From Herd Boy to Dean of ResearchGeneral

Professor Pholoho Morojele is the new College of Humanities Dean of Research.Professor Pholoho Morojele is the new College of Humanities Dean of Research.

A former Lesotho rural community herd boy, Professor Pholoho Morojele, is the new Dean of Research at the College of Humanities.

An associate Professor of Gender and Social Justice Education, Morojele is known for his unwavering commitment to transformation and social justice.

He says he will tackle key challenges facing South African Higher Education, including increasing students’ access, opportunity and success; securing the next generation of academics; epistemological transformation and increasing funding for research within the College.

Morojele said he would devise strategies aimed at ensuring that the projected postgraduate enrolment growth will have adequate funding to meet the objectives of transformation, decolonisation and increased quality and quantity of research output.

‘Our ability to ensure students’ access, participation and success will not be sustainable without the strategic use and mobilisation of financial resources in order to enhance equity and growth targets. Enhancing appointment of honorary and retired professors, post-doctoral fellowships, and the publication of masters and PhD theses in accredited journals, are but a few practical yet strategically significant steps to implement,’ he said.

Morojele will devise differentiated models of research incentives that accommodate the requirement for both quantity and quality research outputs while using funding models that enhance academic staff visibility in the national and international arenas.

The general aim is to enhance the profile of the College of Humanities by securing more research grants and contracts.

‘My role as Dean will be to ensure that the next generations of academics are not only largely Black, women and sexually diverse South Africans, but they must also possess the intellectual and academic capabilities related to research and personal dispositions fundamental for developing the College of Humanities. I believe transformation must be a compulsory condition of academic freedom,’ he said.

In his new role, Morojele brings with him a wealth of experience and recognition as a Prolific Researcher at UKZN in 2012 and 2013 and for his excellent research publication record. Since 2009, he has maintained the status of emerging researcher and in 2013 was one of the Top 30 UKZN researchers.

He is a Commonwealth scholar, having studied as part of his PhD at the Institute of Education, University of London. During his seven-year academic career, Morojele has authored more than 30 scientific publications both nationally and internationally and attended a variety of conferences where he presented various papers including keynote addresses. He has also supervised more than 20 postgraduate students over the past seven years.

His research interests and publications are in gender, rural children’s geographies and social justice in education. Underpinned by critical theories and inclusion of the minority social groups in the mainstream education discourse, Morojele contributes immensely to sustainable futures for the people of the Afromontane (mountains on the African continent).

He uses his wealth of experiences from his rural life as a basis for his conviction that people from the mountains on the African continent have a critical role to play in shattering mainstream myths that tend to associate them with backwardness and primitiveness.

Morojele is confident that 2017 will be the time for laying the foundation for success in the College. ‘Given the enormity of the challenges at hand, it will literally be the case of, more haste, less speed.’

Melissa Mungroo