Mamokgethi Phakeng

University of Cape Town


Mamokgethi Phakeng is Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cape Town (UCT). Previously she served as Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Internationalisation at UCT and Vice-Principal for Research and Innovation at the University of South Africa.


She holds a PhD in mathematics education from the University of the Witwatersrand and has published over 80 research papers and five edited volumes. She has been invited to deliver over 50 keynote/plenary talks at international conferences, and as visiting professor at universities in more than 35 countries. She has won numerous awards for her research and community work, including the Order of the Baobab (Silver) conferred by the President of South Africa in 2016.


In 2020 she was named one of Africa’s 50 most powerful women by Forbes Africa. In 2019 she received an honorary doctorate in science from the University of Bristol in recognition of her leadership role in mathematics education in South Africa, and is a Fellow of the African Academy of Sciences. In 2014 CEO magazine named her the most influential woman academic in Africa. Phakeng is founder of the Adopt-a-learner Foundation, a non-profit organisation that provides financial and educational support to students from township and rural areas to acquire higher education qualifications.