Award, public profile and international conferences – nGAP makes its mark

22 October 2019 | Story Robert Morrell. Photos Provided. Read time 3 min.
Philile at the University of Michigan.
Philile at the University of Michigan.

Philile Mbatha – Invited to the University of Michigan

Philile was recently awarded a prestigious scholarship to visit the University of Michigan for a semester. She reports that after her first two months on the UMAPS programme “all her expectations have been exceeded”.

NGAP makes its mark
Philile with UMAPS colleagues at the University of Michigan

The University of Michigan African Presidential Scholars Program (UMAPS) brings early career faculty from African universities to Ann Arbor, Michigan. Scholars are paired with a faculty collaborator during their stay. The program supports the development of the next generation of African scholars by integrating them into international academic networks while promoting research and teaching collaborations across diverse disciplines.

Philile has, with 13 other UMAPS scholars, been in Ann Arbor since August. She writes that “we were initially welcomed by the programme directors in a two-week long orientation. We were introduced to different people and activities within the university and the wider Ann Arbor and Detroit areas. I have been paired up with a mentor, Dr Bilal Butt, who is a professor in the School for Environment and Sustainability. We meet weekly and develop my research ideas, as well as preparing for a postgraduate module that I am planning to teach at UCT when I return”.

NGAP makes its mark
Halala Winner is a translingual book developed in connection with the Stars of Today Literacy Club in Khayelitsha. Xolisa worked with the club to collect data for her doctoral studies, focusing on linguistic third spaces in education. The book was produced by Xolisa, members of the club together with two authors from Fundza Literacy Trust, as well as Brandan Reynolds, the Business Day cartoonist who made the illustrations for the book.

The book started off as a translingual book written in isiXhosa-English-Afrikaans and is now available in Setswana-English and isiZulu-English. The book got the attention of an official from the Department of Basic Education, who appreciated its contribution for debating bilingual education.

Xolisa read and launched the isiZulu-English and Setswana-English versions of Halala Winner at the South African Book Fair at Constitution Hill, Johannesburg, in September.

Amanda Mtya – construction computing in Italy

NGAP makes its mark
Amanda Mtya at registration in Senigallia

Amanda attended the Summer School on ‘Computing in Construction’ held in Senigallia in July. Senigallia is a port town on the east coast of Italy, due east from Florence and close to the provincial capital city Ancona. Amanda describes the learning experience as ‘intense’ – a normal day lasted twelve hours, from 09:00 to 21:00!

“The course went beyond my expectations and the great part was that from all the consultations and access to international projects and information I narrowed my PhD topic/focus.”

Kentse Mpolokeng – conferences at home and abroad

NGAP makes its mark
Dr Geney Gunston, Miss Kentse Mpolokeng and Dr Jaqcui Friedling (Department of Human Biology, Division of Clinical Anatomy and Biological Anthropology).

Kentse attended the 47th annual conference of the Anatomical Society of Southern Africa, hosted by the University of Pretoria and held at Pilanesberg. For her oral presentation she was awarded the first runner up position for the Hanno-Boon Award in the Medical Education session. She also joined colleagues and attended the conference of the International Federation of Associations of Anatomists (IFAA 2019), held in London in August.

In London she presented three posters: “An intra-orbital study of the human orbit showing a single ethmoidal foramen for the transport of the neurovascular structures – a rare case”, “Access to human cadaver material by an international researcher from an institution that does not use cadavers in their medical training” and “The use of human tissue as a way to enhance classroom learning: an inter-university collaboration”.

Taahira Goolam Hoosen – Empowering writers at the Faculty of Health Sciences

The annual National Writing Centre Colloquium was held at the University of Pretoria in September. The theme was ‘Consultant Training’ and was an opportunity for South African writing centres to share their practices on meeting the challenges to support student academic literacy development. Taahira and a senior consultant represented the University of Cape Town’s Faculty of Health Sciences Writing Lab.

