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The world’s only university to carry Nelson Mandela’s name appointed its first female vice-chancellor and its first black African female vice-chancellor, Sibongile Muthwa, in October. Muthwa grew up in Umbumbulu, in southern KwaZulu-Natal. "My love of reading came from my grandfather, who had taught himself to read. My father was a teacher and my mother a nurse, but growing up we spent most of our time with our grandparents and I was particularly close to my grandfather," Muthwa says. "Umbumbulu was much more rural then; today, like many rural areas in post-apartheid SA, people have access to running water, electricity, television and many forms of modern technology. But when I grew up, old newspapers were our main source of news, and, as the saying goes, ‘news is not old if you haven’t read it yet’." Because of the sacrifices of her family and community leaders who believed in her as a young child, she was able to access an excellent education, including schooling at Sacred Heart S...

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