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Vice Chancellor News

VC's letter to the Masters and Doctoral graduates of 2020
Oct 29, 2020

Dear Rhodes University graduate,
On behalf of our Chancellor, Council and the entire Rhodes University community, I offer you our warmest and proud congratulations on graduating with a Masters or PhD degree from Rhodes University. Without hard work, perseverance and a dogged determination, you would not have reached this important milestone in your academic pursuits. Read More | Watch video

Jonas shares leadership vision
Oct 13, 2020 By Michelle Banda

Covid-19 has amplified disruption and accelerated corruption in South Africa, says politician and State Capture whistleblower Mcebisi Jonas. Mcebisi Hubert Jonas hails from Uitenhage in the Eastern Cape. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in History and Sociology from Vista University and a Higher Diploma in Education from Rhodes University. Jonas played key political leadership roles in the Eastern Cape, serving as a Finance MEC, Chief Executive Officer of the Eastern Cape Development Corporation of the Centre for Investment and Marketing, developing the investment promotion agenda for the province.

Jonas was speaking at the 6th Archbishop Thabo Makgoba Annual Lecture on Values Based Leadership. A question and answer session chaired by head of the Rhodes Business School Professor Owen Skae.

Since 2014, the Archbishop Thabo Makgoba Development Trust in partnership with Rhodes Business School invites notable public figures who have demonstrated that quality to speak at the University. Due to Covid-19 this year's lecture was delivered virtually. The webinar event was opened with a prayer from Archbishop Thabo Makgoba and a welcome message from Rhodes's Vice Chancellor, Dr Sizwe Mabizela.

Skae then announced the FNB Economics prize winners and the Responsible Leadership prize. Read More

VC's letter to the graduates of 2021
Apr 23, 2021

Dear Rhodes University graduand,
On behalf of our Chancellor, the University Council and the entire Rhodes University community, I offer our heartfelt congratulations to you on your graduation from our University. To attain a Rhodes University qualification is an exacting proposition in the best of times; and to earn one under the extraordinarily trying circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic must have taken something truly special. You've risen to the challenge with remarkable fortitude, resilience and determination. Hearty congratulations!

Read More » Watch video »

VC's letter to the Masters and Doctoral graduates of 2020
Oct 29, 2020

Dear Rhodes University graduate,
On behalf of our Chancellor, Council and the entire Rhodes University community, I offer you our warmest and proud congratulations on graduating with a Masters or PhD degree from Rhodes University. Without hard work, perseverance and a dogged determination, you would not have reached this important milestone in your academic pursuits.

Read More » Watch video »

COVID-19 Update
Apr 2020

Dear Rhodes University Alumni. I write to you in the midst of an extraordinary challenge and uncertainty as nations of the world battle the COVID-19 pandemic which is wreaking havoc in our society and beyond. Today is the nineteenth day of what was initially a 21-day nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Read More »

COVID - 19 Announcement
Mar 2020

In response to the global health emergency created by the rate of spread of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), on 15 March 2020, President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a National State of Disaster. He further announced stringent measures to curb the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande further issued a statement in line with the President's national announcement.

Read more »

Rhodes Graduation 2017.
April 2017

This past weekend saw six successful graduation ceremonies for 2017. A total of 2 464 students received their degrees and diplomas. Of these, 1328 (or 54%) were undergraduate Bachelor's degrees and 1 136 (or 46%) were postgraduate degrees and diplomas. Of the 1136 postgraduate students, 295 received their Masters degrees. Of the 2 464 graduates, 59% were women, and 21% were international students. This year we produces 88 PhD graduates, up from 67 of 2016. We celebrated a new record of 29 PhD degrees for the Faculty of Humanities, up from the previous record of 19 achieved last year. The Faculty of Science produced 38 PhD graduates, the Faculty of Commerce 6, the Faculty of Education 13, and the Faculty of Pharmacy 2.

