Kgethi Phakeng_MAR1693


Mamokgethi Phakeng (formerly Setati) joined UCT on 1 July as full professor of Mathematics Education and on 1 January 2017 she will take over from Prof Danie Visser as the Deputy Vice Chancellor of Research and Internationalisation. She is a highly regarded B2 NRF-rated scientist with over 80 research papers and five edited volumes published. She has been invited to deliver over 30 keynote/plenary talks at international conferences, and as a visiting professor in universities around the world (in Australia, Botswana, Canada, Denmark, Finland, India, Italy, Jamaica, Kenya, Lebanon, Lesotho, Mexico, Mozambique, Namibia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Senegal, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, UK and USA). 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 August2016 she was awarded the prestigious Businesswoman of the Year Award in the education category. Kgethi, as she is popularly known, was elected as a member of the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) in November 2007; an honorary member of the Golden Key International Honour Society in May 2009 and an honorary life member of the Association for Mathematics Education of South Africa (AMESA) in July 2009. In 2008 she became the first South African black researcher to be appointed toco-chair a study commissioned by the International Commission on Mathematical Instruction. The study entitled “mathematics and language diversity” has just completed its work and published an edited volume. She is trustee of the FirstRand Foundation and a member of the Board of the CSIR as well as DALRO. She served as President of Convocation of Wits University for five years (from 2011 – 2016), national president of the Association for Mathematics Education of South Africa (AMESA) from 2002 to 2006, founding chairperson of the Board of the South African Mathematics Foundation (SAMF) from 2004 to 2006 and secretary and member of the executive committee of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (PME) from 2003 to 2007. She is the founder of the Adopt-a-learner Foundation (, 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.

Academic Positions

  • To date2016

    Deputy Vice Chancellor: Research and Internationalisation

    University of Cape Town

  • 20162011

    Vice Principal: Research and Innovation

    University of South Africa

  • 20132008

    Honorary Professor of Mathematics Education,

    University of the Witwatersrand

  • 20092007

    Professor Extraordinaire

    Tshwane University of Technology

  • To date2011

    President: Convocation of Wits

    University of the Witwatersrand

  • 2007To date


    FirstRand Foundation Board of Trustees

Prof Phakeng On ANN7

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  • August 2013
    CEO Magazine
    CEO Magazine award for being the most influential woman in education and training in South Africa (August 2013)
  • May 2011
    NSTF award
    NSTF award for being the most outstanding Senior Black Female Researcher over the last 5 to 10 years in recognition of her innovative, quality research on teaching and learning mathematics in multilingual classrooms. (May 2011)
  • July 2009
    Golden key
    Association of Mathematics Education of South Africa (AMESA) Honorary life membership (July 2009)
  • 2006
    Recognised as one of top three NRF Top Women in Research for 2006
  • July 2009
    Association of Mathematics Education of South Africa (AMESA) Honorary life membership (July 2009)
  • 2004
    Outstanding Service
    Outstanding Service Award (Education category). Conferred by the Sunday Sun and Christ Centred Church (2004).
  • 2003
    SA Woman of the Year
    SA Woman of the Year (one of the three finalists) for the Science and Technology Category (2003).
  • June 2003
    Prestige National
    Prestige National Award South Africa’s Inspirational Women Achievers Award - Conferred by RCP Media, (June 2003).
  • 2001; 2003
    National Research Foundation
    National Research Foundation/National Science Foundation USA/SA fellowship (2001; 2003)