On Saturda,  9 October 2021, WSU will celebrate a significant event, by inaugurating its first female Vice-Chancellor at its Zamakulungisa Site in Mthatha.

The guests, who include fellow academics, captains of industry, ministers and MEC’s, as well as traditional leaders, are expected to assemble at the Zamukulungisa Great Hall to bear witness to the official public inauguration and investiture of Prof Rushiella Nolundi Songca, whose tenure officially commenced on 1 April 2021.

A much larger audience is expected to follow proceedings via live streaming on the University’s official YouTube channel to comply with Covid-19 restrictions.  

Prof Songca is expected to address her plans for the institution as articulated by Vision 2030, the institutional strategic plan spearheaded by Prof Songca, which underwent intense internal stakeholder consultation before its adoption and publication to the university community earlier this year.

“WSU has found herself since the merger, in rough oceans and conflicting tides, and while the lessons learnt cannot be denied, WSU now stands at a crossroad of monumental importance. As an institution, we can choose the safe harbour of the traditional, the known - and dare I say - developmental, or we can take the path less travelled, and perhaps find ourselves in a place of exceptionality,” said Professor Songca on approval of Vision 2030 by the University Council. Prof Songca proudly proclaims that Vision 2030 will act as a guide upon which the University will rely as it journeys into the next decade.

Framing the University’s character and aspirations as well as growth and development imperatives within a dynamic set of factors, she said, “Vision 2030 lays out the University’s commitment to the pursuit of excellence. The strategic plan commits the University to harness socio-economic, cultural and ideational assets within the African, international, national and institutional contexts to achieve its goals.”

Vision 2030 revolves around core components which include:

  • Vision: An impactful, technology-infused African University.
  • Mission: Through its core business, WSU responds to societal needs in ethical, scholarly, sustainable, and entrepreneurial ways, and delivers future-ready graduates.
  • Purpose: In pursuit of excellence, WSU addresses societal challenges by producing relevant, innovative and impactful research, championing sustainable and just development and graduating versatile individuals.
  • Core values: Honesty and integrity, quality and excellence, respect, Ubuntu.
  • Slogan: In pursuit of excellence.

Extrapolating certain critical concepts from the themes mentioned above in a bid to be unambiguous, Prof Songca breaks down to quite granular detail the building blocks of the concepts.

She describes “impactfulness” in the context of the University’s historical role as an institution of access for the disenfranchised and a new commitment to creating and implementing an empowering curriculum and carefully designed student development initiatives.

“Central to the university’s pursuit of excellence is to position technology at the centre of teaching and learning, research and innovation as well as administration by making appropriate investments geared towards the acquisition and creation of vital technology,” she concluded.

Prof Songca’s academic experience spans almost three decades. She has held positions at various academic institutions, including the Dean of the College of Law at Unisa from June 2012 - July 2017.

She obtained a BA(Law) degree from the University of Lesotho, an LLB and Master of Law from the University of Natal and a second LLM from Georgetown Law Centre in the United States of America. She obtained her LLD in 2003 from the University of Pretoria, specialising in Children’s Rights. Prof Songca is an admitted Advocate of the High Court of South Africa and an NRF rated researcher.