UFH Dean, Prof Mzikazi Nduna named among M&G’s Power of Women 2022

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Prof Mzikazi Nduna, University of Fort Hare (UFH) Faculty of Health Sciences Dean has once again established herself as a force to be reckoned with, this after she was included in the 2022 Mail & Guardian (M&G) Power of Women in South Africa.

The M&G’s Power of Women is an annual showcase of the country’s women frontrunners. The initiative honours exemplary women by recognizing their professional achievements. After the nomination process, a rigorous interview and an examination of their profiles and online footprint, this year’s winners were announced on Friday the 26th of August 2022. The list included leading women such as Banyana Banyana Coach, Desiree Ellis and Prof Mamokgethi Phakeng, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cape Town.

According to the Mail & Guardian, the Powerful Women chosen this year are a niche selection of change-makers and industry influencers who have made a positive, notable impact in their respective sectors of academia, agriculture, business, communities, healthcare, mining, media/telecommunications and sports.

Prof Nduna clinched this well-deserved title under the ‘Healing Women’ category – which celebrates women who lead in the health sector.

Affectionately known as Prof Mzi, Prof Nduna is an esteemed South African academic with expansive experience as an educator, trainer, researcher, and advocate for sexual and reproductive justice who started her career as a high school teacher in 1995.

She is a professor in Public Health with research interests in sexual and reproductive health, gender and sexual identities, and father (dis)connections. Her research output includes 64 peer-reviewed journal articles, three books, four special issue journals, eight book chapters, and several research reports.

On Google Scholar, Prof Nduna has 6410 citations and an H-index of 30.

With a background in Psychology and a PhD in Public Health, her research transcends scientific disciplines. Her interest in understanding intersections of social, structural, environmental, and commercial determinants of health has led her to collaborate with scholars from different fields including law, commerce, humanities, and social sciences.

She is known for her ground-breaking research in the field of father (dis)connection where she investigates experiences of absent fathers.

In 2021, Prof Nduna was named one of eight experts from different African countries to serve on the Presidential Technical Reference Team for the Review of Gender Discriminatory Laws in Africa.  She was also a member of the national interim committee which worked on the very first Gender-based Violence and Femicide Strategic Plan for the county. 

Among a long list of her proudest achievements as an Academic, Prof Nduna counts her newly published text entitled: (un)Silence LGBTI Experiences and identities in Institutions of Higher Learning in South Africa which she co-edited with colleagues from the Universities of Botswana, Malawi, WITS and UNISA.

Commenting on this remarkable feat, Prof Nduna says the recognition by M&G is the pinnacle of her journey in the public health sector which started 25 years ago as Trainee Manager for an HIV/AIDS Training Project at the Mt Ayliff Hospital in the Eastern Cape.

“I am passionate about access and equity and this recognition is an affirmation of the good work that is being done by organisations and institutions that I have worked with in health training, research and advocacy.”

Prof Nduna continues to contribute immensely in the field of HIV/AIDS through her involvement at SafAIDS - a centre of excellence that promotes effective and ethical development responses to Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights, HIV (including PMTCT) and TB through advocacy, communication and social mobilisation and SiterLove - the oldest women-centered HIV and sexual & reproductive justice advocacy organization.

She also remains involved in advocacy for health equity through Tekano, an organisation that believes in a healthier and more equal South Africa.

“As the Dean of Health Sciences, my mission is to utilise my wealth of experience to further improve the quality of the faculty’s training programmes and build the capacity of the lecturing staff and also improve the graduateness of our students to contribute to the Eastern Cape workforce and beyond,” she said.