Loyiso Nongxa

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Loyiso Nongxa
Mathematician and Former Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Witwatersrand
In office
19 May 2003 – 1 June 2013[1]
Preceded byNorma Reid Birley
Succeeded byAdam Habib
Personal details
Born (1953-10-22) 22 October 1953 (age 65)
Indwe, Eastern Cape, South Africa
Alma materUniversity of Fort Hare, Oxford University

Loyiso Nongxa is a South African mathematician, the current Chairperson of the National Research Foundation of South Africa (NRF) and a former Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg (Wits).[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Nongxa was born on 22 October 1953[3] in Indwe near Queenstown in what was then the Transkei. Both of his parents were qualified teachers, and his father was a school principal, although his mother remained at home to raise the family. Nongxa did well at school, and matriculated from Healdtown College with distinction as the top matric student in South Africa in 1972.[4] Nongxa was accepted at the University of Fort Hare (UFH) thereafter, and obtained a BSc (Hons) in 1976. While at UFH, he also played for the University's "Baa-bas" rugby team. After obtaining a MSc from UFH in 1978, he became South Africa's first Black Rhodes scholar, and he obtained a D.Phil from Oxford University in 1982.[4]

Academic career[edit]

Nongxa has lectured mathematics at UFH, the National University of Lesotho, the University of Natal and the University of the Western Cape (UWC). At UWC, he held the post of Professor of Mathematics, and he was later appointed Dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences. He had also been a visiting research scholar at the universities of Colorado, Harvard, Connecticut, Hawaii, and Baylor.[4]

He was appointed Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research at Wits in October 2000, and Vice-Principal in April 2002. Following the resignation of Professor Norma Reid Birley in November 2002, he became Acting Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University.[4] The University Council then shortlisted him as one of the possible candidates for the position of Vice-Chancellor, and on 19 May 2003 he was appointed Vice-Chancellor by the Council.[5][6] Nongxa was the first black Vice-Chancellor of Wits.[5] He was succeeded as Vice-Chancellor by Adam Habib on 1 June 2013.

Besides his positions at universities, Nongxa has also served as a member of the Rhodes Scholarship Selection Committee, the SAUVCA Research Committee and various National Research Foundation of South Africa committees. Since leaving Wits, he has taken up to post of Chairperson of the NRF.[4]

Nongxa was elected Vice-President of the International Mathematical Union in July 2018.


  1. ^ Habib takes over at Wits, Mail & Guardian, retrieved June 3rd, 2013.
  2. ^ Biography of Professor Loyiso G. Nongxa[permanent dead link], from Wits University website, retrieved 2 January 2012
  3. ^ Mathematicians of the African Diaspora, retrieved 3 January 2012
  4. ^ a b c d e Southern African Regional Universities Association, WITS Vice Chancellor: Prof. Loyiso Nongxa, retrieved 2 January 2012
  5. ^ a b Johannesburg News Agency, "New vice-chancellor for Wits", retrieved 2 January 2012
  6. ^ Johannesburg News Agency, "Wits to appoint new vice-chancellor", retrieved 2 January 2012
Academic offices
Preceded by
Norma Ried-Birley
Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Witwatersrand
2003 — 2013
Succeeded by
Adam Habib