"I'd like to see postgraduate students across academic disciplines getting together on a regular basis to exchange and share ideas and experiences" - Dr Gairoonisa Paleker.
Dr Gairoonisa Paleker is a UCT product, through and through. She graduated with a BA in 1991 and an HDE in 1992. Then, after several years working in the "real world", she came back in 1999 to take on her honours degree - and has been here ever since.
"I really enjoy UCT - the physical location itself, as well as the academic environment," she says. "I love researching history, and while I was away, I realised that I actually wanted to be an academic."
Paleker's postdoctoral research is an extension of her PhD. Her project is to rewrite her thesis for publication.
"My PhD thesis examined the creation of what was known as the "black film industry" in South Africa during the apartheid years," she says. "This film industry was a result of the introduction of a state subsidy for film productions in African languages and intended for African audiences."
Introduced in the early 1970s, the subsidy was known as the 'B-scheme'. This distinguished it from the 'A-scheme' or the general subsidy, which was introduced in 1956 for films in English and Afrikaans intended for a white audience.
"The thesis examines the historical context of production and exhibition of these films, as well as engaging in close textual analyses of selected films."
Despite enjoying her life "tremendously" at UCT, Paleker is not uncritical of the university's postgraduate structures.
"The PhD experience itself is vastly different for different people," she notes. "For me, it was a challenging but solitary experience.
"I think what would really offset the solitude of individual research and writing would be a more engaged postgraduate community. I'd like to see postgraduate students across academic disciplines getting together on a regular basis to exchange and share ideas and experiences."
But Paleker has no intention of leaving once her postdoctoral work is complete.
"I would definitely want to stay in an academic environment, ideally at UCT," she says. "But I am open to wherever opportunity could take me."
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