UKZN Staffer Makes Mail & Guardian’s 200 Young South Africans Edition

Town Planning senior lecturer in the School of Built Environment and Development StudiesDr Hangwelani Hope Magidimisha-Chipungu, has made it to the 2018 Mail & Guardian’s 200 Young South Africans list.

The list is published in a special newspaper supplement annually to showcase young stars who are shaping the country’s future.

‘Winning this award encourages me to do more,’ said Magidimisha-Chipungu, who is 33 years old. ‘It will always be a reminder that hard work pays off and will surely act as a source of inspiration and motivation for other young women to become academics especially in town and regional planning, where females are needed the most. It is also never easy to strike a balance between being a mother of three young kids, wife, academic leader and researcher. It requires a lot of time management and very strong family support. I am glad to have my husband who is the source of my strength. He is always there when I need him the most. He is a super dad and the best husband,’ she said.

Getting to the pinnacle of your career at a relatively young age is a dream held by many. But for some, it is a non-negotiable goal. This is exactly the case with Dr Magidimisha-Chipungu who at a prime age of 31, obtained her PhD in Town and Regional Planning from UKZN.

What is extraordinary about this qualification is that she became the first Black South African born woman to obtain such a qualification from the Town Planning Discipline at UKZN. This qualification further proved her ability in research and academic work.

Rising from being a PhD researcher at the Human Sciences and Research Council (HSRC), Magidimisha-Chipungu has a traceable record of peer-reviewed publications (book chapters, books and journal articles), with the latest being a 2017 book on migration in Southern Africa. Her strength in research is supported by a grant from the National Research Foundation (NRF).

Her move to the University as an academic saw her attributes diversifying through teaching and supervision of Master’s and PhD students. This is in addition to her research where she has presented her papers both at national and international forums.

Her administrative competency saw her being appointed as a senior lecturer and academic leader for the Housing and Town Planning Cluster within the School of Built Environment and Development Studies, as well as a member of the University Senate and Institutional Forum. This is in addition to her appointment as a Council member of SACPLAN and a Committee member of the KZN Planning Tribunal. This in turn caught the eye of the international community, in particular the International Society of City and Regional Planning (ISOCARP) and Local Organising committee which appointed her to direct the first workshop for Young Professional Planners (YPP) in South Africa in 2016.

Commenting on this milestone and recognition, the Dean of the School, Professor Ernest Khalema said, ‘It is a pleasure and privilege to work with Dr Magidimisha-Chipungu. Her accomplishments as a scholar are incredible at such a young age. She is an asset to the School and the College of Humanities.’

For Magidimisha-Chipungu, this is the beginning stage for greater things to come.

Words: Melissa Mungroo

Photograph: Colourise Studio