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Change the world


Nelson Mandela University is deeply saddened by the passing of trailblazing higher education leader, Professor Marcus Malusi Balintulo.

As one of the key drivers in consistently and conscientiously working to transform higher education through the critical merger period in the early 2000s and as a leader of various institutions of higher learning in South Africa, Prof Balintulo made an immense contribution to the sector and to the country. 

He was considered a crusader for universities of technology in South Africa and was determined that they play a pivotal role in the mergers, given the value they offered wider society.  He had been Rector of the Cape Technikon which went on to become the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT). He was also the founding Vice-Chancellor of Walter Sisulu University (WSU) and a member of the first generation of National Planning Commissioners (NPC), which produced the National Development Plan 2030. 

Prof Balintulo was a distinguished author, writer, scholar and academic who published a range of important articles on sociology and education.  He studied at, among others, the University of Fort Hare, Unisa and at Durham and Warwick universities in the United Kingdom.  He obtained his PhD in sociology at the latter. 

An international scholar of great repute, he worked as an academic in many Universities around the world, including the African continent, before returning to South Africa as one of the most outstanding leaders that contributed to the transformation of the South African higher education system. 

“Professor Balintulo spent his entire adult life in pursuit of a humane society.  He used his intellectual power to advocate for a more just humane world.  He was for humanity, a value that he typified in his persona, intellectual activity and practice,” said Nelson Mandela University Dean of Students Luthando Jack, who had the privilege of working alongside him at Walter Sisulu Univeristy. 

Prof Balintulo chaired the Ministerial Review Committee of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), which made a pivotal contribution in enabling South African youth from working class backgrounds and poor communities to gain access to higher education.  He never stopped giving of his vast experience and expertise.  

Prof Balintulo was a trailblazer, a great scholar and a devoted colleague who has left a great void. His leadership, particularly within the Eastern Cape, and his deep understanding of people as a foremost sociologist and anthropologist, will be greatly missed. 

The University extends its sincere condolences to his family, close friends and colleagues the world over and gives thanks for the many lives he was able to touch and change through his academic work, various leadership roles and passion for higher education. 

Contact information
Ms Zandile Mbabela
Media Manager
Tel: 0415042777