Pretoria - The annual Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) and Universities South Africa CEOs awards acknowledged the excellence of South African universities in various areas.
Corresponding with Freedom Month, the 2022-2023 HSRC-USAf Awards for Social Sciences and Humanities took place at the Maslow Hotel, Time Square, in Pretoria.
According to the organisers, the HSRC and Universities South Africa, the awards acknowledged scholars who have made outstanding contributions to the social sciences and humanities through their research.
Professor Sarah Mosoetsa, CEO of the HSRC, said this year the awards aimed to recognise research excellence under the social justice theme.
“This year, we aimed to celebrate the humanities and social sciences field, whose work doesn’t often get recognised, as well as the research and its importance for the communities. The issues that we go through as a country, the continent, and maybe even the world at large. So, the main idea was to celebrate the idea behind climate change, gender and gender justice. All of those issues are important,” said Mosoetsa.
The categories for the 2023 awards were similar to previous years and saw four winners take home medals and monetary prizes.
Professor Ashwin Desai, a professor of sociology at the University of Johannesburg, won the award for the Established Researcher category. He received a medal and a monetary reward of R60 000.
“Firstly, it was a complete shock because you just never know, and I’m so overjoyed at this kind of recognition amongst your peers. This encourages me to just go on telling stories,” said Desai. The second winner was Dr Vishwas Satgar for the Mid-career Researcher category. Satgar received a trophy and a monetary reward of R40 000.
The winner for the Emerging Research category went to Dr Hannah Dawson, who received a trophy and a monetary reward of R30 000.
Dawson is a senior researcher at the Southern Centre for Inequality Studies. She addresses issues of social justice as they relate to unemployment, labour, inequality, and citizenship.
The winner in the Team category went to the Centre for Women and Gender Studies Nelson Mandela team, led by Professor Babalwa Magoqwana. They also won a trophy and a monetary reward worth R40 000.
Magoqwana said: “It is amazing to stand here after almost four years at the Centre for Women and Gender Studies that was established at Nelson Mandela University. When we established the centre, we did not know the kind of impact to students, artists and the kind of research that is happening around the biographical history of mostly African women across the globe.”