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Prof Rosina Mamokgethi Phakeng

The Order of the Baobab in

Prof Rosina Mamokgethi Phakeng Awarded for:
Her excellent contribution to the field of mathematics education and representing South Africa on the international stage through her outstanding research work.
Profile of Prof Rosina Mamokgethi Phakeng

Prof Rosina Mamokgethi Phakeng was born on 1 November 1966 in Eastwood but grew up in Garankuwa. She was born to Frank and Wendy Mmutlana.

Her mother started as a domestic worker and factory worker who went back to school after giving birth to all her three children to complete Form 3 (Grade 10), which allowed her to study for a Primary Teacher’s Certificate and work as a teacher. Her father, Frank, was one of the first black radio announcers at the South African Broadcasting Corporation.

Prof Phakeng is full professor and Vice-Principal for Research and Innovation at the University of South Africa. She has published over 80 research papers and four edited volumes, which have so far been cited more than 1,174 times. She is a National Research Foundation-rated scientist, which indicates that she has considerable international recognition.

She has been invited to deliver over 30 keynote plenary talks at international conferences, and as visiting professor at universities around the world (in Australia, Beirut, Botswana, Canada, Denmark, Finland, India, Italy, Jamaica, Kenya, Lesotho, Mexico, Mozambique, Namibia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Senegal, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the United States of America).

She has won several awards for her research and community work, including the 2011 National Science and Technology Forum award for being the most outstanding Senior Female Researcher over the last five to 10 years and in recognition of her innovative, quality research on teaching and learning mathematics in multilingual classrooms. In August 2014, CEO magazine named Prof Phakeng as the Most Influential Woman in Academia in Africa.

She is founder of the Adopt-a-Learner Foundation, a non-profit organisation that provides educational and financial support to learners from townships and rural areas to acquire higher education.

She is passionate about people, causes and things.This is evident in the choices of committees, foundations and boards she serve on. She is the current President of Convocation of the University of the Witwatersrand and trustee of the FirstRand Foundation, a public-benefit organisation.

Prof Phakeng served as president of the Association for Mathematics Education of South Africa from 2002 to 2006, founding chairperson of the Board of the South African Mathematics Foundation from 2004 to 2006, and secretary and member of the Executive Committee of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education from 2003 to 2007.