Dr Sisanda Bukeke Nkoala earned her PhD while working full-time at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology and raising three young children. She has earned the title of Dr Mama.
Cape Town, South Africa (16 August 2022) – Journalism lecturer Dr Sisanda Bukeke Nkoala is being celebrated for earning her PhD while guiding students through their own studies, playing several vital roles at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) and raising three young children. Her son has even dubbed her Dr Mama.
Dr Nkoala has a brilliant career educating bright young minds that want to work as journalists or within the media realm; she is an academic lecturer in the Media Department of the Faculty of Informatics and Design at CPUT. Dr Nkoala recently earned her PhD in Rhetoric Studies at the University of Cape Town (UCT); she focused her research on the persuasive appeal of television news reports on crime and justice.
Her role in shaping young minds even earned her an award at the 2022 CPUT Teaching Excellence Awards, which took place in May this year. In late 2020, Dr Nkoala was selected as a public representative on the Press Council of South Africa, and this year, she was offered the opportunity to sit on a panel at the UNESCO World Press Freedom Day Global Conference in Uruguay.
These are just some of the accolades and honours that Dr Nkoala has earned. She has dedicated her time and mind to expanding journalism in South Africa, advocating for female journalists, studying further within her fields of interest and all this while also being a mom to three young children.
Her ability to balance all these has been awe-inspiring. So much so that Dr Nkoala has been honoured by Briefly for Women’s Month. She explained that while she loved being a journalist in the field when she started her family, she wanted to be with them, which is what inspired her career change to become a lecturer.
Her challenges came when she started her PhD in 2019. Being a PhD student, she needed to take advantage of every opportunity; this included going to conferences and workshops. These would take her away from her three children. Dr Nkoala did what every mother would; she would reach out to the events to ask if her children could be accommodated. When they couldn’t, she would sadly miss those events.
Not one to be put down by career versus motherhood, Dr Nkoala spent many sleepless nights balancing her studies and research with spending time with her little ones and husband. As you can see, her efforts paid off!
Dr Mama, as her son calls her, has achieved her dream of earning her PhD in a field she adores. She hopes her story will inspire other women and mothers to pursue their academic dreams.
Her dreams are not over yet; she already has her heart set on furthering her research capabilities which will make her a rated academic and lead her to become an associated professor.