Change the world


Reasons to be Proud - #R2bP: Nelson Mandela University’s Centre for Women and Gender Studies (CWGS) has been recognised nationally by the Human Science Research Council – Universities South Africa (HRSC-USAf) Humanities and Social Sciences Awards for their scholarly efforts towards social justice.

CWGS, launched at the University in 2019, and the first gender scholarship entity in the Eastern Cape, scooped the award in the Team category, ahead of the University of Johannesburg and Rhodes University.

In her acceptance speech, CWGS interim director, Professor Babalwa Magoqwana thanked, among others, the leadership of Mandela University for affording them the freedom to pursue their scholarship.

“To the leadership of the most dynamic African university: Vice-Chancellor Professor Sibongile Muthwa; Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Engagement and Transformation Professor Andre Keet; Executive Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, Professor Pamela Maseko, DVC: Research, Innovation and Internationalisation Dr Thandi Mgwebi and Dr Kwezi Mzilikazi who is representing the  Research Office… thank you for allowing us to go wild with the vision of centring African women’s intellectual histories in the academy and across the African continent,” Prof Magoqwana said.

“[We thank] the team from the Centre for Women and Gender Studies, the students who have worked so hard to make sure that we hold the project together with the Chair for African Feminist Imaginations, Professor Phumla Gqola, the collaborators from Rhodes University, the University of Johannesburg, University of South Africa, University of Fort Hare, University of Pretoria, University of Cape Town and the whole community of black women around the world who have lent a hand in this particular project.”

She also thanked the Faculty of Humanities at Mandela University which consistently supports them and also the National Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences (NIHSS) which has been a grounding and rooting support for the work “that we do at Mandela University. They have never shaken or asked too many questions on why we are seeking epistemic justice in the gender agenda in Africa.”

Every year, the HSRC and USAf award and acknowledge scholars who have made an outstanding contribution to the social sciences and humanities through their research. This year, the awards aimed to recognise research excellence under the social justice theme.

For the Team category, nominees needed to demonstrate their contribution to South Africa’s understanding of social justice scholarship.

“They should be able to demonstrate their contribution to diversity and inclusion in their science research work, a record of sustained academic excellence in the social sciences and humanities, recent collaborations with outputs and an international reputation for their scholarship, a strong record for contribution to the public’s understanding of the social sciences and/or humanities in the area or theme of their scholarship, evidence of meaningful and impactful work over a period (for example, impact on public policy, community intervention etc) in the social sciences and humanities in terms of social justice scholarship,” the announcement said.

CWGS was recognised for its work with the Chair in African Feminist Imaginations in foregrounding “African women’s often-forgotten power and leadership in society” and the “spotlighting of African women’s biographical and intellectual histories while developing a gender intellectual corridor in the Eastern Cape with Rhodes and Fort Hare universities”.

The team’s work and collaborations on various activities, including the Dr Brigalia Bam Archive Project with the Faculty of Humanities; and the Author Fridays Series that brings together authors, academics, researchers and students to critically engage on topics relating to gender.

A significant part of CWGS’ work, in collaboration with the Chair and other partners, is that of empowering postgraduate students from across the Eastern Cape through its annual summer schools and writing workshops. 

The CWGS team includes Siphokazi Tau, Simran Juglal, Qhama Noveve, Khanyisile Khunga and Wendy Adams.

Centre for Women and Gender Studies interim director, Professor Babalwa Magoqwana (second from left) celebrates with (from left) DVC: Engagement and Transformation Professor Andre Keet; Director: Research Support Management; Dr Kwezi Mzilikazi and Executive Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, Professor Pamela Maseko at the awards.

Contact information
Ms Zandile Mbabela
Media Manager
Tel: 0415042777