Loyiso Nongxa biography, age, profile, education, background

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Loyiso Nongxa (born 22 October 1953 in Indwe) is a South African mathematician. He holds the position of Chairperson of the NRF – National Research Foundation.

He has also held a notable position at the University of Witwatersrand. At the institution, he served as the Vice-Chancellor and Principal.


NameLoyiso Nongxa
Born22 October 1953 (age 67 years old)
BirthplaceIndwe, Eastern Cape
Nationality South Africa
EducationBSc, MSc, D.Phil
Alma materUniversity of Fort Hare
Oxford University
ProfessionMathematics, lecturer
Chairperson of the NRF


He was born into a family of qualified teachers on 22 October 1953 in Indwe, a town on Chris Hani District Municipality.

His father was school principal and his mother focused on raising the family at home.


His journey in academics started with sound primary school education.

After which he furthered his educational pursuit. In 1972, he matriculated with distinction at the Healdtown College earning him the top matric student in the country.

Upon enrolling at the University of Fort Hare (UFT), he was accepted into the institution. He then studied for a BSc Hons and graduated in 1976.

During his academic years at the University of Fort Hare, he was a player at the UFH’s “Baa-bas” rugby team.

In 1978, Loyiso obtained an MSc from the University of Fort Hare (UFH). This earned him the record of the first Black Rhodes scholar.

Loyiso also holds a D.Phil from Oxford University (1982).


He has been a mathematics lecturer in several universities in South Africa.

He had been a lecturer at the University of Fort Hare and the University of the Western Cape.

Loyiso has also lectured at the University of Natal, and the National University of Lesotho.

He held the position of Professor of Mathematics at the University of the Western Cape.

Later, he climbed to the post of the Dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences.

He also was a visiting research scholar in various prestigious universities. Colorado, Hawaii, Connecticut, Harvard, and Baylor were among the institutions.

Loyiso became the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research at Wits, appointed in October 2000. In April 2002, he became the Vice-Principal.

He occupied the post of the Acting Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University in November 2002.

He climbed to the position after Professor Norma Reid Birley resigned.

He was later shortlisted by the University Council as a possible candidate for the position of Vice-Chancellor.

In May 2003, he became the Vice-Chancellor following his appointment by the Council. This earned him another record as the “first black Vice-Chancellor of Wits”.

He has also held several notable positions and memberships in the university;

  • member of the Rhodes Scholarship Selection Committee
  • the SAUVCA Research Committee
  • various National Research Foundation of South Africa committees.

After making a great impact in the academic institution, he serves as the Chairperson of the NRF.

In July 2018, he was elected to serve as the Vice President of the Mathematical Union.