For long, the University of Pretoria in South Africa has been known to be an "Afrikaner enclave," but with the newly appointed Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Tawana Kupe, this is now changing.
Professor Kupe has moved in to change the issue of language at the university. The university will abandon Afrikaans as a medium of instruction and communication. Only English will be used for official purposes, but people can speak to each other in the languages of their own choice.
"Lectures will be in English, the administration and the e-mails will also be in English. People can speak to each other in the language of their choice.
"The minute we use two languages people think it is still an Afrikaans university. But it is now just a South African university.
"This will help the university reduce costs as everything was duplicated," he said.
"I am very honoured and privileged to take over the reins at this institution which is one of the hidden jewels of the South African higher education. There is a lot that still needs to be done because the majority of academics are still white."
It is a huge step in the trajectory of the university, which will project an image of inclusiveness, an important ingredient in the contemporary South African society.
When Kupe was made the principal of University of Pretoria, there were fears that other academics would leave the university, following the resignation the previous vice-chancellor, Professor Cheryl de la Rey.
Professor Cheryl de la Rey will be heading the University of Canterbury in New Zealand.
There was a strong point of having more black academics made by Professor Kupe. "We don't want South Africans to still think that UP is an Afrikaans university. It is a changing university even though there are still challenges we have to deal with. The majority of students are black and not white. The name of residences still reflect the old apartheid names, even though the majority of students are black," he said.
Kupe has many hopes for the university, including making sure that students finish their degree programs on time, and also making the institution one of the very best when it comes to research.
Kupe holds a BA Honours and master's degrees in English from the University of Zimbabwe and a PhD in media studies from the University of Oslo in Norway.
Header image credit: Sowetan Live