Change the world


Nelson Mandela University welcomes Professor AndrĂ© Keet as the incumbent of the University’s new Chair: Critical Studies in Higher Education Transformation.


While the strategic post is new, Prof Keet is acknowledged as a leading figure nationally in studying, doing and guiding transformation within Higher Education and brings with him a wealth of knowledge and experience towards effecting positive change at Nelson Mandela University.

The need to position the University to make a strategic impact around transformation within the Higher Education sector that advances, among other necessary changes, an African-purpose curriculum becomes even more critical with our newly adopted Nelson Mandela University name, identity and rebranding.

Prof Keet was recently appointed as Chairperson of the Ministerial Oversight Committee on Transformation in South African Public Universities by Dr Blade Nzimande, one of a number of human rights and higher education sector organisations that he already serves. These include the Higher Education Quality Committee (HEQC), the Council on Higher Education (CHE), the Stellenbosch University Council and the Human Rights Educators Advisory Group of the USA

The former teacher, social justice researcher and academic was most recently the Director of the Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice at the University of the Free State,  an advisor to the Vice-Chancellor and Rectorate, and Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor for External Relations and Student Affairs at the same institution. Between 2000-2011 Prof Keet has also been Director, National Centre for Human Rights Education and Training, South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC); Deputy Chief Executive Officer, SAHRC; a Commissioner on the Commission for Gender Equality; and Director – Transdisciplinary Programme at the University of Fort Hare.

“I am thrilled by this great, fantastic opportunity to bring the scholarship and practice of higher education transformation together into a flexible, ever-emerging, multi-faceted yet coherent praxis-oriented programme in service of the institution and the sector.

“I am particularly looking forward to engaging with students, staff and the broader ‘Mandela’ community. All institutions have challenges; so does this place, I’m sure.  Nonetheless, on the back of so many advances within the institution over the past decade, Nelson Mandela University is perfectly poised to make further cutting-edge contributions to respond to our national and global challenges across a variety of knowledge-fields, including higher education transformations. I ‘feel it in my bones’.”

Prof Keet’s commitment and passion towards human rights, social justice and democracy development makes him a popular keynote speaker and a prolific writer of scholarly publications. He holds a number of editorial positions, contributes to the processes of the National Research Foundation, supervises and acts as an external examiner for masters and doctoral studies and is extensively connected – from grassroots organisations through to his links within the structures of the African Union and United Nations. 

Prof Keet began his studies at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) in the 1980s and was awarded a master’s degree cum laude at the same university in 1995. He holds a doctorate in Education Management, Law and Policy, from the University of Pretoria, and various other strategic and management qualifications, making him eminently suitable to strategically drive transformation through knowledge production, stakeholder engagement, various projects and in the supervision of postgraduate students in relevant fields at Nelson Mandela University.   

“I am grateful,” he says, “both for the space and opportunities afforded to me at the universities of Fort Hare and the Free State, as well as for the formalisation and ratification of a long-standing relationship with Nelson Mandela University.”

Contact information
Ms Zandile Mbabela
Media Manager
Tel: 0415042777