News & Events

Lekgotla cements Unisa’s vision for the future

Currently under way, the 2023 Annual Principal and Vice-Chancellor’s Lekgotla is taking place at the Maropeng Conference Centre on 14 and 15 March 2023.

The aim of the Lekgotla is to deliberate on the institution’s five key strategic pillars, which are aligned to the university’s 150th anniversary celebrations, encompassed by the 2023 theme Reclaiming Africa’s Intellectual Futures. The strategic pillars are:

  • Advancing technology, mediated quality learning, and teaching
  • Propelling research and innovation
  • Pivoting engaged scholarship and global impact
  • Strengthening student support services
  • Resourcing our futures

Prof Puleng LenkaBula

Cradle of Humankind’s symbolism resonates with Unisa’s mission

In her opening address, Professor Puleng LenkaBula, Principal and Vice-Chancellor (VC) of Unisa, began by saying that the institution has established itself as a centre of excellence not only in Africa, but in the world at large. She said it is important to celebrate the university’s remarkable 150-year milestone, a period during which it has shaped many leaders and pioneered open distance learning (ODL) in the world.

The VC also emphasised the significance of hosting the Lekgotla at the Maropeng Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site, known internationally as one of the most important fossil sites.  “We came here to the cradle, a place that bears testimony to how Africa has birthed the world’s humanity. So, it is not only in the caves but also in the paleontological resources where we find the innovation of humanity. The paleontological, scientific and other resources that we can view here resonate with our theme for this historical year, Reclaiming Africa’s Intellectual Futures. We are indeed doing exactly that as we reflect on this space.”

Key drivers as reflectors of intellectual futures for the university

The VC continued to motivate staff by pointing out that the university’s leadership design must be such that it not only teaches for the sake of teaching, but that it remains cognisant of and able to significantly alter its environment and community.

She said the world is experiencing polycrises such as energy shortages, which has a major impact in social and economic systems.

The VC lauded the university’s staff for their extensive inputs that resulted in an increase in the quality and quantity of research outputs, and the rise in researchers with National Research Foundation (NRF) ratings over the past two years. She noted the improvement in local and international rankings, including those associated with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). A case in point is the latest Webometrics world rankings, which saw Unisa advance ten positions globally. “This is testament to your hard work,” she said.

The VC also expressed her appreciation of the institution’s inventive aspects on research such as the African BioGenome Project hosted by the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences. She commented on improvements in the institution’s ICT systems and other operational support environments. “These are necessary to future-proof the university,” she said.

In conclusion, the VC thanked the college deans for ensuring that the success rates of students have improved. “The attrition rates, which in 2021 were at 40%, have gained a gradual decline of 9% and are now at 31%,” she said. This comment received a resounding round of applause. 

Day two of the Principal and Vice-Chancellor’s Lekgotla will take place on 15 March 2022



*By Godfrey Madibane, Acting Journalist, Department of Institutional Advancement

Publish date: 2023-03-15 00:00:00.0