Humanities institute hosts successful inaugural awards

The National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIHSS) has celebrated excellent contributions made in the humanities and social sciences fields at an award ceremony at its offices in Parktown, Johannesburg.

Through its maiden Annual Book, Creative Collection and Digital Contribution Awards, the institution – funded by the Department of Higher Education and Training, has honoured outstanding innovative scholarship, creative and digital contributions made by those in humanities and social sciences.

According to Dr Sarah Mosoetsa, the institute’s Chief Executive Officer, hosting the awards was a major milestone.

“It has been a fantastic journey and we have learnt a lot as the institution. I think these awards convey the message that humanities and social sciences should be celebrated and honoured.  The quality of the submissions we received was impressive. Hard work and dedication has paid off for some of these finalists,” says Sarah.

She also acknowledged and thanked the judges for their participation in the adjudication process.

Higher Education and Training Minister Dr Blade Nzimande expressed his delight at the overwhelming positive response and high standard of entries that the awards received from academics and other practitioners in the field.  

“A renewed focus on the importance of the humanities and social sciences is absolutely critical in a world that increasingly values the Sciences, Engineering, Technology and Mathematics (STEM) as the only measure of development and progress.”

“The role of the humanities and social sciences must not only assist us in analysing and interpreting the world we live in, but it must enable us to change the material conditions and lived experiences of those most marginalised and alienated in society,” says Nzimande.

Nirma Madhoo, Shirley Walters and Astrid Von Kotze won the Best Digital Humanity prize for their respective works Future Body: Technological Embodiment in Digital Fashion Media and Popular Education.

Jay Pather, Sazi Dlamini, Neo Muyanga Sumangala Damodaran and Ari Sitas won the Best Public Performance and Best Musical Composition prizes in the Creative Collection category, and Jacob Dlamini won first prize in the Best Monograph category for Askari.

Through its core functions of enhancing and coordinating scholarships, research and ethical practice in humanities and social sciences, the NIHSS seeks to redress existing deficits and also coordinates programmes, projects, collaboration and activities in the humanities and social sciences disciplines through existing public universities.