Ndebele assumes role of Deputy Chairperson of Rhodes University Council

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Executive Director at the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls and new Rhodes University Deputy Chairperson, Ms Gugu Ndebele
Executive Director at the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls and new Rhodes University Deputy Chairperson, Ms Gugu Ndebele

Rhodes University Council has elected the Executive Director at the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls (OWLAG), Ms Gugu Ndebele, its new deputy chairperson.

Ms Ndebele succeeds Reverend Canon Dr Vicentia Kgabe, who became the first woman deputy chairperson of Rhodes University Council in 2020. Dr Kgabe was, in 2021, elected the Bishop for the Diocese of Lesotho.

Ms Ndebele holds a Master’s degree in Organisational Change and Management obtained at the University of Manchester, as well as a Management Advancement Programme. She also has a certificate in Adult Basic Education and Training awarded by the University of the Witwatersrand and a Post Graduate Diploma in Adult Basic Education from the same institution.

She has a combined experience of over 30 years in education and social development and is recognised as one of the most passionate children’s rights leaders in South Africa. For 18 years, she was the Deputy Director-General of the Department of Basic Education and has also served as the Chief Executive Officer at Save the Children.

Ms Ndebele is also on the Executive of the Gauteng Central Region of the Independent Schools Association of Southern Africa (ISASA).

Ms Ndebele is very passionate about the environment. She is one of the Directors of Global Organisation 4 Brighter Youth (GOBY). GOBY aims to educate South African families about the importance of reducing, reusing and recycling waste while removing plastic waste from our environment, especially beaches.

Ms Ndebele’s footprint extends beyond the country’s borders. In 2019, she was a panellist at the Forbes Women Africa: Leading Women Summit. She was previously nominated by Save the Children International and other Child Rights Organisations to the Executive Committee of the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children.

In 2016, she was appointed Vice-Chair of the UNSECO-led Global Alliance for Literacy (GAL), and in 2017, Ms Ndebele was named Literacy Ambassador by the Minister of Basic Education for her contribution and commitment to improving literacy in South Africa.

Ms Ndebele is a proud mother of three.

“We are delighted that Ms Ndebele accepted the role as deputy chairperson of Rhodes University Council. Her extensive experience in education and passion for guiding young women to become successful leaders is perfectly in line with the University’s vision and values,” Chair of Council Judge Gerald Bloem said.


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