The book, “Life begins at 40”, by Walter B. Pitkin underscores that “One could look forward to many years of fulfilling and happy existence after the age of 40, provided that one maintained the proper positive attitude”.
As MUT turns 40, it is under the leadership of a Brown University (USA) and University of Cambridge (UK) physicist, the 6th Vice-Chancellor & Principal Dr Enoch Duma Malaza. Under his leadership, the University is currently finalising its Strategy 2020-2025, which is a complete shift from the current strategy. The approach has been a consultative process and very ideological instead of a top-down approach.
The cornerstone programme encapsulated in MUT Strategy 2020-2025 is the Anchor Strategy which speaks to the core ideology of MUT. What we stand for and why we exist is at the heart of the Anchor Strategy. Our presence at Umlazi Township is not a disadvantage but a consistent identity that transcends popular discourse/practice and various leaders who have been at the helm of MUT. We see the Anchor Strategy as the glue that holds us to our communities. Without worrying about how our communities could be empowered and revitalised, we would not be true to our core purpose.
At 40, we commence a discourse on how we anchor ourselves in Umlazi Township and do good within our communities. While we already have established relations with the community, we are also going to be more strategic and more mindful of the greater inequality in society, and a displacement of workers by technology. As a University of Technology, we aim to find ways of how we could repurpose, re-skill and re-employ those who particularly would have been affected by the advent of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
THE ANCHOR STRATEGY
The premise behind the MUT anchor mission/strategy emanates from some of the following challenges:
- The decline of the neighbourhoods surrounding institutions of higher learning. This is incongruous to the very mandate Higher Education stands for, “to be a beacon of hope and improve lives”;
- The decline of these neighbourhoods is often characterised, among others, by:
- Ageing and deteriorating houses,
- Slums/ Informal settlements,
- Relatively high proportions of low income,
- Crime and violence,
- Disinvestment, and
- Drugs and substance abuse.
Today, a Task Team appointed by Dr Malaza has commenced its duties to collect data on where we are with the slums and/ or informal settlements around the University. A high level of engagement is underway.