For his loyal and dedicated support of Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University and its predecessors, NMMU presented Cumngce Mxolisi Gawe with the Council Prestige Award on 8 December 2016.
Cumngce Mxolisi Gawe was born on 14 October 1939. He attended St Matthews College and Lovedale High School in the Eastern Cape, where he matriculated.
In 1962 he obtained his Honours in Psychiatric Nursing at the Komani Hospital and then went on to obtain a Medical and Surgical Nursing qualification in 1967 at the Livingstone Hospital in Port Elizabeth, for which he received a commendation.
Some years later, he picked up the books once more and, in 1980, obtained the National Diploma in Industrial Administration at the former Port Elizabeth Technikon. Gawe was the first black student to receive a National Diploma from the PE Technikon, graduating with four distinctions. This was the beginning of Gawe’s association with the Port Elizabeth Technikon and the later merged institution, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.
Cumngce was employed by the Port Elizabeth Municipality, where he worked as a Work Study Assistant from 1972 to 1977. He was thereafter recruited by Goodyear and worked in the Industrial Engineering department, later joining Production Management as a Production Manager until 1994.
He became a member of the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature in 1994 and served as Deputy Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Economic Affairs: Tourism and Environment, and was Deputy Chairperson of the ANC Caucus until 1996.
In 1996 he re-joined Goodyear South Africa as National Manager: Government and Contract Accounts until 1998, when he was promoted to Manager: Employee and Community Relations until 2001.
He is a founder member of Newport Projects and became Chief Executive Officer of Newport Construction (Pty) Ltd in May 2001.
Gawe has enjoyed an illustrious career peppered with many accomplishments, including serving on the Eastern Cape BMF Executive, Mayor of Uitenhage, Chairperson of the Western Eastern Cape Black Empowerment Consortium, Deputy Chairperson of the Port Elizabeth Technikon Council and member of Riebeek College Governing Council.
His association with the university and its forerunners is long and sustained. He was present at the signing of the historical Memorandum of Agreement between the three partner institutions of the Port Elizabeth Technikon, University of Port Elizabeth and Vista University (Port Elizabeth Campus) on 16 September 2003. He was elected to serve on the Interim Council of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in 2005 and then served as an Alumni Association member to Council of NMMU from 2005 to 2016. During his tenure as Council member, Gawe was elected to serve as deputy chairperson for every term of office that he served. He tendered his resignation in February 2016 due to ill health.
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