Read Vice Changellor's Welcome Address (PDF)»

Read Post Graduate Celebration (PDF)»

University is under financial strain
Two communiqués were sent out to our Rhodes Community
April 2017

A Toplist was sent out from the Vice-Chancellor's Office to our Rhodes University staff yesterday explaining that the University is under financial strain due to the fact that over the past two years, the higher education sector in the country, generally, has been grappling with the serious impact of declining subsidies and a combination of other financial pressures.

Wage negotiations with organised labour at the University have deadlocked following a rejection by the unions of a 5 percent revised salary offer. The university accepts that 5% is a minimal increase but the offer reflects the current financial situation. The institution continues to engage in good faith and with complete transparency. A single percent increase in the remuneration bill is equivalent to R4 million. The current offer thus translates into an additional R20 million in salaries.

In order to remain viable, the University has to realise savings of just under R10 million in the 2017 financial year and an additional R28 million in 2018. The management of the University has been working on a turn-around plan and Council further engaged with the proposals at its recent meeting. The University community has been invited to continue to be part of the processes to place the institution on a healthier financial footing through creative suggestions.

Vice-Chancellor's Circular 5th April 2017 (Download PDF)

University's Statement on Planned Protest, 07 April 2017 (Download PDF)

Letter from the Vice-Chancellor.
September 2016

We thought it would be appropriate that we inform you of the developments on our campus. Just like all university campuses in our country, our University has experienced disruptions in its academic activities.
Read more (PDF)»

Letter from Dr Mabizela to Students and Staff of Rhodes University.
September 2016

Since the start of disruptions of the academic activities of our University on Tuesday, 22 September 2016, I have received numerous e-mail messages from students, academic and support staff and parents who are anxious and concerned about events on campus.
Read more (PDF)»

Rhodes University’s response to the Minister of Higher Education & Training’s statement on university tuition fee adjustments for 2017.
September 2016

Rhodes University notes and welcomes the Minister's recommendations regarding university tuition fee adjustments for 2017. We particularly welcome Government's commitment to assist students who come from poor and working class families and those who come from mid-level income families. This will bring much-needed relief on these categories of students. It is important that those who can afford to pay their fees do so. Our Council will consider the Minister's recommendations in the preparation and approval of the University budget for 2017.

We note with concern that the chronic underfunding of our higher education system over many years has placed it in jeopardy. Over the past few months our public universities have had heightened anxiety on the approach that would need to be adopted on 2017 tuition fee adjustments to safeguard the sustainability of these universities. We urge all role players in higher education, including students, academic and support staff, management, the private sector and the Government to bring together their collective wisdom to help South Africa find affordable and sustainable funding mechanisms for our public higher education system.

In light of the assertion of Section 29 (1)(b) of our Constitution that: “Everyone has a right to tertiary education which the state, through reasonable measures, must make progressively available and accessible[1]”, there is an urgent need to produce an intermediate and medium-term funding plan, with timelines, and framed within the overall objective of reducing the burden of university tuition fees on students and parents while ensuring the financial sustainability of our universities. Such a plan will provide direction and certainty regarding the future of our public higher education system.

Our university remains committed to working with Government and all other role players in ensuring that we continue to offer a quality education to our students within a financially sustainable framework, while ensuring that academically deserving students are not excluded for financial reasons.

Mr Vuyo Kahla
Chairperson of Council
Rhodes University
Dr Sizwe Mabizela
Rhodes University

Letter from Dr Mabizela to Staff of Rhodes University.
July 2016

Over the past two weeks print and electronic media have reported on what has been characterised as a ‘financial crisis at Rhodes’. I thought it would be appropriate that I contextualise the recent reportage on Rhodes University. Some of it has sought to sensationalise rather than inform and educate our public on the challenges faced by our higher education institutions.
Read more (PDF)»

Dr. Sizwe Mabizela A letter from Vice-Chancellor, Dr Sizwe Mabizela, to apprise you of the events on our campus over the past few weeks.
May 2016

Download Communique »

Update On The Broader Issues Of Transformation At Rhodes University, Including The Future Of The Name Of The University
July 2015

