The heart of the newly appointed principal and vice-chancellor of the North-West University (NWU), Dr Bismark Tyobeka, beats for the young people of South Africa. The plight of the youth in these times of high levels of unemployment and the resulting poverty and inequality weighs heavily on his heart.
“It saddens me to see the hopelessness and squalor so many of our young people live in. When I see protestors on TV, I realise that 95% of them are young people, and that the time of day indicates that they are not employed. The energy exuded by them during protests could have been harnessed and used effectively elsewhere, had they been given opportunities.” says Dr Tyobeka.
Dr Tyobeka, who started his term as vice-chancellor on 1 June 2022, talks comfortably about his own humble beginnings and modest upbringing before opportunities opened the door to global experience and prominence. He was born and raised in the small village of Welverdiend (Nonceba) near Sun City. As a young boy he minded cattle in this rural area of North-West, never dreaming that one day he would rise to be a respected nuclear scientist and a global citizen.
Since those early days, Dr Tyobeka has seized opportunities along his way. He has five degrees, and he is a published scholar, who has set foot on most continents and worked in the USA and Austria.
Education opens doors
Dr Tyobeka believes it is quality education that can open doors to opportunities for the youth. “I am an alumnus of the NWU. I started my higher education at what is now our Mahikeng Campus and through the years I have watched the university transform and grow. I have seen it giving opportunities to the down-trodden by empowering them to reach their full potential.”
He says that the university has a big role to play in creating opportunities. His commitment to the plight of young people is unwavering.
In his role as the custodian of the implementation of the NWU strategy, he will see to it that the university’s core business ― teaching and learning, research and innovation and community engagement – continues to thrive and serves the youth in their career endeavours.
“The NWU continues to be the knowledge hub for both North-West Province and South Africa, and we are a globally recognised university. My commitment is to ensure that our student value proposition continually improves, not only to ensure a diversified and rich student life and experience but also to empower them to reach their dreams and unlock opportunities. …there are ample opportunities at the NWU, and we invite all prospective students to explore them and to discover what the NWU can offer to help them build a great future – for themselves and for the country.”