The new Arts Faculty executive dean, Prof Makunga, is no stranger, having been involved with Unizul for the past 27 years.
The Faculty of Arts is the biggest faculty at the university and heading it brings about huge responsibilities and challenges.
She is an experienced academic who has travelled extensively and has many accolades to her credit.
Prof Makunga completed her General Nursing Diploma in 1973, before going on to finish her BA (Hons) at Fort Hare University.
She went on to become the first black person to be admitted to study for a Masters: Clinical Psychology degree at the then University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg Campus, in 1979.
She obtained her Doctorate degree from Unisa in 1988. As an academic and a manager at various levels within the university and elsewhere, she has also completed many managerial and technical diplomas to ensure that her skills stay up to date and releveant at all times. She is a distinguished scholar with many publications, awards and fellowships under her name.
She has proven leadership qualities and has held many senior positions within the university, starting as a lecturer (1981 – 1987) and senior lecturer (1983 – 1994) becoming yet another first black female to hold this position at Unizulu. From 2002 to January 2006, she was elected as Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Arts and just before she was appointed to the position of Executive Dean, she was the Acting Dean of the Faculty from February 2006 until she was appointed to her new position.
Asked about what she is bringing into this position, she said the main challenge facing her faculty was the poor structures that are in place at the moment.
She would like to secure permanent heads of department appointments (HODs) as soon as possible and do away with the Acting HODs arrangement.
In her opinion these are critical positions to ensure that the faculty stays focused on its goals and objectives.
She also sees a need to emancipate other women into positions of power. She doesn’t regard women as power hungry. Unlike men, women disseminate information – they do not hold-on to it like most men would with the belief that information is power that should not be shared.
She ascribes to the notion that when you educate a woman you educate a nation, and that is what she intends to do in her faculty.
Prof Makhunga said that the appointment did not come as a surprise to her, since she feels that it was long overdue.
She expressed gratitude and appreciation to everybody at the UZ for believing in her leadership capabilities to lead the university community at large and she promised to do her best in this new position.