Dr. Sizwe Mabizela

The University’s process with regards to broader transformation at Rhodes, including the future of the name of our University, is progressing with a sense of urgency. A sub-committee was appointed by the Institutional Forum to draw up the terms of reference for a task team that would be appointed by Council. It was agreed by the Institutional Forum that members of the task team should have impeccable credentials and command respect from all stakeholders, so that the outcome of the process can be beyond reproach. The sub-committee have met on four occasions, namely 1 June, 17 June, 19 June and 23 July. Due to the SRC member being a student, meetings could not be held during the examination and vacation periods. The terms of reference drafted by the sub-committee will be presented to the Institutional Forum for approval. These will then be presented to Council, the ultimate decision making body of the University. The Task Team will then be appointed by the University Council to canvass the views of all University constituencies including students, academic staff, support and administrative staff, Senate, Alumni, Convocation, Board of Governors and the greater Grahamstown community. The Task Team would report to the Institutional Forum and its findings would be debated and discussed by the Institutional Forum which would then draw up recommendations for consideration by Council. It is important to note that in terms of Section 65 of the Higher Education Act, the final decision regarding a change of name of a public institution of higher learning rests with its Council, and subject to the approval of the Minister.

Kind regards
Dr Sizwe Mabizela
Vice-Chancellor, Rhodes University

The notice from Council: Update on the future of the name of Rhodes University and institutional transformation.
Issue 11, May 2015

The Rhodes University Council wishes to update the University community on recent developments regarding the issue of the name of the University and broader institutional transformation Read more»

Dr. Sizwe Mabizela Vice-chancellor's welcome address to 2015 graduation ceremonies
Issue 15, April 2015

Download newsletter »

Rhodes University to celebrate the inauguration of Dr Sizwe Mabizela

Dr. Sizwe Mabizela The first black African Vice-Chancellor of the 110-year-old institution, Dr Sizwe Mabizela will outline his vision during the inauguration ceremony at the 1820 Settler’s National Monument on Friday, 27 February 2015.
Commenting about being the first black African Vice-Chancellor at Rhodes University, Dr Mabizela said: "I don't want us to be hung up on this. For me it is whether the university has identified a suitable and competent person to serve as its Vice-Chancellor and provide leadership for the institution at this time. Read more »

Donor Digest, A quarterly newsletter of the Rhodes University Development Division
Issue 3, October 2014

Dr. Sizwe Mabizela In this edition we introduce our new Vice-Chancellor, Dr Sizwe Mabizela. Dr Mabizela has been at Rhodes University since 2004 when he took up the appointment of Head of Dept: Mathematics. He was appointed Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic in 2008 and Acting VC earlier this year. We congratulate Dr Mabizela on his appointment and look forward to working with him. Download newsletter »

Message by Mr Vuyo D. Kahla, Chairman of the Council of Rhodes University on the appointment of Dr. Sizwe Mabizela as the 6th Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Rhodes University

I have great pleasure in announcing that on 8 October 2014, the Council of Rhodes University unanimously approved the appointment of Dr. Sizwe Mabizela as the 6th Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Rhodes University with effect from 1 November 2014. This appointment is for a period of seven years and may be extended for a further term determined by the Council of the University at its discretion. Read More »

Announcement By The Vice-Chancellor, Dr Saleem Badat, On His Decision to Step Down As Vice-Chancellor Of Rhodes University And Depart Rhodes Later This Year

I wish to announce that I have advised the Chairperson of the Rhodes University Council, Judge Jos Jones, and our Chancellor, Justice Lex Mpati, of my decision to step down as Vice-Chancellor and depart Rhodes later this year. The precise date of my departure will be announced in due course, following discussion with the University Council... Read More...

The Vice-Chancellor's Report 2013: Responding to core social challenges
By Dr Saleem Badat

As a University our work is informed by the reality that, despite some economic and social gains, post-1994 South Africa remains one of the world's most unequal societies. The divisions of race, class, gender and geography and the privileges and disadvantage associated with these are still all too evident – including in the town in which Rhodes University is located. An understanding of these core social challenges informs our overall social and educational goals and objectives.. Read More...

