African languages have long played second fiddle to the likes of English and Afrikaans in academic and educational circles in South Africa. But increasingly academics and graduates alike are recognising the role they play in promoting all of South Africa’s 11 official languages.
This was indeed the case during the recent Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) graduation ceremony at the University of Pretoria, during which PhD graduate Anastacia Mamabolo’s abstract was read out in Sepedi. This marked the first time that UP and GIBS had an abstract read in Sepedi, one of the university’s official languages of communication. Adding a personal touch, the newly capped Doctor of Philosophy’s mother tongue is Sepedi.
Mamabolo enrolled and graduated from the University of Limpopo with an MBA in 2012, winning the best MBA student award and the best MBA research report award. The MBA ignited her passion for entrepreneurship and inspired the subject of her PhD thesis which investigated the human capital investments and skills specific to the different entrepreneurship phases, namely the nascent, new business and established phases.
Since enrolling in her full-time doctoral studies in 2013 Mamabolo has been an active research faculty member at GIBS. She is currently working on the GIBS Orbit Research Project, which aims to understand how business is conducted in emerging markets with a specific focus on Africa. She has also taught on the doctoral programme and managed the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) accreditation project for GIBS. In October 2016 GIBS earned the prestigious AACSB International accreditation.
Mamabolo has published articles in peer-reviewed journals and presented at international conferences. In her spare time she is involved in youth development programmes and school outreaches.
“An advocate of hard work and achievement, Anastacia is both a role model for her contemporaries and for up-and-coming women in academia,” says GIBS Dean Nicola Kleyn.
But, for Mamabolo, this is just the next step on her masterful journey. As she says: “Being a woman means having immeasurable strength and ability. It means moving past stereotypes and expectations and embracing yourself despite them and striving for a better future. This has been a remarkable journey for me and I look forward to imparting my knowledge to other women.”