“Mr Chancellor, it is my honour to introduce to you and the congregation Prof Tawana Kupe.
Professor Tawana Kupe was appointed Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Pretoria in
2018 with his duties commencing on 14 January 2019.
Prior to his appointment as Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Kupe served as the Vice-Principal of
the University of the Witwatersrand, responsible for the daily running of the University and the
coordination of operations across all executive portfolios. Prior to this appointment, he held the
rotating Vice-Principal post for one year and also served as the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for
Advancement, Human Resources and Transformation. Between 2013 and 2014 he was Deputy Vice
Chancellor for Finance and Operations.
Professor Kupe served as the Executive Dean of the Wits Faculty of Humanities for six years, between
January 2007 and December 2012, after serving as the Head of the then Wits School of Literature and
Language Studies, and the founding Head of the Media Studies Department.
Prior to joining Wits, Professor Kupe lectured at Rhodes University between 1999 and 2001, and briefly
acted as the Head of the Department of Journalism and Media Studies. He joined Rhodes from the
University of Zimbabwe, where he acted in various academic capacities from 1988, including as
Chairperson of the Department of English, Media and Communication Studies. Professor Kupe holds a BA Honours degree and Masters in English from the University of Zimbabwe, as
well as a DPhil in Media Studies from the University of Oslo in Norway.
Prof Kupe has a notable publication record, having authored several journal articles, books and book
chapters in his main discipline, Media Studies and Journalism. He edited a seminal book “Broadcasting
Policy and Regulation in Africa” and with two other Wits University academics Eric Worby and Shireen
Hassim, edited “Go Home or Die Here”. Over the years, Prof Kupe has played a key role in the
establishment of select new innovative initiatives at Wits, most recently he was the founding Director
of the Africa Centre for the Study of the United States – a multidisciplinary Centre focusing on critically
analysing the US as a nation and society. The Centre has attracted major academic and funding
interests from leading US universities, foundations and private corporations and from Wits and across
the African continent. The other two new initiatives of note are the Wits Arts and Literature Experience
(WALE) and the introduction of a fully-fledged Media Studies Programme. WALE was an interesting
platform that showcased Wits' unique achievements primarily in the creative arts and literature across
a range of disciplines in the humanities.
He took a leading role in developing Media Studies as a major in the BA degree at Wits and is also the
founding member of the Media Studies Department at Wits University, now one of the largest
departments in the Faculty of Humanities. Prof Kupe is an active member of several Civil Society Organisations, including the AmaBhungane
Centre for Investigative Journalism and is Chairman of the Board of Media Monitoring Africa from 2005
to date, and he is the inaugural convener of Judges for the Discovery Health Journalism Awards. He also
serves on the board of a major private company and is a member of the International Association of
Media and Communication Research (IAMCR).
Professor Kupe is a popular invited speaker, academic expert and regular commentator on issues of
media performance on radio, television and the print media in South Africa for local and international