Interview with Dr Saleem Badat

Dr Saleem Badat is the vice-chancellor of Rhodes University. He gives from his own pocket so that more young people can get a tertiary education.

In 1999, he was the first CEO of the Council on Higher Education, which advises the South African minister of education on higher education policy issues. His passion for education, particularly at tertiary level, was forged during a decade at the University of the Western Cape and he has built on that throughout his life. Read More...

Announcement of Rhodes University Chancellor

Following an extensive process of nominations and deliberations, and with the approval of the University Council, it is a great pleasure to announce the Honourable Justice Lex Mpati as the new Chancellor of Rhodes University.

Judge Mpati is President of the Supreme Court of Appeal, a post he has held since 2008 when he became the first Rhodes Law alumnus to be so appointed. As such, he is the third most senior judicial person in South Africa (after the Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court). He was elevated to the Bench in 1997, and has been a Judge of Appeal since 2000. Read More...

Rhodes Vice Chancellor To Air Views On South Africa During Sabbatical In USA

Dr. Saleem Badat, the Vice Chancellor of Rhodes University and a recognized authority on higher education policy issues in South Africa, is visiting the USA from June through to September 2012. Based at the University of California in Berkeley, he will spend a short sabbatical completing his latest book The Forgotten People: Political Banishments under Apartheid. Dr. Badat will also spend time in Los Angeles, Seattle, New York and Toronto, Canada. Read about Dr.Badat views on the following topics:


"First and foremost, I wish to congratulate you, our new graduates, on your tremendous achievement. To be awarded a degree, diploma or certificate from Rhodes University entails dedicated endeavour. When you joined us you were told that at Rhodes learning and education is a partnership of mutual commitment to the pursuit of knowledge and understanding, to the development of expertise and skills, and to the embrace of appropriate values and attitudes."
Read More...(PDF)
Read Guest Speaker's Speech...(PDF)

Rhodes University: Board of Trustees Update for 2011.

It appears to have been an exceptionally busy year for our alma mater. This report is an update that was prepared for our recent Trustee meeting by Vice Chancellor, Saleem Badat. You will see from this that our University continues to grow both in pure numbers as well as stature. Download full text

Millions to be spent at Rhodes: Rhodes University had Exciting Plans for 2012.

In an hour-long briefing, Rhodes vice-chancellor Dr Saleem Badat yesterday revealed South Africa's smallest university would again be punching well above its weight after raising millions for new academic and infrastructure projects. Badat said 2012 would be a "big year" for the humanities department at Rhodes. Badat explained that: The university had been awarded a R12.5-million renewable grant from a "wonderful alumnus" for a centre on leadership and ethics in humanities which would "cultivate and promote the idea of service and leadership" Read More...(PDF)

Vice-Chancellor's Report: Rhodes: 2010 and Beyond

In the annual Vice-Chancellor’s report, Dr Saleem Badat shares the University’s recent achievements and its vision for 2010 and the years ahead

Our students have returned from the summer holidays and the campus is once again abuzz with their energy, chatter and laughter. Our returners are joined by some 1,600 new first years, excited and impressed by what they see around them – welcoming and friendly staff, lovely old buildings, impressive facilities, comfortable residences, picturesque gardens and lawns and a quaint town. Read More...(PDF)

The Vice-Chancellor's Graduation Address 2009

In his graduation address the Vice-Chancellor recognised the tremendous achievements of the graduates and spoke about the challenges ahead in these "interesting times" as well as the Global Crisis.  He reminded graduates of their responsibilities as graduates of a very special and distinctive university. A university that deservedly commands an enviable academic reputation; a university that seeks to be an institution 'Where leaders learn', a university that seeks to be true to its motto: 'Vis, Virtus, Veritas - 'Strength, Virtue, Truth'. Full Speach

Vice-Chancellor's Report: Rhodes: 2008/2009 and Beyond

Another year has passed and this issue of Rhodos is an opportunity to share Rhodes’ recent and intended future development with alumni, staff, students and supporters of the University.

