College of Human Sciences

College of Human Sciences COD scoops a Teaching and Learning Festival Award

Dr Nompumelelo Radebe

Chair of the Department of Anthropology and Archaeology at Unisa, Dr Nompumelelo Radebe has welcomed the new season with a bang after she was awarded the Transformation in Teaching and Learning Award at the university’s annual Teaching and Learning Festival.

Held on 31 August and 1 September 2021, this year's festival celebrated excellence spanning several categories within the university under the theme “Academically Resilient”.

The draws from abaNtu phrases working together as typified by letsema/ilima. It is the claim of this festival that academic resilience comes from an ethos of collectivism borne of the mutual recognition of one another’s personhood through Ubuntu/Botho.

Speaking shortly after receiving the award, Radebe expressed her gratitude to the university for the honour.

“I am truly grateful to Unisa for providing a space for us to come as complete beings and then rewarding us for doing that,” she said.

Her presentation which scooped the award explained how the curriculum transformation is part of decolonisation struggles that respond to the demands of the market and the corporate sector, for regional and national development.

“As such, it requires the involvement of all stakeholders, including regulatory bodies, the Department of Higher Education and Training, universities and students. For instance, the decolonisation of the curriculum cannot be realised without the decolonisation of the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA), which is responsible for approving and aligning qualifications and certificates. Curriculum transformation is also about displacing Western hegemony as a response to students’ demands who realised that a Western education is not representative of quality, if it does not respond to contemporary problems such as the high unemployment rate afflicting graduates,” she said.

She believes that we are still following western universities and that the transformation of the curriculum requires people to have the patience and strength to redo that which had been undone.

“Curriculum transformation is the struggle for justice, the struggle for culture, the struggle for dignity and freedom (Ramose, 2002: 38). Clearly, this is not an easy undertaking, using Prof Ndlovu-Gatsheni’s assertion in many of his lectures – it is resisting while complying. It is resisting the systems in place that are aimed at sustaining the undemocratic content that we teach. The complying aspect is an ethical one because the society is not yet transformed as such, we cannot disadvantage our students by not preparing them for the real world ahead of them. We comply while making them aware of the foundations of the modern world,” Dr Radebe added. 

Radebe encouraged those who would like to follow in her footsteps to remain true to themselves and what they believe in.“Everything they do should be centred on self-love, honesty, and ethics – doing what is right. They must give freely with no expectations,” she says.

Radebe was born in Vryheid, KwaZulu-Natal and grew up in Johannesburg.“I regard myself as a rural city girl because my mother ensured that I never forgot my roots and my identity. She spent a lot of time correcting our language as we were trying to speak like everyone else in Johannesburg. I did not know that she was giving us a scholarship of life. It is this knowledge of the self embedded in isiZulu that gives me the base for asking questions because I know differently,” she said.

Dr Radebe was one of three nominees for the award, the other two nominees being Dr Elisha Ochola from the College of Science Engineering and Technology and Mr Makola from the College of LAW.

Each year different colleges come together to organise this prestigious award ceremony. This year the festival was organised by the College of Human Sciences and the College of Education.

Due to Covid 19 restrictions the event was held online and presented by talented programme directors, Dr Jabulani Nene, Dr Thulile Shandu, Ms Zandisiwe Radebe and Mr Mohau Mokoena.

Congratulations, Dr Nompumelelo Radebe.


*By Tebogo Mahlaela, Communication and Marketing Specialist, College of Human Sciences

Publish date: 2021/09/20