By Socrates Mbamalu
Professor Loyiso Nongxa continues to set records. He has become the first African mathematician to be elected as the Vice President of the International Mathematical Union (IMU). He was also South Africa's First Black Vice Chancellor of the University of Witwatersrand.
Former Vice Chancellor of the University of Witwatersrand, Professor Loyiso Nongxa has become the first African mathematician to be elected as the Vice President of the International Mathematical Union (IMU). On May 16, 2003 Prof Nongxa became South Africa's first black Vice Chancellor at the University of Witwatersrand.
Prof Nongxa is well established in the academia has held leadership positions such as Chairperson of the National Research Foundation of South Africa, the Founding Director for Mathematical and Computational Sciences at the University of Witwatersrand among other senior positions.
Prof Nongxa, a PhD recipient from Oxford University was elected into the position at the IMU annual General meeting in Brazil. The IMU is an international non-governmental and non-profit scientific organisation with the purpose of promoting international cooperation in mathematics. The IMU also aims to encourage and support other international mathematical activities considered likely to contribute to the development of mathematical science in any of its aspects, pure, applied, or educational.
There are some things that you cannot 'nationalise' such as Mathematics or Science. Even in how you teach them. Photo: Global Giving
Prof Nongxa said, "Under bantu education the opportunities to study were limited. I never thought it would be possible for me to be a mathematician. One of the things I will be focusing on is the role of the IMU on the African continent and raising the profile of African mathematics. Right now I am developing different programs." He served as Vice Chancellor of University of Wits for 10 years.
He expressed his concern over the low numbers of students who pass pre-university mathematics, the shortage of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) students, especially black female representatives as well as teachers. One of his goals will be to strengthen university level mathematics.