In part of celebrating this weeks International Womens Day and the people who have greatly contributed to education, we profile one of the most respected figures, Naledi Pandor.
Naledi Pandor was born in Durban, and grew up in a highly academic family like her father, Joe Matthews and grandfather Z.K. Matthews. During the Apartheid regime, her family left South Africa and went into exile in the early 60s, in neigbouring countries and later settled in England. They later relocated to Botswana, where she completed her O Level studies.
Naledi studied a professional qualification in teaching and completed a postgraduate diploma and Master’s which focused on “Education in South Africa and the issues of race.” Naledi started off as a teacher, but ended up training teachers at a teachers training college. In her spare time she would run literacy programmes, which established the Union of Democratic University Staff Association, which was co-founded by her and other academics. This brought about movement in influencing articulation of education for the future South Africa by academics of all races.
By working with other comrades who shared similar sentiments with her, they greatly impacted the educational developments of the country. Later she moved to the University of Cape Town where she eventually became Assistant Director of English for Academic Purposes.
In attempt to increase her efforts, she became the Executive Director of the Desmond Tutu Educational Trust and gradually enhanced her role in leading education.
She has been appointed as Minister of Education, Minister of Home Affairs and recently, the Minister of Science and Technology.
Naledi Pandor has spent most of her life working on developing the education of South Africa. Education being a basic human right, she has greatly contributed to this initiative, ensuring that children in all areas receive an education.
Her passion has been recognized by many worldwide and she strives to work harder, making statements like, “We should be using every training opportunity possible.” She is also a role model to many women in Southern Africa for her courageous acts and selfless dedication to better the education access and quality to students from remote areas who struggle obtaining this basic entitlement. She also encourages the notion that learning never stops with her several qualifications from reputable educational institutions from around the globe.
Currently , her excellency,
Naledi Pandor serves as the Minister of Science and Technology. In addition, she is a National Director of the Black Management Forum. She has devoted considerable energy to the field of education and education reform, in her long-held belief that this forms the cornerstone of sustainable social and economic transformation.