University of South Africa: Reflecting on the power of women


Prof Puleng Segalo, Incumbent of the Chief Albert Luthuli Research Chair, College of Human Sciences
Women’s Month provided an opportunity to reflect on our journey and to realise the challenges and struggles that we have overcome. It was a moment to acknowledge those who came before us and honour their sacrifices and determination to ensure that women’s rights are recognised as human rights. The celebration reminded us of our responsibility and the work that still lies ahead.

To women in academia, be unapologetic about having earned your place in this space; and embrace all opportunities offered to you. Reach out and find a mentor, and create networks and support systems, as academia can be a lonely space.

Prof Melinde Coetzee, College of Economic and Management Sciences
For me, Women’s Month was a special month of the year and reminded women from all walks of life to reflect on how far they have come in the quest for self-expression and self-growth. Furthermore, it was a period to reflect on our daily contributions to our families and society. As an academic and researcher, Women’s Month provided an opportunity to recognise the immeasurable skills, talents and positive impact of women in the research community.

As women, we must continue to acknowledge and honour the contributions of women in academia visibly. We must be role models that blaze a trail for young developing women researchers to step into their greatness with hope and courage.

Prof Madipoane Masenya, Acting Executive Director, Office of the Principal and Vice-Chancellor
Women’s Month reminded me of a Northern Sotho proverb mmago ngwana o swara thipa ka bogaleng, which directly translates: A mother holds a knife by its cutting edge. Testament to this saying is what our 20 000 foremothers across different races fearlessly demonstrated more than six decades ago. They fought against patriarchal stereotypes and were bold, courageous, resilient and dynamic.

These women are role models for Unisa’s female academics. Against all odds and with determination, women can achieve whatever they set their minds to, even in a world that continues to delegitimise female power.

Prof Thenjiwe Meyiwa, Vice Principal: Research, Postgraduate Studies, Innovation and Commercialisation
We celebrate women as the struggle for liberation, equity and gender equality in South Africa has come a long way; it is a long path of many centuries. Post the 1994 democratic dispensation, several policies and opportunities became available. I encourage that we pursue and demand the proper implementation of these policies and rigorous accountability. As women, we should be unapologetic about grabbing the fruits of our hard-earned liberation.

Dr Suvania Naidoo, College of Human Sciences
On 2 August, my diary’s quotation read, “My sun sets to rise again”. This attracted my attention instantly. Being a social scientist who never studied mathematics or science, I completed a master’s and a PhD on a topic primarily researched in the natural sciences. I was challenged to understand a discipline that I thought was beyond my intellect. My PhD turned into a second book, and my research attracts natural scientists mainly.

To women in academia, ensure that when your sun sets each day, it intends to rise again and even stronger. The most amazing feeling is overcoming a challenge you thought was beyond you.

To all our female academics and administrative staff, I hope that you had a happy Women’s Month and that the year ahead is filled with the recognition, value and achievements that only women can bring to society.

La-Portia Mahlangu-Matjila, Acting Director: Postgraduate Student Administration, College of Graduate Studies
Women’s Month was a time to celebrate the unsung heroine who wears several hats and stands tall to execute different roles without complaining. It was a time to salute imbokodo that is as strong as an ox, wise as a serpent and calm as a cucumber. This heroine wears shoes that no one can wear, walks the path that no man can walk and carries a load that no scale can bear, all with a smile on her face.

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