Transformation in a country begins with transformation in the education sector, and Mlamuli Nkosingphile Hlatshwayo is involved in this.
His academic record — graduating cum laude with his master’s in social sciences and last year getting his PhD in education — has landed him at the University of KwaZulu-Natal as a lecturer, where he’s making sense of and theorising the transformation challenges in the higher education system.
Hlatshwayo argues that “public and historically-white universities in South Africa continue to produce what Nat Nakasa and more recently Siseko Kumalo have referred to as the natives of nowhere”. He’s hoping to contribute to this body of knowledge to make sense of transformation and recentre Africa and the Global South when it comes to knowledge production.
His grandmother is a source of inspiration and in his work Hlatshwayo often alludes to how influenced he is by her and the sacrifices she has made to ensure the family could have a better future. His proudest moment was receiving his PhD at Rhodes University with his grandmother in attendance, explaining how her presence has allowed him to never take anything for granted and to always strive to improve.
Hlatshwayo also emphasises the value of supportive friends and colleagues in offering mentorship, guidance, opportunities and networks that helped him succeed, and hopes to do the same for others who follow him through the tertiary education system. “I truly believe that without these social capital networks of care and support, I would not be where I am today”, he says.