UFH Public Law Professor to join USAf’s prestigious Higher Education Women in Leadership Programme

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Prof Nomthandazo Ntlama-Makhanya, Public Law Professor and the Acting Deputy Dean of the University of Fort Hare’s Faculty of Law is among the leading South African women scholars selected to join the Universities South Africa (USAf) 2023 Women in Leadership (WiL) programme.

The women in Higher Education Leadership Programme (HELM) for academic and administrative middle managers aims to promote gender equity in leadership and create a pipeline for senior management and executive positions in universities and address leadership issues focusing on the development and advancement of women professionals in the sector while addressing issues of transformation.

The goal of the programme is to equip women leaders to impact the leadership context in collaborative ways and to advance engaged, collective and shared strategic objectives within their respective institutions and across the higher education sector. The six-month programme comprises several leadership and management sessions based on a training needs analysis, coaching and mentoring and a study gathering conducted in conjunction with colleagues from the Universities of Bath. 

For the Fort Hare community, Prof Ntlama-Makhanya’s selection comes as no surprise as she has established herself as a prolific academic who has excelled in her research area on Constitutional Law with a broader focus on Human Rights and Customary Law.

A C-3 National Research Foundation (NRF) rated researcher from Qaga village outside Qonce (King William’s Town), Prof Ntlama-Makhanya is a former Head of Research at the UFH Nelson R Mandela School of Law and also acted as Head and Chairholder of UNESCO ‘Oliver Tambo’ Chair of Human Rights at UFH.

She is the former Commissioner of the South African Judicial Services Commission (JSC) representing the Society of Law Teachers of Southern Africa and a member of the South African Electoral Court having acted as a Judge of the Divisions of the High Courts in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.

In 2022, she was received into Full Professorship on the delivery of her inaugural lecture in October and two months later she was bestowed with the Vice-Chancellor’s Research Award.

She is also a panel member of the Council on Higher Education National Doctoral Review Project.

Recently, Prof Ntlama-Makhanya was a guest panelist at the UNESCO Chairs Seminar and the Office of the High Commission on Human Rights Hernan Santa Cruz Dialogue themed: A solution in plain sight for a better world: a Human Rights Economy and delivered a paper titled: The universality of human rights on economic inequalities in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa.

Her academic achievements were recently highlighted during a radio interview hosted by Dr Amaleya Goneos-Malka on Channel Africa-DSTV 802 on Womanity-Women in Unity.

Commenting on her selection into the 2023 WiL programme, she said: “My appointment comes at an opportune moment that requires the sharpening of my already acquired attributes and skills in the advancement of my basic knowledge on leadership and administration that will have to translate into tangible results.”

Sharing her views on women leadership in the academic space, Prof Ntlama-Makhanya said: “Two decades after attaining democracy in South Africa, academia is still at the lowest level in pursuit of the vigorous empowerment of women and not just in leadership executive appointments.

“There are many factors that may be attributable to this. However, are fundamental changes that need to be taken by the academia and the global COVID-19 pandemic exposed the existing structural and substantive inequalities that deprived women of many opportunities that are available to them.  This is not a call for womanhood or victimhood but for the academia to develop innovative and structural programmes that will advance a representative academic environment.”

“The WIL-HELM programme is still a tip of an iceberg and still far from achieving its main goals and objectives in ensuring equity and inclusion within the higher education sector.”

As a participant in this prestigious programme, Prof Ntlama-Makhanya hopes to gain deeper insight into an effective system that will ensure accountable and transparent leadership in a diverse academic environment.  “It is my aspiration to be more than just an executive but to also develop and retain the new generation of women leaders in the academia.”