09 June 2021 | Story NONSINDISO QWABE | Photo Supplied
Dr Bekithemba Dube, Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Education on the Qwaqwa Campus, says researchers need to participate in the production of high-quality scholarship that will contribute to transformation.

Discipline, focus, and a willingness to learn all form part of the traits that avid researcher and Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Education on the Qwaqwa Campus, Dr Bekithemba Dube, cites as his master tools for productivity. This, along with the desire to be part of the transformation of African research.

Dr Dube was recognised for his outstanding contribution to the research reputation of the university in a letter from Prof Corli Witthuhn, Vice-Rector: Research and Internationalisation. He was listed as the third largest contributor to research journals across all campuses, and first for the Qwaqwa Campus. In 2020, Dr Dube published 26 articles and was announced the Most Prolific Researcher in the Faculty of Education during the Centre for Teaching and Learning’s (CTL) Excellence in Learning and Teaching Awards. Dr Dube's research focuses on the interlink between education, religion, and politics in postcolonial Africa. 

Prof Witthuhn’s letter states that his "contribution is above and beyond the call of duty and has been recognised by your peers. In the light of this, I would like to say congratulations and thank you for your exceptional hard work, effort, and dedication to support our research endeavour".

Dr Dube said the letter was an affirmation that hard work pays off. "When you work hard, regardless of space and time, eventually it speaks for itself. You cannot hide hard work." 

Pushing the agenda of African scholarship

For Dr Dube, pushing the agenda of scholarship is the most important aspect of research. "We're in a phase of transformation where initially writing was secluded to certain people, but now young African people in the periphery and outskirts can begin to contribute meaningfully; we're breaking those barriers and showing that we can be a force to be reckoned with."

One of his passions is to groom young people in academia to become prolific researchers, and he believes that the sciences and the humanities all have something to offer, not as competition, but through collaboration towards the agenda of scholarship production.

"I'm a firm believer that we can all shine together. As young people and Africans, we need to be part of this transformation. We need to be seen participating in knowledge production, especially high-quality scholarship that can contribute to transformation and address the lived realities of African people."

With the advent of COVID-19, Dr Dube focused some of his research efforts on the effects of online learning on rural students. His most cited paper,'Rural Online Learning in the Context of COVID-19 in South Africa: Evoking Inclusive Education Approach', looked at the challenges faced by rural learning in South Africa during the unprecedented time of the pandemic. "If we are to make history, we need to work now, because tomorrow is not guaranteed, but our work can continue to speak for us even after we are gone. There's nothing as sweet as knowing you've changed the narrative," he said.

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