WATCH: UCT's new vice-chancellor remembers attending school under a tree
In an interview with News24, incoming University of Cape Town vice-chancellor Mamokgethi Phakeng goes back to her humble beginnings and talks about the time she attended classes under a tree at a rural school, after she was sent to live with her grandparents.
READ MORE: Meet UCT's new vice-chancellor
Despite the challenges she faced, she completed matric and enrolled at the University of Bophuthatswana (now part of North-West University) when she was just 16 years old.
Phakeng also shared her vision for UCT and said the debate about symbols on campus should have happened long ago.
She told News24 she wanted to create a university culture in which young people felt that their issues were being heard.
"I might disagree with students on their approach to wanting to deal with this problem, but I understand their struggles," she told News24 on Monday.