Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng

Africa Education Medal Winner 2022

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Words of the Winner

“It is the greatest honour to be recognised for my life's passion. Quality education is the key to Africa's future and I'm so grateful to HP, Intel and Microsoft for this award that I hope will inspire others across our continent to further the cause of African education.”

Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng

Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cape Town, South Africa, was named the winner of the inaugural Africa Education Medal, launched by T4 Education and HP in collaboration with Intel and Microsoft in 2022.

Growing up in rural and township South Africa during Apartheid, she became the first black female South African to achieve a PhD in Mathematics Education in 2002 and she is determined not to be the last. In the two decades since she has published more than 80 research papers and five edited volumes that continue to shape mathematics education in classrooms across Africa and far beyond. Her research focuses on language practices in multilingual mathematics classrooms and has proved influential in post-colonial Africa and post-Apartheid South Africa in particular.

Oprah Winfrey congratulates Prof. Mamokgethi Phakeng on winning Africa Education Medal


“She brings that inspirational leadership and academic rigour to everything she does. She truly captures the spirit of the Africa Education Medal, and I congratulate her for having this honour bestowed upon her.”

Professor Stephen J. Toope

Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge

“Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng’s drive and leadership in transforming education across Africa and beyond stand as a shining example to others all over the continent."

Brad Pulford

VP and Managing Director, HP Africa

“Professor Phakeng is a remarkable individual and incredibly deserving of this recognition, as she exemplifies the principles underpinning the Africa Education Medal: she is an inspirational advocate for quality education on the continent.” 

Adrian Gore

Founder and Chief Executive of the Discovery Group

“Congratulations to my sister Mamokgethi Phakeng. She is a dedicated visionary leader in education. As leader of UCT, she has led courageously in a difficult national context. May she grow from strength to strength and model what transformative feminine leadership looks like.”

Mamphela Ramphele

Politician, academic and anti-Apartheid activist

“The Africa Education Medal recognises the importance of education in transforming a country, helping to lift people out of poverty and inequality. This is what Prof. Phakeng stands for: helping those less fortunate to rise above their circumstances and achieve their goals.”

Alan Winde

Premier of the Western Cape