By Edwin Tshivhidzo
Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Nqcuka was inaugurated as the second Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) woman chancellor.
The first woman chancellor to be appointed by the institution was the late Dr Adelaide Tambo in 2005.
In her acceptance address, Ms Mlambo-Nqcuka said she will embrace the challenge of being part of the institution with a view to contribute towards ensuring that it grows in being part of the fight against ignorance that leads to poverty.
She said education must instil the notion of being proud to serve and achieving greatness by giving oneself to others for a good purpose.
"Through quality education, the strategic contribution can and must be to produce competent citizens who are proud to serve, able and convinced that theirs is a task of reconstructing our land, economy and communities,' she said.
"Education must socialise us and instil in us pride in a shared better tomorrow as opposed to making a fast buck,' Ms Mlambo-Nqcuka.
TUT was established on 1 January 2004, with the merging of the former Technikon Northern Gauteng, Technikon North-West and Technikon Pretoria.
At the time of the merger, the uniquely South African institutional designation of "technikon" was dropped in favour for the internationally accepted "university of technology" designation.
The new mega-institution annually enrols approximately 60 000 students.
With regard to the development of young people, Ms Mlambo-Ngcuka urged young people not to surrender their minds to new forms of oppressors.
"Together we must ensure we never have a student who cannot be placed for experiential learning,' she said.
She described education as shield to protect the nation from the invasion of poverty, the burden of curable and avoidable diseases and the helplessness and marginalization of whole communities and generations.
Ms Mlambo-Nqcukas achievements include being awarded an honorary doctorate by the former Technikon Witwatersrand in 2003.
TUT Vice-Chancellor Professor Errol Tyobeka described Ms Mlambo-Nqcuka as a woman with a vision.
"It is an honour for TUT to have as its Chancellor a woman of Ms Mlambo-Nqcukas stature with a vision and passion for education and development,' he said.
Minister of Education, Naledi Pandor, who also attended the ceremony, addressed the gathering and welcomed the Deputy President as a "colleague in education'.
The Minister congratulated the Deputy President on her appointment as Chancellor, saying also that she ".could not have thought of a more suitable candidate to follow in the footsteps of our late comrade, Mama Adelaide Tambo'.
Ms Pandor also expressed her confidence in the leadership the Deputy President would offer the university, and expressed the desire to see her presence in the education sector as inspiration to ".provide us with renewed strength and enthusiasm to keep our "skills revolution" turning'.
The Deputy President, who began her career as an educator, is passionately committed to skills development in South Africa.
Through her leadership in programmes like the Joint Initiative for Priority Skills Acquisition (Jipsa), numerous programmes are being unveiled throughout the country to create the skills South Africa needs to enjoy sustainable growth with the Accelerated and Growth Initiative - South Africa (AsgiSA).
AsgiSA aims to achieve 6 percent annual economic growth by 2010 and halve poverty and unemployment by 2014 while JIPSA is aimed at securing and developing the skills required to realise AsgiSA's aims.