*iconography adapted with the permission of artist: Pola Maneli

The inaugural address of Prof Muthwa, April 2018, informed by extensive consultations, suggested the following guiding themes for the University's intellectual and programmatic work: social justice, poverty, inequality and unemployment; public, transformative leadership; university and higher education transformation; non-racialism, equality, human rights and democracy; university, community and society (reimagining engagement); the Mandela identity and posture (memory and legacy); renewal of the academy and curriculum; humanising pedagogy; transdisciplinarity; revitalising the humanities; and student-centrism. 

The inaugural ​followed the University's historic name change in 2017 to Nelson Mandela University and its commitment to re-energising its human and social projects in response to the grand challenges of our time, captured within South Africa’s National Development Plan (2012), the African Union’s Agenda 2063, and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

In 2019, the University embarked on an organisational redesign process for its architectures to align with its recalibrated strategic goals; and with the emerging strategic priorities of Vision 2030. Clustering existing and new programmes, units and entities, the executive portfolio of Engagement and Transformation was established in July 2019. The DVC – Engagement and Transformation was appointed in October 2020.