Rhodes is committed to proactively shaping its future in accordance with its understanding of the institutional vision and goals of a university. This is in contrast to simply being carried by current and popular notions of higher education which, while perhaps well-meaning, could denude universities of their core values, purposes and roles. Read More...(PDF)

Vice-Chancellor's Report 2008
New Foundations for the Future by Dr Saleem Badat

The past year at Rhodes has been evenful in many respects and this issue of Rhodos is a welcome opportunity to reflect on recent developments and also to share the emerging trajectory of Rhodes in the coming years.

Overall, the building blocks to reinvent ourselves in critical areas have begun to be put in place so as to ensure that in the decades to come Rhodes will not only remain a distinctive and pre-eminent University, but also one that discharges constitutional obligations and engages with socio-economic challenges. The changes have occured and are in train are a necessary condition of securing a dynamic and sustainable future for the University. Read More...(PDF)

The Future Direction of Rhodes University by Saleem Badat, Vice Chancellor

The University has spent the better part of the last year reviewing its goals, structures and future strategies. This period of introspection has tested our role and anticipated contribution in both a national and local context and has resulted in greater clarity in terms of important issues such as size and shape, the infrastructural needs required to support this future size and shape, as well as the challenges and opportunities which will affect our ability to reach our goals. Read More...

A Further Open Circular to the Alumni of Rhodes University regarding the new City Press article of 25 November 2007

Dear Old Rhodians

Some of you will have noted the new article ‘Rhodes university lecturer in racism row insists she was fired’ carried on page 2 of the City press of 25 November 2007. Below is a further letter to the Editor of the City Press.

I am issuing is as a further circular as I am not certain that the City Press will necessarily carry it although a request will be made.

The new article reinforces my view that an apology is due to Rhodes University and a separate letter to that effect will be sent to the City Press. In this letter, I indicate that the University hopes that the City Press ‘will gracefully acknowledge the failure of your reporter to verify basic and essential facts and to contact the University for comment and that this matter can be resolved without the necessity of any recourse to the Press Ombudsman’. Read More... (PDF)

Open Circular to Alumni of Rhodes University Regarding City Press Article ‘University Race Row Heats Up’
22 November 2007

Dear Old Rhodians

Some of our alumni have rightly expressed consternation at the recent article in the City Press (19 November 2007) titled ‘University race row heats up’.

I have requested of the City Press the opportunity to reply to the allegations and claims made in the article, and I trust that such an opportunity will be provided.

Notwithstanding this, it is necessary to speak directly to our alumni regarding the claims made in the article. Read More... (PDF)

27 September 2006
The Vice-Chancellor's Inauguration

Dr Saleem Badat was officially inaugurated as the new Vice- Chancellor and Principal of Rhodes University on 27 September 2006. Present at this event was the Department of Education Minister, Naledi Pandor, Western Cape Premier, Ebrahim Rasool, Grahamstown mayor His Worship Phumelelo Kate, Rhodes University Chancellor, Professor Jakes Gerwel, a number of Vice- Chancellors from other universities, Rhodes University staff members and students.

Dr Badat expressed his commitment to Rhodes University and outlined his vision to meet the challenges of Higher Education in South Africa. He also launched the Jakes Gerwel Rhodes University Scholarship Fund, which will provide financial assistance to five needy students of the Eastern Cape per year. Dr Badat himself will contribute R200 000 per annum - taken directly from his salary package - to the Fund. Read the full story »



Manager of Alumni Relations at Rhodes University.

How is Rhodes handling and prioritizing the growing number of financial aid requests from students?

  • Sound academic performance
  • Proven financial need
  • Willingness to make a minimal financial commitment to the University to pay fees
  • Mostly South African citizens
  • Signing of the acknowledgement of debt in instances where the family is unable to settle fees in full by the end of the academic year. This is done to ensure that academically sound students are permitted to progress to the next academic level so that the University is able to collect the funds once they have graduated and secured permanent employment.

Download full interview PDF

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