They emphasised the importance of consultants sharing their valuable knowledge of theory to develop a conceptual framework and support authorial identity development. This is part of the Lab’s current research study to theorise writing consultants’ practices and reflect on their transformative ideology to empower writers, rather than the dominant discourse of ‘fix the writing’.

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Please view the republishing articles page for more information.

New Generation of Academics Programme (nGAP)


UCT has responded energetically to the New Generation of Academics Programme (nGAP), an opportunity provided by the Department of Higher Education (DHET) to build a new generation of black South African academics. The DHET’s 2015 vision document, “Staffing South Africa’s Universities Framework: A comprehensive, transformative approach to developing future generations of academics and building staff capacity”, proposes a suite of initiatives to address the challenge, with nGAP being the major instrument to increase the numbers of black South African academics.

The programme “involves the recruitment of highly capable scholars as new academics, against carefully designed and balanced equity considerations and in light of the disciplinary areas of greatest need”. The nGAP scholars are appointed into permanent positions where from the outset their conditions are customised to ensure their successful induction into the ranks of established academics.

The DHET provides funding over a six-year period to support the appointment of an nGAP lecturer, and their time is protected to provide the best possible opportunity for the completion of a doctorate degree in the shortest possible time. Once the degree is completed, the nGAP lecturer’s teaching commitments are steadily increased until they shoulder a full teaching load.

Since the first advertisement for nGAP posts in 2015, UCT has been awarded 17 nGAP positions: 5 (Phase 1), 4 (Phase 2), 3 (Phase 3) and 5 (Phase 4). These are distributed across all faculties.

UCT’s nGAP scholars operate as a single cohort, managed and coordinated by Dr Robert Morrell. Lecturers meet for quarterly meetings, writing retreats and various capacity-building activities all designed to support the completion of postgraduate qualifications (particularly doctorates) and to develop records of achievement that will testify to their emergence as self-standing, excellent academics. Each lecturer is mentored by a senior scholar, who provides support and guidance on the challenges that routinely face academics.

The nGAP manager sets great store in building the cohesion of the cohort and encouraging the establishment of new UCT networks while producing a collaborative, mutually supportive and embracing work culture.

According to Dr Morrell, “This group of academics will lead UCT in 15 to 20 years’ time ... Their vision of excellence, of being African and South African, of serving a wider community and producing knowledge for the planet, the continent and the country, will power UCT in years to come.”



May 2021 10:00, 3 May 2021
April 2020 09:00, 29 April 2020
October 2019 12:50, 25 October 2019
March 2019 14:50, 22 March 2019
November 2018 20:30, 5 November 2018
July 2018 10:30, 15 July 2018
February 2018 08:30, 21 February 2018
October 2017 10:30, 15 October 2017


