/ 19 April 2024

Twenty years of moving from good to great: The Tshwane University of Technology

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Professor Tshilidzi Marwala, Rector of the United Nations University, delivers the TUT 20th Anniversary Lecture.

TUT embraces AI and has made it central to all of its teaching, research and innovation

On 1 January 2004, a new kid on the higher education block was born when Technikon Northern Gauteng, Technikon North-West and Technikon Pretoria merged to form Tshwane University of Technology.

Taking after its noisy erstwhile institutions, the new kid stood out from the crowd, loud and proud.

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Professor Tshilidzi Marwala with TUT Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Tinyiko Maluleke.

There are many ways in which Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) could have marked its 20th anniversary. We could have cordoned off a street in Soshanguve and danced the night away. We could have marched across the streets of Ga-Rankuwa in our academic regalia. We could have retreated into our blue, gold and red cocoon to reminisce about the good old days and to wallow in our unique history — both real and imagined.

Instead, we chose to stay true to our mandate as an Artificial Intelligence Hub, that is at once the heartbeat of the future of work and a fountain of entrepreneurship in higher education.

Prof Tinyiko Maluleke, The Vice Chancellor And Principal Of The Tshwane Univesity Of Technology (tut) With Prof Tshilidzi Marwala, Rector Of The United Nations University At Tut's 20th Anniversary Lecture
Professor Tshilidzi Marwala shares a moment with TUT Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Tinyiko Maluleke.

To this end, we decided to celebrate our anniversary by doing something different and special, with someone different and someone very special — Professor Tshilidzi Marwala.

Off the beaten track that connects the towns of Makhado and Thohoyandou, beneath a hill so steep it looks like it could tip over, lies the village of Duthuni, where Marwala was born. Today he is the Rector of the United Nations University.

In front of a crowd of learning AI machines, dancing robots and curious human beings, Marwala delivered the TUT 20th Anniversary Lecture, rhetorically titled, “Universities and AI: Friends or Foes?”, on 10 April 2024. Suggesting that “AI is ushering in the best of times and also ushering in the worst of times”, he called for the development of policies, standards and laws to govern AI. However, Marwala was unequivocal in his conviction that “those who ignore AI shall fall and those who embrace it shall succeed”.

Tshwane University of Technology embraces AI and has made it central to all of its teaching, research and innovation. In 2023, the Department of Communication and Digital Technologies designated TUT as an AI Hub in recognition of contribution to the 4IR in Higher Education. As an AI Hub of the Artificial Intelligence Institute of South Africa, TUT specialises in:
· Motor Industry AI
· Farming and Food Production AI
· 4iR Manufacturing
· AI in Tourism
· AI in Transport
· AI in Health, and
· AI in Telecommunications.

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An Artificial Intelligence exhibit at the TUT 20th Anniversary Lecture.

With a curriculum and a research agenda anchored on AI and in partnership with industry, TUT is determined to produce problem-solving graduates who are future-ready, entrepreneurial, committed to environmental sustainability and to the elimination of gender-based violence.

Happy 20th Anniversary to the People’s University, a University that is moving from good to great, in every way, at every level.

Dr Gloria Serobe appointed as TUT chancellor

The fourth chancellor has a particular passion for empowering black rural women

On 14 March 2024, Dr Gloria Tomatoe Serobe was appointed as the fourth chancellor of the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT). The investiture of Serobe was performed by the TUT Chair of Council, Ivan Ka-Mbonane; the Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Tinyiko Maluleke; and the Registrar, Dr Michael Mushaathoni.

P2 Dr Michael Mushaathoni, The Registrar, Robing Dr Gloria Serobe As Chancellor Of The Tshwane University Of Technology.
TUT Registrar Dr Michael Mushaathoni robes the new TUT Chancellor Dr Gloria Serobe.

In her capacity as chancellor, Serobe has become the titular head of the institution. Her main role is to confer degrees, diplomas and certificates on all qualified TUT graduates. She also becomes the ambassador and the face of the institution.

The second child of Tamsanqa Mamfanya and Dorcas Ndaliso, Serobe (neé Ndaliso) was born in the township of Gugulethu, Cape Town. Her childhood years were shared between Cape Town and the Eastern Cape village of Centane, from where her family originated and where her mother and grandparents lived throughout her childhood.

She is the granddaughter of well-known Methodist preacher John Zamile Ndaliso and his wife Victoria Nofikile Ndaliso. Her grandparents had a strong and positive influence on her character — especially in terms of their belief in the transformative power of education.

Life in the rural village of Centane also left an indelible mark on Serobe’s outlook and approach to life. Her grandmother and her mother modelled for young Gloria a life built on self-reliance, perseverance and hard work. The two women ran small family businesses in Centane.

Prof Tinyiko Maluleke Vice Chancellor And Principal Congratulating Dr Gloria Serobe The New Chancellor Of Tut. 1
Professor Tinyiko Maluleke shakes hands with Dr Gloria Serobe.

When an opportunity arose for the young Serobe to be among the first few girls to be admitted to the prestigious St John’s High School in Mthatha, she embraced the opportunity with both hands. She completed her BCom at the University of Transkei. A few years later, she obtained a Fulbright Scholarship that took her to Rutgers University in New Jersey, where she completed an MBA. She has never looked back.

She worked as an accountant at ExxonMobil in the US for a few years before returning to South Africa, where she joined Munich Reinsurance and Premier Group. Later, she left the world of accounting and moved into the world of investment and merchant banking, where she gained corporate experience — especially in project finance, mergers and acquisitions.

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TUT Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Tinyiko Maluleke introduces Dr Gloria Serobe as the fourth chancellor.

She later leveraged her corporate experience when in 1994, she, together with Louisa Mojela, Nomhle Canca and Wendy Luhabe co-founded Women Investment Portfolio Holdings (WIPHOLD). It was the first private equity company founded by women in order to bring women, particularly black women, into the mainstream economy of the country.

Today Serobe is the CEO of WipCapital financial services, a subsidiary of WIPHOLD. She is deliberate and intentional about the economic empowerment of women, and has a particular passion for the economic inclusion of rural women.
Throughout her tremendous career of service, Serobe has remained a family woman. Nothing has made this aspect of her character more clearer than her 2023 book — An Ode to my Mother-in-Law, Winnie Serobe. A Mentorship of Love and Honour — whose subject matter is as phenomenal as it is unusual.

In the foreword to the book, her husband Gaur Serobe confesses his initial doubts about the feasibility of a book about a mother-in-law, written by a daughter-in-law: “I also did not think it would happen. Sweet, but impossible. There didn’t seem to be a story there. They had not started a business together and built it into a multi-million rand company. They had not had a fractious relationship that might elicit tabloid-like interest. There had been no soaring triumph over illness or adversity. There had just been an ordinary love between two exceptional women; an ordinary bond between two women that I love deeply.”

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Dr Gloria Serobe delivers her inaugural speech as Chancellor of the Tshwane University of Technology.

If Serobe’s book is a testament to “an ordinary love between two exceptional women”, then her life is testament of the extraordinary love of an extraordinary woman — for village, city, country and people — and above all, her extraordinary love for her fellow black women.

For the Tshwane University of Technology, it is a tremendous honour to have a South African of the moral stature of Serobe as its chancellor at this time.

“It is an immense privilege for Council members, students, staff and alumni, that our time at this University overlaps with the tenure of someone as accomplished as Dr Gloria Serobe as Chancellor of the Tshwane University of Technology,” said Maluleke.

For more information, visit: https://www.tut.ac.za/