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                             Ramphele, Mamphela Aletta, 1947-
 
 
 

honorary doctorate
University of Pennsylvania. 2003

Mamphela Ramphele

Dr. Mamphela Ramphele, played a key role in the historic struggle to end apartheid in South Africa, and has advanced the cause of human rights and equal opportunity with tireless determination.

A noted anthropologist, physician and university administrator, she is a Managing Director at the World Bank, and the first African and the second woman to hold this position. Her appointment to the World Bankís senior leadership team in May 2000, where she manages the organizationís global activities in areas including education, health, nutrition, population, social protection and information technology, continued her longtime record of dedicated work for human development.

As a political activist in the struggle against apartheid, she was banished by the Nationalist government for seven years to an impoverished resettlement area for blacks, where she helped rural poor by opening a day-care center and starting an adult literacy program. In her role as a founder of South Africaís anti-apartheid Black Consciousness Movement, Dr. Ramphele was a strong advocate of community empowerment and community health. She went on to earn a medical degree from the University of Natal in 1972. Her devotion to education ultimately led to her appointment as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cape Town in 1996, making her the first black woman to hold this position at a South African university.

Dr. Ramphele holds a Ph.D. in Social Anthropology from the University of Cape Town, a B.Com. in Administration from the University of South Africa, and diplomas in Tropical Health and Hygiene and Public Health from the University of Witwatersrand. She has received numerous prestigious national and international awards, including 19 honorary doctorates and the Medal of Distinction from Barnard College.

She is the author, co-author and editor of several books including an autobiography, A Bed Called Home, Restoring the Land, Uprooting Poverty: The South African Challenge, which received the 1990 Noma Award and most recently Steering by The Stars.


from University of Cape Town, South Africa

Dr Mamphela Aletta Ramphele

Dr Ramphele was born on 28 December 1947, near Pietersburg in South Africa's Northern Province. She qualified as a medical doctor at the University of Natal in 1972. She holds a PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Cape Town, a BCom degree in Administration from the University of South Africa and diplomas in Tropical Health & and Hygiene and Public Health from the University of the Witwatersrand. She is the author of two books, the co-author of another and the editor of two more.

Dr Ramphele started her career as a student activist in the Black Consciousness Movement. She has worked as a doctor, a civil rights leader, a community development worker, an academic researcher, a university administrator and serves on the boards of major corporations and non-governmental organisations. She joined UCT as a Research Fellow in 1986, and was appointed a Deputy Vice-Chancellor in 1991.

From 1977 to 1984 Dr Ramphele was banished by the previous government to Lenyenye near Tzaneen. There she continued her work with the rural poor and established the Ithuseng Community Health Programme.

She has received numerous prestigious national and international awards, including three honorary doctorates, acknowledging her scholarship, service to the community, and her leading role in raising development issues and spearheading projects aimed at the upliftment of the most disadvantaged sectors of the community in South Africa.

In 1984 Dr Ramphele received an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Hunter College of City of New York, and in May 1991 Tufts University awarded her an Honorary Doctor of Science degree for her professional commitment and devotion to the health and social welfare of the poor in South Africa. She also holds an Honorary Doctorate in Medicine from the University of Natal and a Medal of Distinction from Barnard College in the United States, where she was elected to the Institute of Medicine. A former fellow of the Bunting Institute, she was elected an honorary member of Alpha & Iota Chapters of Phi Beta Kappa at Radcliffe and Harvard Colleges.

In September 1996 she took up the post as Vice-Chancellor at the University of Cape Town, becoming the first black woman to hold this position at a South African university.

Some of her publications are:
 

  • 1995: Author of Mamphela Ramphele - A Life (Cape Town: David Philip).
  • 1993: Author of A Bed called Home (Cape Town: David Philip) (from her PhD thesis in Social Anthropology The Politics of Space) on life in the migrant labour hostels in Cape Town.
  • 1992: Editor of Restoring the Land (Panos) on ecological challenges facing post-apartheid South Africa. 1991: Co-editor of Bounds of Possibility: The Legacy of Steve Biko (Zed Books).
  • 1989: Collaborator with Francis Wilson of UCT in Uprooting Poverty: The South African Challenge (W.W. Norton & Co) which draws together research conducted by the Second Carnegie Inquiry into Poverty and Development in South Africa. For their achievement, the authors received the 1990 Noma Award, an annual prize given to African writers and scholars whose work is published in Africa.

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