On 1 January 2011, Professor Mandla Makhanya took up his new position of Principal and Vice Chancellor of the University of South Africa (Unisa). He was previously Unisa’s Pro Vice-Chancellor. Prof Makhanya holds a BA and BA (Hons) in Sociology from the University of Fort Hare, a Masters degree in Industrial Sociology from the University of Natal and a DPhil from the University of Pretoria. Recently, the University of Athabasca in Canada conferred an honorary doctorate on Prof Makhanya in recognition of his outstanding leadership at Unisa and his contribution as a distinguished scholar in distance education.
Prof Makhanya previously held the position of Executive Dean of the College of Human Sciences since 2004. Prior to this, he was the Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at the old Unisa, a position which he occupied from January 2000 to February 2004. Before that Prof Makhanya worked in the sales and marketing division of a multinational company, until he was recruited to the lecturing staff at Unisa.
In addition to the above, Prof Makhanya is Referee for the National Research Foundation (NRF) specialising in refereeing applications for funding, grants and post-graduate scholarships (Sociology, Development Studies, Business Administration & Social Work) and Referee for the Centre for Development and Enterprise. He is an external Examiner in a number of Universities in South Africa.
Prof Makhanya has published widely in accredited journals. His recent publication is entitled: “The importance of basic education in the mitigation of HIV/AIDS among informal sector workers”.
He has also addressed a number of conferences on various topics. He is a member of the South African Sociological Association (SASA) and International Association of Sociology (ISA).
Besides his academic endeavours locally, Prof Makhanya engages in academic and higher education forums in South and Southern Africa, and internationally. In this regard mention can be made of the role that he plays in UNESCO and its activities. He is the Deputy Chair of the South African National Commission for UNESCO, as well as the Chair of the Culture Sector of South African National Commission for UNESCO.