Mamokgethi Phakeng is the newly appointed vice-chancellor of the University of Cape Town. She is a respected professor of Mathematics Education. She has been invited to deliver over 30 keynote talks at international conferences and has won numerous awards for her research and community work including the Order of the Baobab (Silver) conferred on her by the President of South Africa in April 2016. In addition to many other achievements, in 2008 she became the first South African black researcher to be appointed to co-chair a study commissioned by the International Commission on Mathematical Instruction. She is the founder of the Adopt-a-learner Foundation, a non-profit organisation that started in 2004 and provides financial and educational support to students from township and rural areas to acquire higher education qualifications.