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Vice-Chancellor sees OUP mission in action in South Africa

Vice-Chancellor sees OUP mission in action in South Africa

15 November 2022

Vice-Chancellor sees OUP mission in action in South Africa

We were delighted to host Professor Dame Louise Richardson, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford, for a special visit to see our work in South Africa last week.

A warm Cape Town welcome

The visit was hosted by colleagues in our Cape Town Office, where Professor Richardson was welcomed by Nigel Portwood, CEO, Fathima Dada, Managing Director of OUP’s Education division, and Hanri Pieterse, Managing Director - Africa. Professor Richardson heard directly from OUP colleagues as well as people and organizations we work with in South Africa, including academics, teachers, and students about the opportunities and challenges in education in South Africa. Among them was Professor Jonathan D. Jansen, who gave a lecture on the future of higher education and the low number of students currently progressing from school to an undergraduate degree.

Professor Richardson also visited two township schools: Itsitsa Primary School and Athlone North Primary School. There, she saw the commitment of teachers and students to overcome resourcing and social challenges. She also experienced Oxford Reading Tree books being enjoyed by learners, and a new library at Athlone North stocked with OUP books thanks to a partnership with AVBOB—Africa’s largest Mutual Assistance Society. The library has quickly become the learners’ favourite space to spend playtime.

Mission in action

The Vice-Chancellor was also hosted by the Mandela Rhodes Foundation at Nelson Mandela’s former home in the Bishopscourt area of Cape Town. Through the Foundation, we support scholarships for young leaders from across Africa so that they can become part of Nelson Mandela’s legacy of transformative impact. Professor Richardson had the chance to meet some of the scholars and hear directly about their experiences. 

Later in the week, Professor Richardson was the guest of honour at a reception for Oxford alumni at the British High Commission. Former Clarendon Scholars joined the reception; OUP helps to fund the Clarendon Scholarship programme each year, which has enabled thousands of scholars to continue their studies.


Reflections on the week

Speaking about the value of the visit, Professor Richardson said: “It is such an honour to visit Cape Town and to finally get the opportunity to meet schools and communities directly impacted by the wonderful work being carried out by OUP here since 1915.”

Reflecting on OUP’s long history in South Africa, Nigel Portwood said:

“OUP has been a witness to the changing face of publishing, but we remain true to our mission and the values that are part of the University.”