Professor Loyiso Nongxa retired as Professor of Mathematics at the University of theWitwatersrand in December 2018 having spent 18 years at the university as a member of the Senior Executive Team – as Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research (2000 to 2002), Vice-Chancellor and Principal (2003 to 2013) and Founding Director of the Centre for Mathematical and Computational Sciences (2014 to 2018). A NRF-rated mathematician, his special research interests lie in Abelian Group Theory, representations of partially ordered sets and the foundations of Data Science. Over the past few years, he has been instrumental in the efforts to establish a National Graduate Academy for Mathematical and Statistical Sciences, a consortium of local universities focusing on the development of the next generation of mathematicians and statisticians in South Africa.
He is a fellow of the Royal Society of South Africa, member of the Academy of Science of South Africa and one of two Vice-Presidents of the International Mathematical Union (IMU, 2019 to 2022). Professor Nongxa served as the Chairperson of the National Research Foundation from 2014 to 2018 and in April 2019 was appointed by the Minister of Higher Education and Training as Administrator of the University of Fort Hare.
Professor Nongxa was born in rural South Africa, attending Healdtown High School and the University of Fort Hare where he completed his undergraduate degree in Mathematics and Statistics and a MSc in Mathematics. He was the first South African of African ancestry to be awarded the Rhodes Scholarship and went up to Balliol College, Oxford in 1978 where he obtained a doctorate in Mathematics in 1982. Prior to joining the University of the Witwatersrand, he taught at the National University of Lesotho, the former University of Natal and the University of the Western Cape.