Simon Sekomane Maimela completed his BA through Unisa. He was one of Unisa’s first black theology lecturers and in 1994, became Unisa’s first black Vice-Principal, dedicating his tenure to “Africanising” Unisa.

“It is a sin against God,” Simon Maimela declared in a 1982 address to South Africa’s Council of Churches, “that blacks have been sentenced to a life of poverty, … overcrowded and crime-ridden townships … and other legalised dehumanisations”. Mpumalanga-born Maimela had returned to South Africa in 1980 after earning his doctorate at Harvard University. He was highly critical of the role “white theology” played in justifying apartheid and was eager to apply the Black Liberation Theology he had encountered in the USA, which saw Christianity as a tool to transcend racial oppression. In 1985, he and other Unisa theologians called for an end to the State of Emergency and the release of detained black leaders. The apartheid state responded by petrol-bombing his home. Today, Maimela remains a voice of public conscience, pitting his theological paradigm against post-apartheid corruption.