Noel Chabani Manganyi 2023


Much published author and distinguished psychologist, Noel Chabani Manganyi, was born in Louis Trichardt in the Limpopo Province.

After finishing school, he enrolled for a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of South Africa (UNISA) where he graduated in 1962.  He completed his Honours in Psychology in 1964, master’s in 1968 and his doctorate in 1970.  

He held an internship at Baragwanath Hospital which formed part of his doctoral studies and was later appointed as a Clinical Psychologist at the Hospital for a period of three years.

From 1973 until 1975, he took up a post-doctoral fellowship at Yale University’s School of Medicine in the USA.

Returning to South Africa in 1976, Professor Manganyi took up a professorship at the then University of the Transkei, establishing the University’s Department of Psychology where he served as its first Chair.

The Wits African Studies Institute appointed him as a Senior Research Fellow and Visiting Professor in 1980 and this was where he remained for 10 years, producing some of his most important works, and laying the foundation for this subsequent research. During this period, he continued with his clinical practice on a part-time basis and returned to Yale in 1985 to serve as a visiting professor once again.

Moving into higher education administration in the early 90’s, Prof Manganyi was appointed Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the then University of the North, now the University of Limpopo. After the election of a fully democratic government in 1994, he became Director General in the Department of Education where he remained until 1999, when he was appointed Advisor to the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Pretoria. He became Vice-Principal of the same university in 2003, serving until 2006.

He is  a prolific writer and has published numerous works during his career – some that stand  out are: Being-black-in-the-world (1973), Looking through the keyhole: Dissenting essays on the Black experience (1981), Political violence and the struggle in South Africa (1990), On becoming a democracy: Transition and transformation in South African society (2004) and Apartheid and the making of a Black psychologist (2016).  In 2018, He was awarded the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) Humanities Book Award for his memoir on the making of a Black psychologist.  

In the latter stage of his writing career, he studied the artist Gerard Sekoto – an unknown artist at the time. His works A black man called Sekoto and Gerard Sekoto: "I am an African" are both impressive works about the artist who is now one of the most sought-after in South Africa.

In his research and writings, Prof Manganyi highlights the impact of systemic racism on the experiences and identities of Black people. He not only laid a foundation for the Black Consciousness Movement but also highlighted the need for curriculum changes to address social and identity issues.

Prof Manganyi is a Fellow of the Psychological Society of South Africa – an award made in 2012 in recognition of a lifetime dedicated to Psychology in our country.

Through his research and publications, he challenged the field of psychology, to appropriately address mental health issues and make mental health services more available to all South Africans.

He brings hope to many Black students through his story of being the first Black person in South Africa to be registered as a clinical psychologist.

For his contribution to education and for his thought-leadership and intellectual activism in terms of Black consciousness and Black identity, it is an honour for Nelson Mandela University to confer the degree of Doctor of Literature (honoris causa) on Professor Noel Chabani Manganyi.