College of Human Sciences

A research champion second to none

Prof Mavhandu-Mudzusi at the awards ceremony

The National Research Foundation (NRF) has recognised Prof Azwihangwisi Mavhandu-Mudzusi’s commitment to opening new frontiers of scientific knowledge with its prestigious Special Recognition Award: Champion of Research Capacity Development and Transformation. Mavhandu-Mudzusi heads the Office of Graduate Studies and Research in Unisa’s College of Human Sciences.

With the success of research comes the acknowledgement of those who have committed their careers to opening new frontiers of scientific knowledge. The prestigious NRF Awards honour the country’s leading scientists and some of the best performing researchers for excellence and achievement in knowledge creation and dissemination. It also provides a platform for new and emerging researchers to be inspired and to experience first-hand what it takes to become a recognised scholar, as part of the foundation’s transformation agenda.

The category "Champion of Research Capacity Development and Transformation" recognises individuals within the research community who contribute to the transformation and thus diversity of South Africa’s science cohort through the research students they supervise. The aim of the award is to encourage and promote those researchers who have identified and are mentoring young scientists to becoming highly productive academics of the future and even international leaders in their areas of scientific expertise. The focus is on black researchers, especially black females, and South African postgraduate students who have been trained and graduated by the nominee.

Based on the number of students from these groups who have been trained and graduated by her, as well as the quality and impact of research outputs of these students, Azwihangwisi Mavhandu-Mudzusi received the award on 1 September. The award includes a grant of R300,000.00 to be used for research-related activities.

Mavhandu-Mudzusi’s academic scholarship started in 2012; since then, exponential growth has been seen in the number of her publications, citations, and the master's and doctoral students she has supervised to completion. The impact of her work is evident on the number of academics and non-academics who approach her to be their mentor in research.

The majority of students, especially those who are researching on LGBTIQ topics, are referred to her by academics from other universities or directly approach her, making reference to her media shows. "My activism is more evident in the advocacy for LGBTIQ individuals, especially students and those in rural communities," she says. "This is also shown by my publications, seminars, dialogues, awareness campaigns, and the number of students I am supervising to broaden community understanding and acceptance of the LGBTIQ community from 2011 to date. My contribution to the LGBTIQ community has contributed to the initiation of the programmes for supporting LGBTIQ individuals, especially students by Higher Education South Africa, which is continuing to date."

* Packaged by Philip van der Merwe, Editor, Department of Institutional Advancement

Publish date: 2022/09/08