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Trio of formidable women take charge of Nelson Mandela University

Dr Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi and Professor Sibongile Muthwa have been installed as chancellor and vice-chancellor, respectively, of Nelson Mandela University. Their inauguration, to serve alongside chair of council Nozipho January-Bardill, means NMU has become the first university on the African continent with an all-woman executive leadership team.


A former Minister of Public Service and Minister of Welfare and Population Development, Dr Fraser-Moleketi most recently served as Special Envoy on Gender at the African Development Bank and was previously the Director of the United Nations Development Programme's Democratic Governance Group.

She has been an Independent Non-Executive Director of Standard Bank Group Limited and The Standard Bank of South Africa Limited since November 21, 2016. Dr Fraser-Moleketi holds a Masters Degree in Public Administration.

SIBONGILE MUTHWA Professor Muthwa holds a PhD from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, an MSc in Development Policy and Planning from London School of Economics and Political Science, a BA (SW) Honours (Wits), and BA in Social Work (Fort Hare). She has a distinguished career both in South Africa and the United Kingdom where she has worked in both the development and public sector institutions, as well as in academia. Between 2010 and 2017 she was the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Institutional Support, at Nelson Mandela University. Between 2004 and 2010 she served as Director General of the Eastern Cape Provincial Government. Before joining government, she was Director of the Fort Hare Institute of Government, University of Fort Hare for five years. In 2014 she was appointed as a Commissioner of the Financial and Fiscal Commission, and in July 2017 she was appointed as its Deputy Chairperson.


Ms January-Bardill serves on the Board of the newly formed UN Global Compact Local Network in South Africa, as well as on the boards of Credit Suisse Securities and Mercedes Benz South Africa, and as senior adviser to the United Nations Women’s Organisation and the United Nations Environment Programme.

She previously served as MTN's head of corporate affairs and spokesperson, and served on multiple boards of operations in the MTN Footprint.

She was the Ambassador of Switzerland, Lichtenstein and the Holy See (Vatican) and the Deputy Director of human capital management in the South African Department of Foreign Affairs (now DIRCO).

She has worked in leadership positions in a number of non-governmental organisations and recently completed 12 years of service on the United Nations Committee for the elimination of racial discrimination. She was also an interim Chief of Staff and Senior Strategic Adviser of UN Women. Sustainable development, ethical governance, human and women’s rights in business and social justice are of central interest to her work and life.

She has an MA in Applied Linguistics.

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