publish.
He serves as Regional Chair: Central-Eastern-Southern Africa of the International Association of University Presidents. Professor Mthembu is also Chair of USAf since 2018 and Deputy Chair of Umgeni Water Board since 2019.