Professor Puleng Segalo has added another feather to her cap by moving from a Y-rating to a C2-rating by the National Research Foundation (NRF). Segalo is currently a psychology professor in the College of Human Sciences at Unisa. Her recent rating was awarded to her for her research work that focuses on African psychology, culture, decolonisation and gender.
Segalo said she is excited to be considered an “an established researcher with a good track record of quality outputs”, adding that: “I was acknowledged to have produced a sustained quantity of output in outlets of good standing and repute.”
One thing that makes Segalo stand out from her peers was how, as part of her research work, she creatively uses embroidery as a powerful visual and methodological tool. This earned her admiration and praise from reviewers and peers locally and internationally.
“As a feminised activity, embroidery offers a specific avenue for the exploration of conscious and unconscious stories of women’s lives, especially in spaces where, traditionally or politically, women’s voices have been muted or silenced,” observed one of the reviewers.
Segalo said she is interested in engaging the unequal opportunities that women continue to have and had over time. “This is directly linked to the spaces they occupy in both the private and public spheres,” she said, adding that “I continue to use visual methodologies and approaches (in the form of embroideries) as sources of knowledge and how these draw from skills that communities already have.”
Her body of work reflects the breadth and depth of her knowledge about the subject matter. She looks at issues that continue to pre-occupy and plague the society. The intersection of gender, education, psychological well-being and social justice, she said, is what interest her most. To this end, she added, I draw from a de-colonial perspective more broadly, and de-colonial feminism in particular.
Said Segalo: “I hope to contribute to the archive of African women’s lives, their experiences, desires, resilience, resistance and the role they continue to play in the building of many African nations.”
According to Segalo, the C2-rating does not only highlights the importance of the work that she does, but also, offers insights into how the work could further contribute towards the way researchers perform their work and the methodologies they use.
“Advancing to a C2-rating speaks to the progress that I have made in my research journey, my contribution towards capacity building through mentorship and supervision, and the impact of the body of work that I have produced,” said Segalo.
She strongly believes in the importance of relevant, purposeful and up-to-date research in academia. “We continue to be confronted by numerous challenges as a society, therefore, conducting research that is relevant and speaks or seeks to respond to societal issues is critical,” Segalo said.
“Up-to-date research feeds into what we teach, ensuring that we offer the kind of education that seeks to ensure social justice and dignity for all,” she added.
Below are the tips that Segalo shares with aspiring researchers:
- Know what drives you, find your passion and pursue it.
- Do not allow yourself to be filled with noise that may derail you from doing work that is meaningful to you and the society.
- Prioritise your goals and remain focused.
- Have a research focus area or niche that will enable you to focus and excel in their chosen field.