Stay up to date!

UFS's new Chancellor, Prof Bonang Mohale, committed to the task ahead

By Igno van Niekerk

Prof Bonang Mohale

As UFS Chancellor, Prof Bonang Mohale is
committed to creating possibilities for students
to develop their full potential.

Photo: Supplied

The newly appointed Chancellor of the University of the Free State (UFS), Prof Bonang Mohale, is not only a gifted academic, but a renaissance person with a Da Vinci-esque array of hobbies and interests who combines purposeful living with an attitude of gratitude and generosity.

Prof Mohale, who still takes cold showers ever since 1984 when he learnt that there were no windows or hot water on Robben Island, adheres to the principles of servant leadership “in personal preparation for my imminent arrest”. A published struggle poet and author of the best-selling book, Lift as you rise, Prof Mohale is described by a reviewer as “a fearless and energetic leader whose compassion, humanity and eternal optimism promote hope and encourage action”.

Addressing unique challenges facing higher education in SA

Prof Mohale understands the relationship between what he calls the “quadruple helix of government, business, labour, and civil society” and how this helix should continue to co-operate in developing the requisite skills for our own new world and address the unique challenges facing higher education in South Africa. As Chancellor, Prof Mohale is committed to creating possibilities for students to develop their full potential. Something that he is superbly qualified for, if one considers the highlights of his career.

After matriculating from Katlehong High School, he completed his postgraduate executive education at Ito University, Japan, the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) in Lausanne, Switzerland, and Darden School of Leadership, Charlottesville, USA. He is currently a Professor of Practice in the Johannesburg Business School (JBS) College of Business and Economics. He also serves on the board of the University of the Witwatersrand Foundation, and has been appointed for his third three-year term as an honorary professor at the University of Pretoria, where he serves on their Advisory Council. 

Career highlights such as these must be backed by a strong support system and a balanced health regime, and Prof Mohale sees himself as the product of all the inputs he has “been blessed to receive”. There is, however, one person who stands out for her impact and support – his wife, Susan, who agreed to marry him when he was 17 years old and “has patiently moulded and made me the man that I am”.

Strong people always have their lives in order

What advice would this ‘well-moulded’ man share if he had only a few seconds to do so? “Strong people always have their lives in order. Even with tears in their eyes, they still manage to say, I am OK, with a smile. Every successful person has a painful story. Every painful story has a successful ending. Accept the pain and get ready for success.”

Prof Bonang Mohale: A gifted man who describes himself as an avid reader, regular jogger, useless golfer, and a keen chess player with an appreciation of live music performances, he believes that in order to have full appreciation for poverty, racism, sexism, men who are offenders in gender-based violence, men committing violence against children, men raping women and babies, toxic masculinity, and patriarchy, one must understand power dynamics! To understand power dynamics, one needs to listen to and believe the stories of the survivors and the powerless. His bone-deep belief that the secret of living is giving, is a true gift to the UFS, and, in his own words: “A gift is pure when it comes from the heart, to the right person, at the right time, expecting nothing in return.”

Ambassador Jabu Mbalula, from UFS to Romania

Dr van Staden
Digitisation of Teaching and Learning

Hope is a never-ending story

Science comes together against COVID-19

Our Campuses Video

We use cookies to make interactions with our websites and services easy and meaningful, to better understand how they are used and to tailor advertising. You can read more and make your cookie choices here. By continuing to use this site you are giving us your consent to do this.