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22 October 2018
Inspirational, industrious 60-year old earns PhD

(Published - 22 October 2018)

Doctor Cora Motale, from Pinelands, showed how her hard work and dedication has paid-off, receiving her doctorate in Philosophy in August 2018.

Dr Motale’s research addresses the personal, social and professional experiences of black women who served as Vice-Chancellors in the democratic period.

The research presents a portrait of a unique group of women and maps out the conditions for their success and resilience. Their stable, kindred and spiritual bonds, formed through their families and communities mostly in rural villages in South Africa, provided a foundation for their formal and continuing education. This combination was a platform for their journey into university professions and senior leadership positions first as Deputy and finally as Vice-Chancellors. The study suggests that in the face of a hostile work environment they always tried to display authentic kindness.

“Since these women have experienced inequalities within a political context the post-colonial feminist framework supported my study. The powerful black women reveal that their academic success was grounded and traceable within the various villages of birth,” she said. She mentioned that the women shattered a glass ceiling of over 300 years within the South African Higher Education system - a common thread in all these stories is achievement against all odds which will inspire the next generation of leaders.

Dr Motale worked as a student counsellor, lecturer and executive director of student affairs, at UNISA as well as the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. She acknowledged the support and guidance of her supervisors during her time of study. “They understood and assisted me to navigate demands from equally demanding institutions - work and home,” she said.

Dr Motale, who celebrated her 60th birthday in February this year, is grateful for the support and guidance from her supervisors.

“The journey was not an easy one. As the Dean of Students when I started my PhD things were not easy. I had to find balance between work and family, and the books,” she said.

Dr Motale advised those who want to obtain their PhD to secure a strong support system.

“Whatever your research topic, make sure that your topic is close to your heart. If it isn’t your research won’t be enjoyable,”she added.

Image: Aidan Van Den Heever