Dr Mpho Tshivase is a senior lecturer at the University of Pretoria and obtained her PhD in Philosophy from the University of Johannesburg. She is the first Black woman to achieve this significant accolade in South Africa and it is a testament to her hard work, passion and commitment to this field. In addition to these achievements, she is the first Black woman president of the Philosophy Society of South Africa and has a list of awards and recognitions behind her.
“Professionally, my role involves lecturing undergraduate and postgraduate students and supervising postgraduate research projects,” says Tshivase. “I am currently abroad on a visiting scholarship as part of building international scholarship on topics relating to African knowledge systems and the works produced therein. Part of the aim of this project is to decolonise academia and what we teach at universities in Africa.”
Tshivase is, on top of this impressive workload, a researcher. She works in the fields of uniqueness, personhood and African ethics and this work intersects with her other research themes of feminism, love, death, authenticity, and autonomy among others.
“I also have an interest in exploring the ontological status of Blackness,” says Tshivase. “I am a guardian to a group of students who form an executive committee of the Faculty House in Humanities, an academic mentor for some students on the Student Representative Council, and I am a consultant at Redhill School in Johannesburg, which runs a project on philosophy for children.”
Tshivase plays multiple roles across numerous education institutions and levels of society, but she’s tempered with a deep humility and awareness of others.
“I have humbly learned not to plan for the future, as tomorrow is a mystery that will only become known to me when it manifests,” she concludes. “My journey has been affected by many people in different yet valuable ways, especially by my late mother, who unfailingly prioritised my wellbeing. She created a space for me to use the world as laboratory where I could experiment with different ideas and models of life.” – Tamsin Oxford