Yunupingu was the first Aboriginal person from Arnhem Land to gain a university degree, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in education from Deakin University in 1988. In 1989 he became assistant principal of the Yirrkala Community School and in 1990 he took over as principal of that school, becoming the first Aboriginal principal in Australia; he held this position until late 1991, leaving to pursue his career with Yothu Yindi. On January 26, 1993, Yunupingu was named Australian of the Year for 1992 by the National Australia Day Council. In April 1998 he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Queensland University of Technology "in recognition of his significant contribution to the education of Aboriginal children, and to greater understanding between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians.
"I am Mandawuy Yunupingu. I am a crocodile man. I am also the song writer and lead singer with the band Yothu Yindi. My name Yunupingu means a rock, a rock that stands against time. Fire is my clan symbol. Fire is my life force." Mandawuy Yunupingu
"Racism is a disease in society. We're all equal. I don't care what their colour is, or religion. Just as long as they're human beings they're my buddies."
"Australia will become a model for other global communities ... I see Australians coming together from all walks of life, especially indigenous and non-indigenous Australia, for a better tomorrow. We need to lock into one-another's point of view."
"We must connect with old people, we need to tap into their wisdom. The hearts of Aboriginal women are crying for their culture."