College of Human Sciences

Royal academic continues to make a mark in higher education

From the ranks of junior lecturer to a full professor, Prof Siyasanga Tyali, who currently serves as the Chair of the Department of Communication Science, College of Human Sciences, recently delivered his virtual inaugural lecture entitled "Re-imagining the ordinary: On perception, power, and the media". 

Prof Siyasanga Tyali

Tyali emphasised that attaining the position of a full professor is a significant milestone in an academic's career. He regarded it as recognition of an academic’s diligent work and an acknowledgment of the body of work produced over the years. Tyali said: "It demonstrates a consistent and noteworthy contribution to the chosen field of study, thereby qualifying the person as a senior academic."

Expressing his enthusiasm regarding this achievement, he stated: "I am most excited about the milestone reached. Having my academic work affirmed by this important institution, Unisa, with its rich history and prominent role in higher education in South Africa and the African continent, is a momentous accomplishment for me." Tyali added: "It serves as an encouragement to continue my academic journey and research that I have been conducting throughout the years."

In his lecture, Tyali paid tribute to his hometown, Alice, which he fondly refered to as the black intellectual mecca of the African continent. He highlighted the town's significance as an educational hub, attracting numerous black students who travel there for educational purposes, either attending Lovedale College or the University of Fort Hare. Moreover, Alice historically had a vibrant media production industry. For instance, the Lovedale Press presence played a crucial role in the development of various African language newspapers, nurturing numerous talented black intellectuals, authors and journalists within the country and across the continent. Interestingly, Alice also served as a filming location for several mainstream television programmes, including Abakwazidenge, Unyana womntu, Ityala lamawele, and Ingqumbo yeminyanya. Therefore, Tyali's lecture also reflected on this historical legacy.

Furthermore, the inaugural lecture provided an opportunity for Tyali to reflect on his research and academic accomplishments over the past 15 years. The lecture delved into the thematic areas relevant to his work. As a health communication researcher with a specific focus on civic participation and the inclusion of diverse voices, he explored how these topics intersected with issues of power and perception. Additionally, the lecture allowed him to outline the future direction of his research, particularly in the areas of political communication and black and decolonial broadcasting.

The Prince of Im-iNgcangathelo in Dikeni (Alice) and a senior member of AmaRharbe royal family’ inauguration was attended by esteemed guests such as the Deputy Minister of Traditional Affairs, Prince Zolile Ncamashe, and King Sandile of AmaRharhabe Kingdom.

Previously, Tyali was awarded the Ford Foundation International Fellowship by the University of KwaZulu-Natal and the Johns Hopkins University, as well as the National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences doctoral fellowship. He is also a member of the prestigious Golden Key International Honour Society.

His educational background includes completing the Executive Development Programme at the University of the Witwatersrand Business School and earning a Doctor of Philosophy degree at the same institution. He also holds a Master of Social Science in Media and Cultural Studies from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, where he was supervised by Prof Keyan Tomaselli.  

In 2022, Tyali served as the acting director of the Unisa School of Arts. Additionally, he holds the position of Deputy Chairperson of the Film and Publication Board.

Click here to watch a recording of the lecture.


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

Publish date: 2023/06/01

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