FROM NOW on Higher Education minister is to be addressed as Dr Naledi Pandor.
She obtained her PhD from the University of Pretoria after months of sweat,
pressure and work commitments. But she soldiered on.
“I am a firm advocate of continuous learning. We should all try to pursue
our dreams and learn as much as we can. We need to encourage our
institutions to be aware of the diversity of persons who may wish to resume their education or attempt new professional studies. I don’t see enough attempts at significant drawing in of adults to continuous learning,” said the elated Dr Pandor, who now holds a doctorate in education.
A former teacher who already holds a Master’s in Education Policy and
Practice in Multi-racial Societies, as well as Linguistics from the applied
linguistics perspective, admitted to being nervous and “slightly
embarrassed” at being an older student.
She said she chose to further her studies in education because it
“I learnt that there is a vast amount of absolutely fascinating education
information that we need to tap into much more than we do today. I also
learnt how to use research material and to carry out a very demanding
academic schedule,” she said.
“Every moment outside work and politics was given to my studies. I tried to
balance [it] but some areas were neglected, especially family.”
Pandor said she made every effort to avoid her studies having a negative
impact on her work schedule. “But I did accept fewer invitations for three
years of the four.”
Dr Pandor said the National Development Plan sets a target of 100 000 PhDs
by 2030 to improve research and innovation capacity. To reach that target,
there needs to be 6 000 PhDs per year.
As former democratic president Dr Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela once said
‘education is the only tool to fight poverty’ Dr Pandor has raised the bar.
As the name suggest Naledi (a star) congrats Dr, we’re proud of you, so
should our young generation!
Dr Pandor comes from a long line of political activists.
ZK Matthews, her grandfather, was an academic and activist.
He attained an LLB degree and practised as an attorney before moving into
academia, lecturing in social anthropology before attaining a professorship
in the Department of African Studies at the South African Native College,
later renamed the University of Fort Hare.
ZK Matthews was introduced to the ANC at a young age by Sol Plaatje, a
relative was a founding member and the first General Secretary of the
South African Native National Congress, which later became the ANC.
However, he only joined the ANC itself much later, in 1940. He succeeded
James Calata as Cape ANC president in 1949. He was also involved in drawing up the Freedom Charter with Lionel &39;Rusty&39; Bernstein.
Joseph Matthews, Pandor’s father, was also a political activist. Joe
Matthews joined the ANC at the age of 15. Following in his father’s
footsteps, he studied for an LLB at the University of London.
In 1956, ZK and Joe Matthews were charged, alongside 154 other activists,
during the infamous Treason Trial, in which all the defendants were
After the trial, Matthews passed his advocate’s exam and practised in
Durban, before moving to Lesotho in 1960, and later to Botswana, where he
was appointed assistant Attorney General.
After a sojourn in the Netherlands, he returned to South Africa in 1992 and
controversially changed allegiances, joining the Inkatha Freedom Party, for
whom he became an MP in 1994, serving as Deputy Minister of Safety and
Security in the government of national unity.
Image SLM (Dr Naledi Pandor, sharing a platform with Prof Mary Metcalfe, an unidentified Tukkies lecture and Boston Group CE Ari Katz, addressing
students at University of Pretoria).