Business leader and social activist would be a perfectly accurate if formal way to describe the new NWU chancellor. But when you meet Dr Anna Mokgokong in person, words such as engaging, stylish and confident also come to mind.
NWU welcomes influential business leader as chancellor
Dr Bismark Tyobeka, NWU Council chairperson, robes the new chancellor. He believes the inauguration of Dr Mokgokong as the first-ever female chancellor solidifies the NWU’s commitment to proactive transformation.
At the inauguration ceremony are from left Clement Manoko, executive director of corporate relations and marketing, Prof Dan Kgwadi, vice-chancellor, Dr Anna Mokgokong, the new NWU chancellor, Dr Bismark Tyobeka, Council chairperson, Prof Marlene Verhoef, NWU registrar, Prof Linda du Plessis, deputy vice-chancellor for strategic planning and campus operations in Vanderbijlpark, and Bert Sorgdrager, president of the Convocation.
Business in her blood, social justice in her heart
Dr Anna Mokgokong, who is at the helm of Community Investment Holdings (Pty) Ltd, of which she is also founding chairperson, is a true social activist and has made an immense contribution to the transformation of the companies on whose boards she serves.
She is a senior director of five companies listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and chairperson of three of those.
In addition to her extensive business knowledge and acclaim for her entrepreneurial ability, she has served as president of the South African Women Entrepreneurs Network (SA WEN) and in the International Women’s Forum of South Africa (IWFSA).
Dr Mokgokong was inducted into the Women Entrepreneurs of the World, an independent, international network of the world’s most powerful and successful entrepreneurs, in 1998.
Her other accolades include receiving the prestigious SA Businesswoman of the Year Award in 1999. In 2015, the Department of Trade and Industry, in partnership with Proudly South African and Brand South Africa, honoured Dr Mokgokong with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the South African Premier Business Award ceremony.
During her inauguration as the third chancellor of the NWU on 20 November at the Feather Hill venue in Potchefstroom, the atmosphere was alive with excitement and anticipation.
The evening did not disappoint. Elegant tableware shimmering in the candle light, combined with the aroma of good food and wine, captivated the senses.
Later, when the academic procession in their NWU regalia entered the venue, they added an extra touch of “ivy league” flair to the evening.
Be seen and be counted
Dr Mokgokong says she feels serving as chancellor is a calling.
“My mantra is: ‘Raise your hand, be seen and be counted.’ For me it is a calling for community service, to which I dedicate my life.”
She is thrilled about the next chapter in the history of the university. “I believe that service to the higher education sector of our country is a mammoth, noble task, and it is also a service of hope.
“I accepted this nomination being fully aware of the challenges faced not only by this institution, but also in higher education institutions both nationally and internationally.”
She believes social justice is about providing access to quality education as enshrined in the Constitution. “It is my express wish that, as an institution, the NWU will be regarded as proactive in setting an agenda for social causes, rather than being reactionary to the agenda set by social ills.”
First-ever female chancellor
Dr Bismark Tyobeka, NWU Council chairperson, says the inauguration of Dr Mokgokong as the first-ever female chancellor of the university further strengthens the university’s aspirations to be a bastion of equality.
He says it is clear from her impressive resumé and proven track record that her accomplishments speak of an unswerving commitment to excellence. “This resonates with the very core driving force of our institution.”
Dr Mokgokong follows in the illustrious footsteps of former NWU chancellors Kgosi Leruo Molotlegi, King of the Royal Bafokeng nation, and Dr Popo Molefe, former Premier of North West.
Dr Anna Mokgokong