Distinguished Women in Science: Social Sciences and Humanities
Winner: Prof. Pearl Mpilenhle Sithole
Prof. Pearl Sithole obtained her PhD in Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge in 2001. She is an Associate Professor and Anthropologist based at the Community Development Programme at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN). Before returning to teaching at UKZN recently, she had been a Senior Research Specialist with the Human Sciences Research Council.
Prof. Sithole’s areas of intellectual passion are knowledge production, governance and development (with specific focus on local government and traditional leadership), and gender analysis. She has published over 20 research papers in peer-reviewed journals, authored and co-authored three books and contributed eight book chapters. Her intellectual advocacy project is captured well in her book ”Unequal Peers: The Politics of Discourse Management in the Social Sciences (2009).”
Prof. Sithole’s innovative writings on African scholarship not only confront the politics of knowledge production, but also advance innovative mechanisms for the integration of advocacy and policy strands with theoretical relevance. Prof. Sithole is also a political analyst, a contributor to writings advancing community work, and a board member/panellist for many heritage institutions and academic panels.
First Runner-Up: Prof. Sandra Scott Swart
Prof. Sandra Scott Swart received her PhD in Modern History from Oxford University in 2001, while simultaneously obtaining an MSc in Environmental Change and Management, which she received with distinction. She is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of History at Stellenbosch University. Prof. Scott Swart’s current research is into themes of social and environmental history. She has done most of her research in archives, in South Africa and abroad, but her favourite research was conducting oral history interviews on horseback in the mountains of Lesotho.
Prof. Swart has 18 single-author articles and three co-authored articles in refereed journals. She has six chapters in academic books. She has also contributed chapters to textbooks and a popular history book, and produced academic book reviews, public speeches and web articles. She made an appearance on the SABC documentary Shorelines. In the past four years she has co-written two academic books, co-edited another and solo-authored ”Riding High — Horses, Humans and History in South Africa” (Witwatersrand University Press, 2010), which was longlisted for the Alan Paton Award. She is an Editor of the South African Historical Journal. She has sat on the editorial board of Agricultural History (USA-based) and Kronos. She has just been elected Vice-President of the Southern African Historical Society.
Prof. Swart has won the Rector’s Award for Research at Stellenbosch University. Her most recent awards include a grant from the Humane Society of the United States. She won the HB and MJ Thom Bursary and Ernest Oppenheimer Memorial Trust awards for sabbatical support. She has won numerous NRF grants and a Ford Foundation Grant for travel. Prof. Scott Swart has a Y1 rating from the NRF.
Second Runner-Up: Prof. Andrea Saayman
Prof. Andrea Saayman obtained her PhD in 2002 at North West University. She is a Professor in the School of Economics at the same institution. Prof. Saayman’s research focuses on the international movement of people and money, and has contributed significantly to the field of tourism economics, in which she investigates the trends and impacts of tourism. As tourism is a key growth sector in the South African economy, her research is of importance for the social and economic development of regions in South Africa.
Prof. Saayman serves on the central council of the International Association of Tourism Economics. Prof. Saayman has published 41 peer-reviewed articles, nationally and internationally, has been an invited speaker nationally and internationally, and has presented more than 50 conference papers to date. She has co-authored a textbook for Economics students and completed 47 industry-based reports. She serves on the editorial boards of two international journals, has reviewed articles for nine other national and international journals, and has served as a reviewer for the NRF. Prof. Saayman holds a Y2 rating from the NRF.
This article originally appeared in the Mail & Guardian newspaper as an advertorial supplement