Mosibudi Aaron Mangena completed his BSc and BSc Honours through Unisa while on Robben Island and later an MSc (cum laude) in Applied Mathematics while exiled in Botswana. In 2013, Unisa awarded him an Honorary Doctorate in Philosophy.

“Science taught me to question everything … to recognise that accepted reality may be wrong,” Mangena observed while serving as Minister of Science and Technology from 2004 to 2009. Previously, as Deputy Minister of Education, he had sought to instil this same inquisitive outlook in a new generation of young minds by introducing various mathematics and science initiatives. Mangena’s passion for questioning also extended to politics — as a student in the 1970s, he became a leader of the Black Consciousness Movement (BCM). He was imprisoned for five years and then went into exile, becoming Commander in Chief of the Azanian National Liberation Army, the armed wing of the Azanian People’s Organisation (AZAPO). He was elected President of AZAPO in 1994 and became AZAPO’s sole Member of Parliament in 1999. He is still an active political speaker today.