Young dean to tackle so­cial is­sues

The New Age (KwaZulu-Natal) - - Kwazulu-natal News - TNA RE­PORTER

AS THE youngest dean in the coun­try, Pro­fes­sor Thabo Msibi, 34, dean and head of the school of ed­u­ca­tion at the Univer­sity of KwaZulu-Natal, is com­mit­ted to trans­for­ma­tion and youth empower­ment.

Ac­cord­ing to UKZN, Msibi has “a pro­found fo­cus on un­der­stand­ing how marginal­i­sa­tion, prej­u­dice and dis­crim­i­na­tion im­pact peo­ple’s con­struc­tion of their iden­ti­ties and ex­pe­ri­ences in in­sti­tu­tions”.

“Through eval­u­at­ing the na­ture of sex­u­al­ity in re­la­tion to school­ing, Msibi’s work more broadly tack­les so­cial jus­tice is­sues in the con­text of cur­ricu­lum de­vel­op­ment and im­ple­men­ta­tion.

“His path into academia was never planned. He walked into it be­cause of, op­por­tu­nity, ex­pe­ri­ences and the cir­cum­stances he found him­self in. Start­ing as a tu­tor while pur­su­ing his hon­ours, Msibi was of­fered a bur­sary to study over­seas,” his men­tor Chrisly Hamp­son, for­mer head of the UKZN school of ed­u­ca­tion, said.

Armed with a bach­e­lor of ed­u­ca­tion de­gree (UKZN), a bach­e­lor of ed­u­ca­tion hon­ours (UKZN), a master of ed­u­ca­tion from Columbia Univer­sity and a PhD from the Univer­sity of Cam­bridge, Msibi aims to cre­ate so­cial co­he­sion.

“I am heav­ily in­vested in a project of un­learn­ing, a project of what Bel Hocks calls trans­gres­sion where you at­tempt to try to bring about par­tic­u­lar con­sci­en­ti­sa­tion of peo­ple,” he said.

Msibi dis­missses the no­tion of ed­u­ca­tion as a mutual en­tity.

“Ed­u­ca­tion is po­lit­i­cal, ev­ery­thing you do within ed­u­ca­tion is in­formed by our his­tory. It is in­formed by our ex­pe­ri­ences. When you come into a space, we come from all th­ese di­verse ex­pe­ri­ences and the aim is to make pro­duc­tive sense of this dif­fer­ence and try to cre­ate a new plat­form to un­der­stand each other more and to ap­pre­ci­ate each other more,” he said.

He has ini­ti­ated an or­gan­i­sa­tion called the Com­mu­nity De­vel­op­ment As­so­ci­a­tion which un­der­takes work on a vol­un­tary ba­sis in dis­ad­van­taged schools and is driven by his stu­dents at UKZN’s Edge­wood cam­pus. – 701198

PIC­TURE: UKZN

YOUNG AND IN­FORMED: Pro­fes­sor Thabo Msibi.

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