Kupe was appointed as the new Vice-Chancellor and Principal during a meeting held yesterday.

In a statement released by the university, the appointment followed the resignation of the former Vice-Chancellor Professor Cheryl de la Rey, who is taking up the same position at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand.

“The appointment was made in terms of the procedure set out in the University’s Regulation and Procedure for the Appointment of the Vice-Chancellor and Principal. The process included, among other steps, presentations by the shortlisted candidates to a joint meeting of the Council, Senate and Institutional Forum, voting by the Senate and Institutional Forum on the suitability for appointment of the shortlisted candidates, and interviews with the six shortlisted candidates by the Joint Committee of Council,” the statement read.

Kupe is no stranger to leadership positions at a top university. He currently holds the Vice-Principal position at the University of the Witwatersrand. He is responsible for the institution’s daily running and the coordination of operations across all executive portfolios.

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“Prior to this appointment, he held the rotating Vice-Principal post for one year and also served as the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Advancement, Human Resources and Transformation from January 2013.”

The statement detailed his impressive résumé, which includes serving as an Executive Dean of the Wits faculty of humanities for six years after serving as the head of what was then known as the Wits School of Literature and Language Studies, and the founding Head of the Media Studies Department.

“Prior to joining Wits, Professor Kupe lectured at Rhodes University between 1999-2001, and briefly acted as the Head of the Department of Journalism and Media Studies. He joined Rhodes from the University of Zimbabwe, where he worked in various academic capacities from 1988, including as Chairperson of the Department of English, Media and Communication Studies.”

He holds a BA Honours degree and Masters in English from the University of Zimbabwe. he also has a DPhil in Media Studies from the University of Oslo in Norway.

In his statement of intent, Professor Kupe said, “Universities have a responsibility to develop educated, well-informed and professionally skilled people who can address local and global challenges and contribute towards creating successful and thriving societies. To be able to play these critically important roles, universities must enjoy academic freedom and institutional autonomy, allow for freedom of inquiry and be transparent, accountable and ethical in their practices in all respects.”

– University of Pretoria