In selecting and appointing a new chancellor, Unisa carefully considered attributes and qualities that resonated with its vision and mission to become “the African university shaping futures in the service of humanity”. There was consensus in selecting His Excellency Dr Thabo Mvuyelwa Mbeki, an outstanding African intellectual giant and the most recognisable 21st century proponent of the African Renaissance, who is highly regarded internationally. He has been involved in various leadership roles in the anti-apartheid liberation struggle and post-apartheid nation-building programme for almost six decades. He continues to be involved in a range of conflict-resolution and development initiatives in Africa. Dr Mbeki was officially inaugurated as Chancellor on Monday 27 February 2017.
“As we welcome Former President Mbeki as our new Chancellor, we are excited about the value his stature and intellectual standing will add to our university at the time where the prospects of the Africa Rising Narrative seem to be realistic enough for the continent to claim its prominent place in the global community”, said Unisa Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Mandla Makhanya.
Dr Thabo Mvuyelwa Mbeki was born on June 18, 1942 in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. He joined the ANC Youth League in 1956 at the age of 13 and left South Africa for exile in 1962.
Dr Mbeki read Economics at Sussex University in England up to masters’ level. He has been a member of the ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) since 1975. He was appointed Deputy President of South Africa in 1994 and twice elected President in 1999 and 2004. On September 23, 2008, Mr. Mbeki resigned as President of South Africa after being asked to do so by the ANC NEC.
He is currently Chair of the AU High Level Implementation Panel for Sudan which is assisting the democratisation process in Sudan and the AU-UN High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Outflows from Africa.
Dr Mbeki has previously facilitated peace negotiations in various African countries, including Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Burundi, the Comoros, Côte d'Ivoire and the Democratic Republic of Congo. He is the patron of the Thabo Mbeki Foundation and Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute in partnership with the University of South Africa.
Dr Mbeki is married to Mrs Zanele Mbeki.