- UCT VC Prof Mamokgethi Phakeng decided to forego a lavish inauguration party to save money
- The gesture saved the university R5million
- The money will now go towards paying for 100 students' debt
100 University of Cape Town students will have their debts paid thanks to the university's Vice-Chancellor Prof Mamokgethi Phakeng.
Earlier this year, Briefly.co.za reported that Prof Phakeng had decided to forego a lavish inauguration party when she was appointed Vice-Chancellor.
This gesture has reportedly saved the university about R5million, according to EWN. The funds will now be used to pay off the students' debt in the period between 2015 and 2017.
Speaking during an interview with Joanne Joseph on Radio 702, Prof Phakeng explained her decision:
I have checked the data from 2010 and we needed about R16 million to rescue all the students and it was not possible. I could raise R5 million.
I thought I can sleep better with myself if my entrance into office is done in a way that communicates who I am.
Think about it — if you are a mother and have children, you would not throw a party with one of your children's school fees not paid? It is a similar principle for me.
The 51-year-old renowned maths education academic said the decision reflects her values as a mother and African woman.
She added that decolonisation and transformation is not only about the curriculum or academic issues, but also human values.
Prof Phakeng hoped that the gesture would inspire students, academics, and everyone else to pay attention to these values.
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