Academic achiever Mr Luthando Molefe graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Education Honours degree in Teacher Education and Professional Development.
‘This is testimony that hard work and dedication really do pay off,’ said Molefe, who was named as one of UKZN’s Top 40 most Inspiring Students in 2017, 2018 and 2019 for his academic excellence, community engagement and leadership skills.
His academic achievements include being awarded 66 Certificates of Excellence for academic excellence, community engagement and leadership skills/roles in the various areas he is active in.
Molefe has represented UKZN and South Africa in the Young African Leaders Initiative-Regional Leadership Centre-Southern Africa (YALII-RCL-SA) and was part of a study tour for teachers in a training exchange programme in Berlin, Germany.
Molefe said: ‘I aspire to be an academic in one of the institutions of higher learning in South Africa and I want to contribute, through research and teaching and learning, including teacher education and professional development in South Africa.’
His passion for education led him to research how school memories and stories shape novice teachers’ experiences in schools. ‘When I was introduced to the concept of memory work in one of my modules – Teacher Agency in Professional Learning – during the first semester in 2020, I was touched by how powerful memories and stories of the past are and how influential they can be in determining who we are, what we presently do and what we intend to do in the future.’
Molefe hopes his research benefits novice teachers in schools by ‘offering significant insights into the cognizance of the contexts of schools by manifesting the aspects of teaching and learning, as well as school characteristics that are neglected to uplift learner’s achievements in schools.
‘We need to realise that memories of school may be reworked in a particular way and at different times in life, especially during points of educational transitions and discovering oneself, and may stay with individuals throughout their lifetime,’ he said.
Molefe thanked his family, friends and supervisor for their support throughout his studies. ‘They continue to support and encourage me in my studies and beyond.’
His supervisor Professor Daisy Pillay added, ‘In my capacity as supervisor for the Independent Research Project, I had the pleasure of working with Mr Luthando Molefe. As a newly qualified teacher, his deep interest and passion to engage critically with educational scholars in this critical area of novice teacher learning through memories and stories was most illuminating.’
He is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Education with plans to complete a PhD in Education.