(Published - 27 August 2018)
On Monday the University of the Western Cape (UWC) will confer 44 Doctor’s Degrees, 131 Master’s Degrees, 60 Honour’s Degrees, 285 Bachelor’s Degrees, 89 Diplomas and 13 Certificates - during two ceremonies.
Several extraordinary stories, not only relevant to South Africa but to the rest of Africa, emerged from this year’s crop of top-performing graduates.
Associate lecturer Emmanuel Ilori from Nigeria will receive his PhD in Public Administration. Circumstances forced the then BSc (Hons) Business Administration graduate - the eldest of five - to work as a security guard to make ends meet. Eventually Ilori ended up at UWC and travelled to lectures by train throughout his honours programme because classes ran from 5.30pm - 8.30pm. When he missed the last train he slept at the university’s library. It has been a difficult journey but Ilori persevered. “UWC made me who I am today... The lecturers here are passionate about the development of students and they have a positive impact on them,” said Ilori.
In a first for the university, a husband and wife will receive their PhDs on the same day. Gérard Filies and Sylnita Swartz-Filies, who have been married for 20 years and have two children, are both occupational therapists. The completion of their PhDs was an enlightening and historic journey for the couple from Kuils River. “We have a close bond with our children and while studying we developed the habit of sitting in close proximity to each other to also offer support to our children with their school work when needed.” said Swartz-Filies.
WATCH their story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7TRXXPMmy0
Yet another inspiring story is that of Andrew Madella who will receive a Postgraduate Diploma in Poverty, Land & Agrarian Studies. Madella was just nine-months-old when he contracted polio and lost his mother when he was three. The virus left him with limited use of his legs but these obstacles did not deter the young man from Cradock in the Eastern Cape from excelling. He was an anti-apartheid activist, served as the secretary general of Disabled People South Africa, worked as a unionist and held key positions at the National Development Agency as well as the Employment Equity Commission. Today he is a member of Parliament and deals with land reform.
The Times Higher Education (THE), in its 2018 World University Rankings list of the top 1000 research?intensive universities, placed UWC in the top 3% of research?intensive universities worldwide. Locally, UWC holds joint 5th position with two other South African universities in the 601?800 band. UWC was also singled out as the only university on the African continent to be placed in the Times Higher Education list of the top 100 Golden Age research?intensive universities for 2017. The term Golden Age Universities refers to universities founded after World War 2 - between 1945 and 1966.
Research topics include:
ALLANISE CLOETE, ANTHROPOLOGY AND SOCIOLOGY
Thesis: The invention of “moffie” life in Cape Town, South Africa
Description: Allanise’s doctoral dissertation is an ethnographic and historical study of the ‘figure of the moffie’, which she defines as a cultural performance of same sex desire amongst gender non-conforming men, as it is celebrated in the ‘coloured’ townships of Cape Town. She opens with the historical origins of “moffie” life in District Six, but her focus is on performances today. Cloete researched beauty pageants, drag performances, the language “gayle”, hair salons, and the annual Cape Town pride celebration and protests. Cloete concludes that the higher social acceptance of gay men in coloured townships is due to an understanding of “moffie-ness”. She argues that this is owed largely to “colouredness” as a creolised, culturally-mixed identity that provides space for non-conforming gender performances.
SUSHEELA MCWATTS, WOMEN AND GENDER STUDIES
Thesis: Yes madam, I can speak! : A study of the recovered voice of the domestic worker
Description: Susheela Mcwatts engages a feminist qualitative methodology to document and analyse the agency and activism of a group of global domestic worker leaders.In a thoughtful and incisive account of rich life narratives, the study makes a novel contribution to international scholarship, disrupting dominant representations of domestic workers as passive victims. The study extends intersectional, postcolonial feminist scholarship on women’s agency, challenging normative theoretical and political framings. This pioneering scholarship provides valuable insight into contemporary and historical subjective and public narratives on domestic worker mobilisation and organisation in global and local contexts, allowing for nuanced understanding of both individual and collective paths to resistance and agency.
ACHIAPO JESSICA LISETTE ATSIN, ECONOMICS
Thesis: Essays on Stock markets in Sub-Saharan Africa
Description: The study sought to examine a number of relations among the major Sub-Saharan African stock markets. Time series modelling techniques based on frequentist and Bayesian approaches were used in the estimations. The results indicate a long run relationship among the four major stock markets and the exchanges of the developed world. There is evidence of causality between market returns among the exchanges as well as volatility linkages. Again, the findings suggest a positive correlation between stock market development and financial liberalisation. Lastly, a negative relationship between inflation and stock market development was identified. The findings have implications for investors, market regulators and policy makers in Africa.
CHESNE JOY ALBERTUS, CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND PROCEDURE
Thesis: The right to health care of terminally ill inmates in South Africa
Description: In South Africa, prison authorities are not primarily concerned with the health of the inmates. This is evidenced by, inter alia, the vast number of complaints received by the Judicial Inspectorate of Correctional Centres and litigation regarding healthcare in prisons. Consequently, there is a difference between state provided health care to the public and healthcare in prisons. Ms Albertus’ thesis unpacks what the right to healthcare means in respect of terminally ill prisoners who do not qualify for medical parole. Her study, the first of its kind in South Africa to discuss this issue comprehensively, demonstrates the challenges faced in promoting and protecting the right to healthcare in prisons and the measures that should be put in place to ensure that this right is realised fully.