Change the world


Nelson Mandela University currently has 11 nGAP (soon to be 12) lecturers and intends to employ four more for Phase 5 of the programme by 2020, says acting Research Capacity Development Director, Dr Denise Schael.

The nGAP (New Generation of Academics Programme) is a DHET-funded initiative, which began in 2016 through the broader University Capacity Development Programme from the DHET which benefits our university.

The aim is to grow young academic talent for the tertiary sector by appointing masters graduates in specialist fields and fast-tracking their development, completion of their doctorate degree and equipping them to be confident, skilled academics within a six-year period. These lecturers are appointed as permanent academics.

Anthea Christoffels-du Plessis (Law: Criminal and Procedural Law)

Anthea’s research interest focuses on customary fishing rights of communities and their relationship with existing fisheries law.

These communities are a largely neglected category of fishers and the law offers little to no recognition for their customary fishing rights.

This is exacerbated, in the era of environmental awareness and preservation of declining marine resources whereby these communities are seldom consulted when laws are created to protect marine resources.

As a result of this widespread marginalisation and the current fisheries laws, they are effectively denied their customary rights to fish.

Her research explores whether the government is fulfilling its obligation to recognise and protect the customary right of these fishing communities.

Boswell Douse (Engineering: Maritime Engineering – Naval Architecture)

As a Naval Architecture PhD candidate, Boswell is doing his doctoral studies at the University of Southampton, supported by the Faculty of EBEIT.

He explains that all fishing vessel hulls are designed for northern hemisphere ocean conditions and that our southern oceans are very different, which calls for a different design of hull.

“We have bigger, more powerful swells and the vessels roll a lot more in the southern hemisphere oceans, which is not comfortable for the seafarers on the boats, he says.

Another factor that needs to be built into the design is the high-temperature variability in the southern hemisphere oceans — from the cold temperatures when they go down south to the hot, tropical conditions up the east coast of Africa.”

Nomtha Hadi (Business & Economic Sciences: Shipping and Ports Management)

The decisions we make in the next several decades will shape the future of the oceans economy more than any other period in human history.

This is one of the underlying reasons Nomtha is conducting her research on the future of South Africa’s oceans economy.

The oceans economy is essential to the future welfare and prosperity of humankind. It is a key source of food, energy, minerals, health, leisure and transport upon which hundreds of millions of people depend (OECD, 2016).

Her research extrapolates recent trends to see what the possible future for South Africa’s oceans economy towards 2060 might be.

Obakeng Kagola (Education: Foundation phase)

Early Childhood Development lecturer Obakeng explores the perception of school governing body members towards Foundation Phase male teachers in Eastern Cape schools.

His research also focuses on play pedagogy within the early years of learning, with a key interest on the formation of teacher identity surrounded by decolonisation and the role gender plays in the post-development of teaching and learning in Early Childhood Education and Care.

Pretty Magangxa (Education: Foundation Phase)

Pretty explores student teachers’ self-reflections on the implementation of isiXhosa literacy strategies to Grade 3 learners.

Research consistently highlights that learners in Grade 4, especially in African languages, cannot read and write with meaning.

One of several factors that impede the literacy development of these learners is the ineffective instructional strategies practised in the Foundation Phase (FP) classrooms.

As such, the Department of Higher Education (2015) devised ways to strengthen Initial Teacher Education by offering bursaries to student teachers registered to teach African languages in the Foundation Phase.

On the other hand, the DHET hired teachers that specialise in this field. Pretty’s research seeks to establish isiXhosa literacy strategies that student teachers employ in these classrooms.

Mulalo Makhuvha (Science: Mathematics and Applied Mathematics)

Modelling the effectiveness of control measures from the within-host dynamics to the population dynamics of sleeping sickness is the area of Mulalo’s research.

Her research focuses on using mathematical modelling in assessing the effectiveness of control measures in eliminating and eradicating one of the neglected tropical diseases called sleeping sickness.

The disease infects both animals and humans and has a negative impact on the economy, with losses of livestock, and on the reproduction of livestock. Humans experience a sleeping disorder and it is fatal if left untreated. Due to poverty in disease prevalent places, the cost-effectiveness of the control is important to consider when eradicating the disease.

Lucky Maluleke (Education: TVET)

Lucky’s research interest is in technical and vocational education and training, specifically as it relates to career choices that students make.

To understand career choices and education provision and access, he is interested in the various forms of inequalities that shape individual lives, preferences and possible life destinations.

So far, Lucky has published in the area of vocational education and students, as well as on the notion of capabilities.

He likes to work with people interested in this area, focusing on structural in/equality in developing countries.

Dr Andiswa Mvanyashe (Arts: isiXhosa Language & Literature)

Dr Mvanyashe’s doctoral research focused on the semiotics in selected isiXhosa novels. Semiotics is the science of signs and symbols.

Her research has emanated from the use of cultural semiotics that can be interpreted differently due to different cultural backgrounds and beliefs.

She has employed a qualitative desktop analysis to interpret the signs and symbols used in the novels to catalyse meaning.

Navashni Naidoo (Science: Archaeology)

Navashni’s PhD research aims to explain how carbon and oxygen isotopes preserved in the tooth enamel of ungulates (large mammals with hoofs such as horses, rhinoceroses and cattle) are affected by seasonal climatic variation across South Africa’s year-round rainfall zone.

This will be done by serial sampling teeth from ungulates across the National Parks within the year-round rainfall zone.

The study aims to provide a modern baseline against which archaeological samples can be tested.

Johannes Sibeko (Arts: Applied Language Studies)  

Digital humanities is the research area of Johannes, in an era where writing ability has become a questionable indication of literacy.

With spell and grammar checking software being developed on a frequent basis, the current writing teaching pedagogy needs advancement.

His PhD research studies writing from a perspective of developmental digital humanities whereby a new framework into writing pedagogy for the technological era is hoped to be devised.

Lesego Sepato (Science: Statistics)

Lesego’s research area is data science, deep learning, Artificial Intelligence and machine learning.

Her research aims to develop a new application of credit scoring that will assess the entire life cycle of the credit facility from inception to closure and, in so doing, reinvent the way credit is offered and facilitated.

Her niche area is focused on facilitating basic statistics across non-statistics majoring students, whereas other areas include statistical inference, categorical data analysis, multivariate data analysis and financial time series analysis.

Lesego is involved with AIMS (African Institute of Mathematical Sciences) South Africa, which collaborates with local universities to initiate long-term research programmes in the local academic community, she is also a regular member of ISI (International Statistics Institute) and an active SASA (South African Statistical Association) participant.

At a writing workshop from the front left to the back Obakeng Kagola, Johannes Sibeko, Prof Naydene de Lange (programme mentor), Anthea Christoffels-du Plessis, Pretty Magangxa, Nomtha Hadi, Dr Andiswa Mvanyashe, Lucky Maluleke, Mulalo Makhuvha, Boswell Douse and Navashni Naidoo.


Contact information
Ms Elma de Koker
Internal Communication Practitioner
Tel: 041-504 2160