Mamokgethi Phakeng began her term of office as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cape Town on 1 July 2018, where she had been serving as Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Internationalisation since January 2017. Previous to this appointment she served as Vice Principal for Research and Innovation at the University of South Africa (Unisa) for five years, after serving three years as Executive Dean of the College of Science, Engineering and Technology at the same university. She holds a PhD in Mathematics Education from the University of the Witwatersrand and is a highly regarded B1 NRF-rated scientist with over 60 research papers and five edited volumes published. She has won numerous awards for her research and community work, including the Order of the Baobab (Silver) conferred on her by the President of South Africa in April 2016. In August 2014 CEO magazine named her the most influential woman academic in Africa and in August 2016 she was awarded the prestigious Businesswoman of the Year Award in the education category. In 2016 she was appointed by the then Deputy President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, to chair the Human Resource Development Council standing committee on Mathematics and Science Education. Kgethi is founder of the Adopt-a-learner Foundation (www.adopt-a-learner.com), a non-profit organisation that started in 2004 and provides financial and educational support to students from township and rural areas to acquire higher education qualifications.