Loyiso Nongxa

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Loyiso Nongxa
Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of the Witwatersrand
In office
19 May 2003 – 1 June 2013[1]
Preceded by Norma Reid Birley
Succeeded by Adam Habib
Personal details
Born (1953-10-22) 22 October 1953 (age 63)
Indwe, Eastern Cape, South Africa

Buhle Nongxa

Mvikeli Nongxa
Alma mater University of Fort Hare, Oxford University
Profession Mathematician

Loyiso Nongxa is the former Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) in Johannesburg, South Africa.[2] Nongxa was installed as the first Black Vice-Chancellor of Wits by the University Council on 19 May 2003,[3] replacing Norma Reid Birley.[4] He is a qualified mathematician, and was previously the Dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences at the University of the Western Cape (UWC).[3] He was succeeded as Vice-Chancellor by Adam Habib on 1 June 2013.

Early life[edit]

Nongxa was born on 22 October 1953[5] 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.[6] 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.[6]

Academic career[edit]

Nongxa has lectured mathematics at UFH, the National University of Lesotho, the University of Natal and 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.[6]

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 Ried-Birley in November 2002, he became Acting Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University.[6] 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.[3][4]

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.He is currently the Chairperson of National Research Foundation of South Africa.[6]


  1. ^ Habib takes over at Wits, Mail & oGuardian, retrieved June 3rd, 2013.
  2. ^ Biography of Professor Loyiso G. Nongxa, from Wits University website, retrieved 2 January 2012
  3. ^ a b c Johannesburg News Agency, "New vice-chancellor for Wits", retrieved 2 January 2012
  4. ^ a b Johannesburg News Agency, "Wits to appoint new vice-chancellor", retrieved 2 January 2012
  5. ^ Mathematicians of the African Diaspora, retrieved 3 January 2012
  6. ^ a b c d e Southern African Regional Universities Association, WITS Vice Chancellor: Prof. Loyiso Nongxa, 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