Alumnus recognised for distinguished research

The Unisa Principal's Award for Distinguished Alumni in Research is an accolade bestowed upon alumni who have exhibited exceptional scholarship. It serves as a beacon of excellence, celebrating the achievements of Unisa's alumni and highlighting their role as ambassadors for the institution. Through their unwavering commitment to research excellence, Unisa's alumni not only elevate their respective fields, but also embody the values and ideals championed by the university. In 2024, Prof Kaitano Dube was one of the recipients of this award.


Prof Kaitano Dube, recipient of the Unisa Principal’s Award for Distinguished Alumni in Research

Dube’s journey is a testament to the transformative power of education. Hailing from a modest background, his path to academic excellence demonstrates resilience and dedication. This award was bestowed upon Dube in recognition of his personal achievements, as well as the impact that he has had on the global stage as a Unisa alumnus.

Graduating with a BSc (Hons) at the Midlands State University in Zimbabwe, Dube embarked on a path of higher education that led him to pursue a master’s degree and PhD at Unisa. Despite setbacks, he found support and mentorship under the guidance of his Unisa supervisor, Prof Godwell Nhamo, which eventually paved the way for his groundbreaking research in ecotourism. He graduated with a PhD in Environmental Management in October 2018. Since then, he has emerged as a national and global leader who has distinguished himself in tourism geography.

Throughout his academic career, Dube has achieved numerous milestones. "There have been several milestones in my research career before receiving this award," he says. "Perhaps the most significant aspect was that I produced six journal articles from my PhD studies, which paved the way for me to apply for a Y2 NRF rating, as these articles were published in mostly Q1 and Q2 ranked journals. In 2021, I got my rating, which was later upgraded to C2 in 2024 in an early rerating request, which is a record on its own if one considers the timeframe."

Dube has demonstrated his research prowess by co-publishing and co-editing nine published international books, 45 journal articles and over 50 book chapters between 2018 and 2024. This makes him one of the top academic producers in the country and the continent.

His research has not only garnered international acclaim, but has also informed policy decisions by organisations such as the European Union and the World Bank.

Reflecting on his experience at Unisa, Dube acknowledges the fundamental role that the institution has played in shaping his academic journey. With its robust online learning platform and extensive library collections, Unisa provided him with the resources and support necessary to thrive in his research endeavours. Moreover, the mentorship and networking opportunities facilitated by Unisa have been instrumental in nurturing his research interest and passion.

"This award exposes the talent that I have and equally marketed the Unisa products," he concludes, "and I hope this will open up space for me to play a role in my former university, if such an opportunity ever arises at a more expanded level."

* By Cilla Boucher, Unisa Alumni Relations Officer, Unisa Foundation and Alumni Relations

Publish date: 2024/06/20

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