Dr Hangwelani Hope Magidimisha is the first black South African woman to achieve a PhD in regional planning from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN). With a host of peer-reviewed publications to her name — the latest a book published this year on migration in southern Africa — Magidimisha was a PhD researcher at the Human Sciences and Research Council before moving to UKZN, where she teaches and supervises master’s and PhD students and continues her research.
Magidimisha’s administrative competency saw her being appointed as a senior lecturer and academic leader for the housing and town planning cluster, as well as a member of the university Senate and Institutional Forum. She is also a council member of the South African Council for Planners and a committee member of the KZN Planning Tribunal. This caught the attention of the international community, specifically the International Society of City and Regional Planning, which appointed her to direct the first workshop for Young Professional Planners in South Africa in 2016.
“In my field, innovation is often seen as the ability to create value for use by others, and this has been my strategy when reaching out to others. One of my innovative interventions focuses on ways to enable a greater number of students to complete their master’s degree programmes in a relative short period of time, while still in keeping with university regulations,” explains Magidimisha.
To achieve this, she introduced the concept of group supervision, an innovative strategy which heavily relies on group support mechanisms, learning by doing, experience sharing and moral support though under the strict guidance of the supervisor.
“The approach of group supervision removed the element of solitude among students, and helped to boost their morale. The eventual graduation of many students in a relative short space of time was enough testimony to the success of this intervention measure.” — Linda Doke