South Africa

Country Representative

Prof. Tawana Kupe (University of Pretoria) ;

University of Pretoria (UP)

Blau, rot und braunes Logo aus Schrif und Illustrationen © University of Pretoria

The University of Pretoria (UP) is one of the largest contact and residential universities in South Africa, with its administration offices located in Hatfield Campus, Pretoria. This 111 year-old institution is also the largest producer of research in South Africa. Spread over seven campuses, it has nine faculties and a business school, the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS). It is the only university in the country that has a Faculty of Veterinary Science, and overall has 120 academic departments as well as 92 centres and institutes, accommodating more than 55 000 students and offering about 1 100 study programmes. UP is one of the top five universities in South Africa according to the 2019-2020 rankings by the Center for World University Rankings (CWUR). It is also ranked among the top 100 universities worldwide in three fields of study (veterinary science, theology and law) and among the top 1% in eight (agricultural sciences, clinical medicine, engineering, environment/ecology, immunology, microbiology, plant and animal sciences, and social sciences). In June 2019, the annual UK Financial Times Executive Education Rankings once again ranked GIBS as the top South African and African business school. The University also has an extensive community engagement programme. Furthermore, UP is building considerable capacities and strengths for the Fourth Industrial Revolution by preparing students for the world beyond university and offering work-readiness and entrepreneurship training to its students.


Professor Tawana Kupe; Vice-Chancellor and Principal


Professor Tawana Kupe is the Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Pretoria since January 2019. He holds a BA Honours and Masters degree in English from the University of Zimbabwe, and a DPhil in Media Studies from University of Oslo, Norway. Prof Kupe is the Africa Co-Chair of the Australia Africa Universities Network (AAUN) since 2019 and an Honorary Doctorate in Humanities was bestowed on him by Michigan State University in December 2019.

Prior to his appointment as Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Kupe served as the Vice-Principal of the University of the Witwatersrand, responsible for the daily running of the University and the coordination of operations across all executive portfolios. Prior to this appointment, he held the rotating Vice-Principal post for one year and also served as the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Advancement, Human Resources and Transformation. Between 2013 and 2014 he was Deputy Vice Chancellor for Finance and Operations.

Professor Kupe served as the Executive Dean of the Wits Faculty of Humanities for six years, between January 2007 and December 2012, after serving as the Head of the then Wits School of Literature and Language Studies, and the founding Head of the Media Studies Department.

Prof Kupe has a notable publication record, having authored journal articles, books and book chapters in his main discipline, Media Studies and Journalism. He edited a major book “Broadcasting Policy and Regulation in Africa” and with two other Wits University academics Eric Worby and Shireen Hassim, “Go Home or Die Here”. Over the years, Prof Kupe has played a key role in the establishment of select new innovative initiatives at Wits, of which the latest in 2018 the Africa Centre for the Study of the United States. He also initiated the establishment of the Wits Arts and Literature Experience (WALE), an interesting platform that showcases Wits’ unique achievements in primarily the creative arts and literature across a range of disciplines in the humanities.

He is an active member of several Civil Society Organisations, including the AmaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism. He is also Chairman of the Board of Media Monitoring Africa since 2005. He has been a judge and convenor of multiple major journalism awards in South Africa and is the inaugural convener of Judges for the Discovery Health Journalism Awards. He is also the Co-Chairperson of the Kifra Prize Selections Committee and member of the Kifra Prize Board of Governors, coordinated by the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) in Rwanda from 2020. He also serves on the board of a major private company and is a member of the International Association of Media and Communication Research (IAMCR).

Professor Kupe is a popular invited speaker, academic expert and regular commentator on issues of media performance on radio, television and the print media in South Africa for local and international media. He has also been a columnist for several newspapers and magazines in South Africa.