Dr Marshall Maposa, a lecturer in History Education, was recently honoured by the English Academy of Southern Africa with the prestigious Thomas Pringle award for Best Education article published in the 2017 academic year.
The Award, named after poet and writer Thomas Pringle, is an annual award for work published in newspapers, periodicals and journals.
Maposa’s award-winning article is on the representation of the African being in South African history textbooks. Stemming from his doctoral research, the article shows how the representation of the African being is full of contradictions mainly as a result of the processes and context of textbook production.
In his paper, he argues that this representation has a bearing on the African consciousness that the textbooks construct for their users and this consciousness is then manifested through actions.
‘The study was born out of my efforts to link my research to my teaching. I am keen on African history and the way it is taught and this research is related to the modules I teach at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. I had already gained an interest in textbook research so I linked my two interests to come up with the study. For this article, I decided to focus on the African being as I argue that our understanding of the concept contributes to the nature of our African consciousness,’ said Maposa.
He was presented with the award by the President of the English Academy of Southern Africa Professor Mbongeni Malaba who described Maposa as ‘a consistent achiever whose research is thought-provoking and relevant.’
Dean and Head of the School of Education Professor Thabo Msibi lauded Maposa’s achievement saying, ‘This award is in recognition of one of our own whose article is of a topical nature that links to the decolonisation debate. We are proud of Dr Maposa. He is a brilliant ambassador for excellence in research.’
Said Maposa, ‘I feel greatly honoured that my work has gotten this recognition. I know a couple of established academics who have won it before me and it feels special to attain the same recognition as they have. It also feels special to know that the work that I produce is not only read, but is considered of worthwhile quality. This is a moment of joy for everyone close to me.’
His advice to other scholars is, ‘Research what you have an interest in, be confident of your abilities, be proud of your work, but also be its first critic. One day someone, big or small, will acknowledge your efforts and that will be a great bonus.’