We are shaping the future


We are proud of all our Alumni’s reaching for the sky. The Institute is four years old but it has produced the finest PhD graduates. Over 35 PhD Fellows we supported in the past three years have graduated.

Dr Preya Pillay from KwaZulu-Natal, Dr Kgothatso Shai from Limpopo Province, Dr Serge Kubanza from the DRC and Dr Zethu Cakata are some of the shining examples that we are not only dynamising the humanities and social sciences, but we are shaping the future!

Dr Preya Pillay

Dr Preya Pillay received her PHD in 2017 in the discipline of Social Science Education at UKZN. Dr Pillay is a permanent lecturer at the University of Free State in the School of Education, lecturing in Curriculum Studies and Social Justice Education (2015-present). “I am also the supervisor for four honours students; five Master of Education students and two PHD students” Preya said. 

“In my PHD study I examined the constructions of gender in Business Studies textbooks used in four Southern African countries, revealing somewhat disturbingly, that management and entrepreneurship is scripted almost exclusively in favour of men. Gender norms embedded in patriarchy continue to be reproduced through exclusion and choices of inclusion. Thus a move towards a gender inclusive curriculum continues to remain a pipedream. Importantly this study highlighted the need for textbook writers and editors, to deconstruct personal bias and regressive gender perspectives, if we wish to imagine a gender- inclusive business textbook knowledge.

“During the three years of my PHD I presented my research at various conferences both internationally and locally. I have also published articles with an accredited Journal,” Dr Pillay said.  Apart from supervision Dr Pillay review social justice-related articles for local and international journals and I also served as a board member for Perspectives in Education Journal," Dr Pillay said.

Dr Kgothatso Shai

Dr Kgothatso Shai who holds a PhD in International Politics and MA in Political Science (Cum Laude) from the Universities of Limpopo and Venda, respectively is an Acting HoD: Cultural & Political Studies and Senior Lecturer in Political Science at the University of Limpopo. Kgothatso is an esteemed political analyst and Afrocentric researcher who has extensively published in a variety of high impact journals and other publications. Dr Shai has presented scholarly papers at international and national conferences.

Dr Serge Kubanza

Born and bred in the DRC, Dr Serge Kubanza obtained his PhD degree in 2016. He is one of our PhD Fellows who presented their papers at the 2015 National Doctoral Workshop, which is currently known as the Annual National Doctoral Conference. Dr Kubanza rolled up his sleeves using his research on solid waste management to address the social and environmental injustices in his country of birth. 

“After my graduation, I got a three-months Internship at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland from February 2017 to May 2017. I have three more papers in submission. A few months later, I got a postdoc at Wits,” Dr Kubanza said.

Dr Zethu Cakata

Dr Zethu Cakata is one of the NIHSS’ funded PhD fellows flying the humanities and social sciences flag high.  A researcher of note, Dr Cakata holds a PhD in Psychology from the University of South Africa (Unisa) and a Master’s degree in Research Psychology from the University of the Western Cape.

She has worked as a researcher at the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) and the Reproductive Health Research Unit; using her tenure at both institutions to hone her qualitative and quantitative research methodology skills.

As a lecturer in Psychology at the University of Pretoria, she taught research methodology for both undergraduate and post-graduate students. She has served as Statistics South Africa’s Deputy Director: Gender, and has contributed immensely in the publication of numerous reports that include Gender and Economic Empowerment, Gender and South African Travel Patterns as well as Gender and Education.

Her PhD studies explored the topic of indigenous languages in post-apartheid South Africa. As part of her research thesis, she wrote four papers that were instantly accepted for publication. She has also presented her work in conferences and seminars both locally and internationally.

We are proud to see the NIHSS-funded PhD fellows Alumni prosper.  Here's to wishing them all the best in all their future endeavours.