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Wits maths fundi equates to global maths advocate

- Wits University

Former Wits Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Loyiso Nongxa has been elected as a Vice-President of the International Mathematical Union (IMU).

The acclaimed maths fundi was elected during the IMU’s Annual General Meeting held in Brazil from 29 to 30 July.

The IMU is an international non-governmental and non-profit scientific organisation aimed at promoting international cooperation in mathematics; supporting and assisting the International Congress of Mathematicians; and encouraging and supporting international mathematical activities, which contribute to the development of mathematical science. IMU has been in existence since 1920 and is a member of the International Science Council (ISC).

Professor Loyiso Nongxa

Nongxa’s wealth of experience in building an inclusive mathematics society and fostering mathematics education will be pivotal in advancing the objectives of the IMU across the globe.

Nongxa, who is the Founding Director of the Centre for Mathematical and Computational Sciences at Wits, has been active in the process of transforming the higher education landscape in South Africa while grooming and nurturing mathematics talent.

“Many of the activities that are part of the IMU global agenda are matters I have been dedicated to, especially over the last 20 years. These include building a globally inclusive mathematics community inclusive across borders, investing in the potential of the next generation of mathematicians, and contributing to Mathematics that is responsive to the challenges of the 21st century,” says Nongxa.

Having grown up during apartheid inequality and limited opportunities, Nongxa says he is privileged to have been nominated as a candidate to serve on the Executive of the IMU.

About Nongxa

Nongxa is the Chairperson of the National Research Foundation of South Africa (NRF). He has held a number of senior leadership positions including that of Vice Chancellor and Principal for 10 years  and Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research) at the University of the Witwatersrand, and Dean of Natural Sciences at the University of the Western Cape. He served as a Visiting Fellow at Harvard University and the University of Illinois, and as a Visiting Researcher at the Universities of Colorado, Hawaii, and Connecticut, and Baylor University in the United States, amongst others.

He was South Africa’s first African Rhodes Scholar to graduate from Oxford University with a doctoral degree in mathematics. He completed undergraduate and Master’s degrees at the University of Fort Hare.

Nongxa has served, inter alia, as Chairperson of the Review Committee of the National System of Innovation appointed by the Minister of Science and Technology, and he was the Chairperson of the Research and Innovation Strategy Group of Universities South Africa (USAf, formerly HESA).