Umalusi mourns death of Professor Peliwe Lolwana

Umalusi mourns the death of Professor Peliwe Lolwana Umalusi and its stakeholders are in deep grief after the passing of Prof. Peliwe Lolwana. Prof. Lolwana was the last Chief Executive of the South African Certification Council (SAFCERT) and the first Chief Executive Officer of Umalusi, the position she held from 2000 until her
retirement in 2008.

She was at Umalusi on 24 November 2023 to give a memorable tribute speech at a memorial lecture and roundtable discussion organised in honour of the late Dr Fred Calitz, her SAFCERT predecessor. Little did we know that she had come to say goodbye to all of us. While she reached her statutory retirement age over fifteen years ago, Prof. Lolwana continued to serve her own country in various roles.

Those include chairing the Board of the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) and the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) Council, and playing various roles in academia, the NGO and private sectors. Prof. Lolwana played a transformational role in each and every position that she held; shaping the form and focus of all the organisations that she led.

This assertion is supported by the people who worked closely with her. In the December 2023 issue of Makoya, Umalusi’s external newsletter, Dr Rufus Poliah (Chief Director for National Assessments and Public Examinations in the Department of Basic Education) says the period starting in the early 2000s “was an exciting phase, in that Prof. Lolwana, a real visionary, was tasked with the responsibility of overseeing the transformation of SAFCERT to Umalusi…” The period between 2000–2008, he continues, saw Prof Lolwana “transforming a certification council into a quality assurance council, with all its legislative frameworks and procedures, and placing this
structure firmly on the national education map” (p.17).

In the words of Prof. Moon Moodley, a member of the Assessment Standards Committee (ASC) of Umalusi Council, “Umalusi enjoys a high degree of independence that has been achieved over many years by commanding the respect of all stakeholders. Dr Peliwe Lolwana has played a crucial role in Umalusi’s gaining ownership of the standardisation meetings” (Makoya, p.13). Prof. Lolwana conceptualised new quality assurance approaches; departing from those used during the SAFCERT era.

That was in support of South Africa’s education transformation agenda. The models that are in use currently to accredit institutions, assure the quality of learner assessment at exit points, etc. are the brain child of Prof. Lolwana. Having played various roles within the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) space over the years, the NQF family stands on the shoulders of a strong intellectual giant – those of Professor Peliwe Lolwana.

Umalusi and its stakeholders thank the Lolwana family and friends for allowing Peliwe the time to shape how we understand education and training today. She has served her country so diligently. As Umalusi, we share in your sorrow. Her spirit, her wisdom and her dedication will never be forgotten.

We say hamba kakuhle, Peliwe!

Media enquiries:
Biki Lepota
Senior Manager: Public Relations and Communications
Cell: 076 920 6184

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