Born in Indwe, near Queenstown, Prof. Loyiso Nongxa is the youngest of five children. His father was a teacher who became a principal and his mother a qualified teacher who remained at home to raise the family.
As a natural scholar Nongxa excelled in his studies throughout his education. He matriculated from Healdtown College where he achieved a distinction as the top matric student in South Africa in 1972.
He then proceeded to study for a BSc degree at Fort Hare and obtained his BSc (Hons) in 1976 and his MSc in 1978. His contemporaries at university include many of South Africa’s prominent political and business leaders. Nongxa then obtained a D.Phil from the University of Oxford 1982.
In 1978, Nongxa became South Africa’s first African Rhodes Scholar.
Nongxa is a mathematician who has lectured at the University of Fort Hare, the National University of Lesotho, University of Natal and the University of the Western Cape - where he held the post of Professor in Mathematics and was later appointed Dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences. He has also been a visiting research scholar, over the last decade, at the universities of Colorado, Harvard, Connecticut, Hawaii and Baylor, which has afforded him international experience and exposure.
In October 2000, Nongxa took up the position as Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) at the University of the Witwatersrand. In April 2002 he was appointed Vice-Principal. In November 2002 he became Acting Vice-Chancellor and Principal. He is well-versed in the administrative side of university life and has gained invaluable management experience during his tenure on the Councils of the Universities of Western Cape and Cape Town and now on the Council of the University of the Witwatersrand.
Nongxa served on the Rhodes Scholarship Selection Committee, the SAUVCA Research Committee and various National Research Foundation committees. His expertise and interest include Abelian Groups, the teaching of mathematics at tertiary level and research evaluation. He contributed regularly at annual South African Mathematical Society conferences and since 1993, when his travel ban was revoked, has made presentations at several international conferences.
He is an avid sports fan who in his younger days played rugby for the “Baa-bas” team at Fort Hare and represented his school in athletics.
He is married and a father of three children.