Buhlungu will take over from Dr Mvuyo Tom from 1 February next year after a three-year tenure at UCT.

Before joining UCT, he was the deputy dean for postgraduate studies and ethics in the faculty of humanities at the University of Pretoria, where he also served as a professor of sociology.

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Commenting on his appointment, Buhlungu said he was looking forward to the challenge of running the illustrious institution of higher education that boasts the likes of the late former president Nelson Mandela, Chris Hani, Oliver Tambo and Wendy Luhabe among its notable alumni.

“Although it is with a heavy heart that I leave UCT, as I would have wished to still contribute more to the institution, I regard this move as a wonderful opportunity for me to form part of an institution that is of such great historical significance in the country,” he said.

Buhlungu holds a PhD in sociology and an MA in industrial sociology from Wits University.

In a note to UCT students and staff members Dr Max Price, the university’s vice chancellor, said, “We congratulate Prof Buhlungu on his appointment. While we are, of course, very sad to lose him, we share in his excitement ahead of this big step in his career and we have no doubt that he will continue soaring in his new role.”

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“Having led the faculty of humanities through what has been a tumultuous three years with diplomacy, political insight and academic innovation, it is no surprise that his leadership did not go unnoticed by the University of Fort Hare,” Price said.