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Unisa Principal and Vice-Chancellor

Curriculum Vitae of Professor Mandla S Makhanya 

Prof Makhanya was born in Durban and started his schooling at Sinamuva Catholic School in Tongaat. He then moved to Mshwathi Memorial School where he completed his primary school education. Thereafter, he started his secondary school education at KwaMakhutha High School. Before he could complete his studies there, there were student uprisings which resulted in the suspension of all student leaders. He was one of the students suspended from school. The student leaders were reinstated, however, when they won a court case against their suspension. He then went to the University of Fort Hare, a period which was marked by numerous expulsions from the University. During those periods, he worked for a municipality.

On 1 January 2011, Prof Makhanya took up the position of Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of South Africa. Prior to this, he held the positions of Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the University of South Africa (from 1 January 2008 to 31 December 2010), Executive Dean of the College of Human (from 2004 to 2007) and Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at the old Unisa. Before that, Prof Makhanya worked in the sales and marketing division of a multinational company until he was recruited to the lecturing staff at Unisa.

Prof Makhanya holds a BA and BA (Hons) in Sociology from the University of Fort Hare, a master's degree from the University of Natal and a DPhil from the University of Pretoria. In 2009, he completed the Advanced Management Program at the Harvard Business School. The University of Athabasca in Canada conferred an honorary doctorate on Prof Makhanya in recognition of his outstanding leadership at Unisa and his contribution as a distinguished scholar in distance education.

In addition to the above, Prof Makhanya is a Referee for the National Research Foundation (NRF): specialising in refereeing applications for funding, grants and postgraduate scholarships (Sociology, Development Studies, Business Administration and Social Work).

He is an external examiner for the University of Fort Hare, the University of North West and the University of Johannesburg.  He is also a trainer for trainers of adult basic education.

As a sociologist he is invited by the media to provide an analysis of various political and sociocultural issues.

Prof Makhanya publishes widely in accredited journals. His recent publication is entitled "The importance of basic education in the mitigation of HIV/AIDS among informal sector workers".

He also addresses a number of conferences on various topics. Organisationally he is a member of the following:

  • Council Member of the South African Sociological Association
  • Deputy President (1998-2000) of the South African Sociological Association
  • Member of the South African Sociological Association
  • Member of the International Association of Sociology

Besides his academic endeavours locally, Prof Makhanya engages in academic and higher education forums in South and Southern Africa, and internationally. In this regard, mention can be made of the role that he plays in Unesco and its activities. He is the deputy chair of the South African National Commission for Unesco, as well as chair of the Culture Sector of South African National Commission for Unesco.

On a more personal note, Prof Makhanya is a committed family man who enjoys spending time with his family and friends. He loves sport and he is a fan of soccer, rugby, karate and boxing.