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The University of KwaZulu-Natal’s School of Built Environment and Development Studies has become the first institution in Africa to receive honorary Bronze Membership of the International Society of City and Regional Planners (Isocarp). The three years of free membership to Isocarp was awarded to town planning lecturer Professor Hangwelani Magidimisha-Chipungu, who has been co-rapporteur for Isocarp for the past two years.

UKZN town planning lecturer Professor Hangwelani Magidimisha-Chipungu

“This is a symbolic gesture of honour for me in the discipline of town and regional planning. It comes at a backdrop of years of committed leadership to the discipline where I sacrificed my time in support of the school, colleagues and the student body. In the same vein, it is symbolic of the ultimate reward of work I am doing behind the scenes for Isocarp, which dates back to 2015,” she said.

Magidimisha-Chipungu considers obtaining this membership as “a reflection of the institutional support of the university which, over the years, endorsed partnerships for future growth with members of Isocarp. In this regard, it symbolises a new chapter in the growth of the discipline as it positions itself for an international platform. More so, it is an unprecedented occurrence in the history of the school and the college at large, thus contributing to the new era for a global audience”.

Flying the UKZN flag high

Dean and head of the school Professor Ernest Khalema applauded Magidimisha-Chipungu for her achievement saying, “The UKZN flag is flown high through her exceptional leadership. Congratulations to the discipline, the school and the university for always supporting us.”


Isocarp president Martin Dubbeling added, “Magidimisha-Chipungu is still active and was instrumental in the success of both the 56th and 57th Isocarp World Planning Congresses. The board of Isocarp appreciates the time and effort she has put in the coordination of all papers and in all necessary preparations.”

Over the years, Magidimisha-Chipungu has been collecting accolades at various levels – all of which she considers adds special meaning to her career. She noted that the Bronze Membership by Isocarp elevates her recognition to an international platform.

“It tells the story of my life behind the scenes – that of hardworking, sacrifice and resilience and sells it to the international market. Indeed, it is this new dimension which broadens my career prospects beyond our national horizons. The good which we do in our lives is not a story born out of our own words, but a recognition born out of those whose life we impact positively,” she said.