I have had limited engagements with the current Vice-Chancellor, Professor Njabulo S Ndebele, having served with him at Council and Senate. Most of them have mainly been at key university ceremonies and high-profile events of that nature.
My opinion of the current vice-chancellor is that he has undoubtedly proven himself as an intellectual and a man of stature and profile. His major successes lie mostly around fund-raising and establishing a strong senior leadership group. Though I believe that he is a good, gentle and courteous man who led with humility, it is also my belief that he could have played a more instrumental role in advancing the transformation agenda at the institution. He could have played a more instrumental role in leading discourse on transformation on campus and providing the political direction and political authority needed to entrench it. His role was mostly that of facilitating discourse on transformation and creating the space for discourse, which, too, is commendable.
What we need right now is a vice-chancellor with overt leadership, who will provide political direction on issues of transformation, leading the discourse on transformation at the institution. One who is politically astute, who can effect change not only within the institution but also in the politically-contested terrain of higher education. One who will sympathise with student issues, and create the space necessary to dealing with student issues. Most importantly, one who will bring back the African in this 'world-class African institution', and re-position the institution to address regional, national and continental challenges and provide solutions for these. This is how UCT will find legitimacy, not only nationally, but how it also will achieve international acclaim.
I believe that Dr Max Price has this vision for the institution, and also a proven track record to realise it, having demonstrated his commitment towards advancing transformation, collective freedoms and human rights within our democracy. We wish him all the best for his tenure as vice-chancellor.
In closing on this issue, I'd like to extend warm words of gratitude to Professor Ndebele for his sterling contribution, and we wish him success for all future endeavours.
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