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“That’s the Africa we want.” So said Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST) Vice-Chancellor Prof Address Malata about African universities working together across disciplines at the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the institution and Nelson Mandela University.

The parties established the MOU to foster international cooperation in education and research between the two Universities as well as South Africa and Malawi broadly.

The MOU includes the exchange of faculty and research scholars; joint research, teaching and training; capacity development activities and administrative and support staff exchange programmes.

MUST Deputy Vice-Chancellor Prof Johnathan Makuwira, who is also a former Mandela University Development Studies lecturer originally from Malawi, paved the way for the collaboration between the universities.

Initially, the focus was to be on Development Studies, conservation agriculture and global warming, but has since extended to cut across all seven faculties.

Mandela University’s Prof Sibongile Muthwa emphasised the importance of Africa in the institution’s scholarly work and the role of academics.

“Africa as a continent should unite and commit to the aspirations of all the countries. We will respond to your invitation and take our university to Malawi,” Prof Muthwa said.

Prof Malata stressed the significance of entrepreneurship and innovation at their university, where graduates are being groomed to create their own work and the commercialisation of their research.

“We believe we can learn from you to mentor us. Africans should learn from one another,” Prof Malata said. 

Much like Mandela University, MUST has a number of research and academic areas in which they have a strong focus.

These include their strength in textile engineering as the country produces some of the best textiles in Africa. They also have a Medical Academy and a hospital on campus, similar to Mandela University’s thinking around the planned medical school.

The Medical Academy focuses on diagnostics. Other areas include the climate and earth sciences, disaster risks, water and petroleum.

Also culture and heritage including ceramics and indigenous African music. Food and nutrition research involve the communities around the university.

Areas of cooperation will include technology transfer, staff, student and post-doctorate transfer and mentorship.

Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST) Vice-Chancellor Prof Address Malata (left) shakes on the signing of the MoU with Mandela University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sibongile Muthwa.