Becoming a new kind of professional: A black woman academic caught in a transition

Mohope, Sebolai S.
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The post-1994 democracy in South Africa sought new policies to steer higher education institutions (HEIs) towards transformation, intended to end the segregation policies of apartheid. Although certain policies led to HEIs opening their doors to students and staff from different backgrounds and institutions, the legacy of apartheid continued to haunt, both overtly and covertly, black women academics, amongst others, as they attempted to pursue their teaching and research identities in these new contexts. It is against this background that the author explores her personal experiences as a black academic, using an auto-ethnographic qualitative method to reveal ‘sensitive issues and innermost thoughts’ that are not normally within reach (Chatham-Carpenter in Ngunjiri, Hernandez and Chang 2010, 17). She explores her professional position and experiences within HEIs, as these institutions grappled with issues of transformation. She describes what it was like being part of the process of moving from one university, which had been reserved for blacksʼ to another – one that was then a ‘white’ HEI. The author explores how her teacher training in a ‘blacks only’ university led to the kinds of knowledge and practices that in her new context either enabled or constrained her advancement. She then questions the lack of mentorship in these new contexts, and concludes by reflecting on how these experiences may assist a new generation of black women academics and help support transformation goals for HEIs in general.
Organisational change – South African higher education , Mentorship – South African higher education , Community of practice – South African higher education , Institutional transformation – South African higher education
Mohope, S.S. (2014). Becoming a new kind of professional: A black woman academic caught in a transition. South African Journal of Higher Education, 28(6), 1986-1998.