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Change the world

09/07/2024

“The sky is truly the limit” says Nelson Mandela University alumnus Dr Mario Maxwell Muller, “whose journey epitomises the boundless potential residing within each of us, awaiting only belief in oneself to set it free.”

 

Last year Dr Mario Muller graduated with a PhD in Arts and Social Sciences from Venda University.

Currently, Dr Muller is the Director of Music and Faculty Head of Creative Arts (Music, Art, Drama and Design & Technology) at Braeburn Garden Estate International School in Nairobi, Kenya.

He is also studying for a second doctor’s degree, namely in educational management, law, and policy at the University of Pretoria, under the guidance of Professor Andre du Plessis. 

In addition, Dr Muller acquired a total of 14 additional qualifications across disciplines, including Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics with a Masters in Education in Advanced Teaching for Elementary, Middle and Secondary Schools (summa cum laude) from the University of the People, USA.

Over the past 24 years, Dr Muller has been Director of Music, Faculty Lead, Professor, Lead Inspector, and Deputy Head, at international institutions in the United Kingdom, Thailand, India, South Africa, Mexico, Gabon, Thailand, and Kenya.

He has also lectured at the China Conservatory of Music, Capital Normal University and China Women's University in Beijing, while working full-time in the United Kingdom as Director of Music at Fortismere School, one of the top 12 comprehensive schools in England.

Dr Muller’s journey started with his late mother Eileen Theresa Muller, who completed her BMus (Performance) four-year degree at the then University of Port Elizabeth in 1985, He followed two decades later with his BMus (Ed) four-year degree, achieving 80% overall for his thesis with cello and pipe organ as main instruments.

“Throughout my life, my mother, a senior music lecturer at the Dower Training College for teachers, instilled in me a deep love for music, starting from my first piano lesson at the age of six and extending to my pursuit of the cello at 13. I was very young when I finished matric, so I decided to take a gap year and resided in Israel and learned Hebrew for three years before starting my studies”, he says. 

After his BMus studies he received a full scholarship to pursue his master's studies at the University of Witwatersrand, where he received a Merit Award for a master’s in music research, After one year, he had to start working, with his first post as Director of Music, and ICT at Sagewood College in Midrand.

He went on to graduate with a BEd Hons in Educational Leadership from Tshwane University of Technology, specialising in the Management of Educational Institutions and majoring in Law.

In 2012, Dr Muller obtained a master's in music education with distinction from the University of Pretoria, while stationed in England.

In addition, Dr Muller also achieved dual Licentiates from the United Kingdom and a Fellowship in Music Literacy, with a thesis from the University of West London and the London College of Music.

He recently qualified as head teacher, culminating in the attainment of the National Professional Qualification for Headship from the Leadership Learning Securing Excellence, UK, in collaboration with Cambridge University and Christ Church University of Canterbury. He was also recognised as a finalist for the prestigious Cambridge Dedicated Teacher Award.

Dr Muller has published 53 works worldwide, including books in Waterstones in the United Kingdom, and Barnes and Noble stores in the United States of America.

In reflection, Dr Muller acknowledges with gratitude the foundational pillars laid by his lecturers at Mandela University and dedicates his academic endeavours to honouring his late mother, Eileen, his father, Douglas, and his late brothers Fabian and Sebastian. His remaining siblings Damian Muller, Darlene Muller-Gajjar, and his sister-in-law, Mandie Muller.

Dr Muller would like to extend his heartfelt gratitude to all his friends who have enriched his life and career over the years. He wishes to give special acknowledgement to Paul Colman (Senior Examiner) from the London College of Music, University of West London for his unwavering emotional support to Dr Muller throughout his music studies, which has been pivotal in his completion of music studies and academic excellence.

Dr Muller's favourite quote is from the late (Tata) Nelson Mandela, for whom he had the honour of playing the cello as part of the orchestra at Mandela's 85th birthday celebration in Sandton Convention Centre in 2003: "Music is a great blessing. It has the power to elevate and liberate us."

Contact information
Ms Elma de Koker
Internal Communication Practitioner
Tel: 041-504 2160
elma.dekoker@mandela.ac.za