In the news

Bianca Arendse: New nGAP lecturer Bianca Arendse joined Organisational Psychology in the School of Management Studies in the commerce faculty at UCT as a Phase 5 nGAP lecturer at the beginning of 2020. 29 Apr 2020
Maxwell Tawanda Chirehwa: New nGAP associate Maxwell Chirehwa is a research officer in the Division of Clinical Pharmacology in the Department of Medicine at UCT and has recently been appointed as an nGAP associate. 29 Apr 2020
Melissa-Rose Abrahams published in Science Translational Medicine Melissa-Rose Abrahams was the first author on a paper published in October 2019 in the Science Translational Medicine journal. 29 Apr 2020
Musa Nxele: Paris, Parish and a PhD Musa Nxele has recently returned from Paris, France, after spending months studying towards his PhD. 29 Apr 2020
Anatomy of a transformation Transforming an entire academic section – staff, curriculum, texts and culture – takes an exceptional team with big vision. Meet the winners of the 2019 Vice-Chancellor’s Transformation Award. 02 Dec 2019
nGAP: Growth, profile and consolidation Writing retreats provide a chance for sustained writing, and many take advantage of this, waking up early and burning the midnight oil. 22 Oct 2019
Department of Higher Education creates a task team on gender-based violence In May Naledi Pandor, then Minister of Higher Education and Training (DHET), appointed a Task Team to advise her on how to help to prevent sexual harassment and sexual violence at universities. 22 Oct 2019
Award, public profile and international conferences – nGAP makes its mark Philile Mbatha, Amanda Mtya, Kentse Mpolokeng and Taahira Goolam Hoosen have been busy. 22 Oct 2019
Zevenwacht writing retreat Writing retreats are a staple of nGAP life. These quarterly events are held at local conference venues and provide ideal conditions for writing, reflection and connection. 22 Oct 2019
Andiswa Mfengu: New nGAP associate Andiswa Mfengu is a lecturer in the Department of Knowledge and Information Stewardship. 22 Oct 2019
Muzi Sikhonde: New nGAP member Muzi Sikhonde has just joined the Numeracy Centre in the Centre for Higher Education and Development (CHED). 22 Oct 2019
Nastassja Koen: New nGAP member Nastassja joined nGAP in August 2019 having successfully applied for a Phase 5 position. She is a senior lecturer in the Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health. 22 Oct 2019
Envisioning a bright future Rising UCT academic Mochelo Lefoka says he has his grandparents to thank for instilling in him an understanding of the value of a quality education. 10 Dec 2018
Book launch inspires budding scientists The interactive launch of UCT academic Xolisa Guzula’s isiXhosa translation of the children’s book by Lucy and Stephen Hawking took place last week. 19 Jun 2018
Why the people's Parliament is failing the people Two researchers in law offer new insights into the failure of the recent no-confidence vote and efforts to hold the president to account for Nkandla. 19 Sep 2017
How do youth find their place in the world? A UCT contingent’s July 2017 trip to Japan kick-started a research project that interrogates how citizenship is experienced and claimed by young South Africans and Japanese. 07 Sep 2017
UCT in M&G’s top 200 UCT students, alumni and staff have put in a strong showing on the 2017 Mail & Guardian 200 Young South Africans list. 14 Jul 2017
Translating a path to success Xolisa Guzula is working hard to ensure that isiXhosa-speaking children are able to learn and read in their own language. 11 Jul 2017
Decolonial Alternatives Project Space A former burial ground for black men, women and children who were taken into slavery on the Rustenburg slave plantation during the early colonial period will be developed into a unique heritage site at UCT. 14 Sep 2016
Meet a new generation of UCT academics Five new members of staff – all part of the New Generation of Academics Programme (nGAP) – speak about what brought them to UCT, and what they're doing to advance the fields of public law, anatomy, African studies, architecture and human geography. 26 May 2016
PhD examines complex governance systems in Kosi Bay It was the timely intervention of a far-sighted early mentor, Professor Dianne Scott, in Philile Mbatha's honours year at the University of KwaZulu-Natal that changed the course of her life. 26 May 2016
Professionalisation the tonic for municipalities' dysfunction Violent service protests across the country reflect the disjuncture between the needs of civil society's poorest and local government's roll-out of resources and services. It's a topic close to Phindile Ntliziywana's heart. One of UCT's five New Generation of Academics Programme (nGAP) participants, Ntliziywana's PhD examines how the public service, specifically local government, can be improved. 17 May 2016
'Why do we still aspire to whiteness?' Zuziwe Msomi, an nGAP* lecturer in the Centre for African Studies, is interrogating racial identity in post-apartheid South Africa. 16 May 2016
Sadiq Toffa, the nGAP scholar with a commitment to transformative knowledge The New Generation of Academics Programme (nGAP) is an initiative funded by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) in partnership with individual universities that recruits young scholars into permanent academic positions at South African universities. 03 May 2016
"Bold" Mpolokeng believes in the beauty of her dreams When Kentse Mpolokeng took up an nGAP* lectureship in anatomy at UCT at the beginning of this year, she was fulfilling a career ambition that she had spelled out to an interview panel years ago. But it almost didn't happen. 15 Apr 2016