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Prof Puleng Segalo Wins Prestigious TWAS Regional Award

Prof Puleng SegaloThe World Academy of Sciences Sub-Saharan Africa Regional Partner (TWAS-SAREP) hosted by the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) is proud to announce that Prof Puleng Segalo is the winner for the 2021/2022 TWAS Regional Award. The scientific award sought to honour a scientists from Sub-Saharan Africa who has made significant contributions to popularise science and has developed new strategies that serve the popularisation of science and technology in the developing world. This prestigious award worth $3000 is aimed at fulfilling TWAS’ objective of recognising, supporting and promoting scientific capacity and excellence in the developing world. 

Prof Puleng Segalo Puleng Segalo is a professor of psychology currently holding the position of Chief Albert Luthuli Research Chair at the University of South Africa (UNISA). She holds 2 master’s degrees in psychology from Unisa (MA) and the Graduate Center, City University of New York (MPhil). She also holds an award-winning Doctoral degree in Psychology from the Graduate Center, City University of New York. She further holds a doctoral certificate in Women Studies from the same university. Her PhD was awarded the Koonja Mitchell Prize, and she was later awarded the Unisa Principal prize for excellence in Research. She is also the recipient of the National Department of Science and Technology award for the 2014 young woman scientist of the year. Her areas of specialization include  Community Psychology, Social Psychology and Gender and Feminism in Psychology. Her research work and publications cover a wide range of areas including gendered experiences of women in various  aspects of life, Haistorical trauma, Critical Participatory Research Practices and Africanization. She is the current president of the Forum of African Psychology. Prof Segalo is also an NRF rated scholar, an Alumni of the South Africa Young Academy of Science (SAYAS), an associate editor of the Journal of Social and Political Psychology and a consulting editor for Feminism and Psychology journal. 

She is awarded for her contributions to popularisation of science. In her research work, Prof Segalo has devised a highly creative research design that analyses both what is told, and how the technology for telling (e.g. aesthetic representations and spoken text) alter, enhance and constrict the words women deploy to speak the unspeakable traumas. Her scholarship focuses on the post-apartheid struggles that women engage in, in freeing themselves now from the shackles of patriarchy. Her research work is a collaborative engagement with a women’s embroidery collective (Intuthuko Embroidery Project) based in Ekurhuleni, in Gauteng. The project uses embroidery as a visual methodology to theorize and document how women express the unsayable in their everyday lives. She has contributed immensely to public engagement and discourse on using artforms to speak the unspeakable. She has organised and participated in a community dialogue where an intergenerational group of community women gathered to engage the ways in which trauma manifests in their lives and those of other women in the communities. Using an artform/methodology familiar to women in many communities, Prof Segalo’s work offers an avenue for the understanding of the often-difficult concepts such as psychological trauma and contributes towards the overall well-being of women. She has engaged the public on her work through interviews on popular media such as national radio stations (e.g. Lesedi FM, Thobela FM, SAFM and Salaamedia to name a few). Prof Segalo is a regular expert guest on the national radio station, Lesedi FM where she offers expert inputs on various social psychological issues. This is worth noting as academic discourses are often in a language (English) that the majority of our communities cannot understand nor engage in/with. By engaging psychological matters in an indigenous language (Sesotho), Prof Segalo contributes towards demystifying the field of psychology.

While she presents her work in academic conferences and publishes in academic journals, Prof Segalo ensures that she engages the wider community. Prof Segalo and the women collective project were invited by the New York based Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation to have their embroidery work included as part of the ARTIVISM collection which was exhibited at the 2019 Venice Biennale. The exhibition aimed at highlighting the ways in which art could be used as a catalyst for social transformation, reconciliation and change. The exhibition was from May until November 2019 and attracted public audiences from around the world.

TWAS-SAREP congratulates Prof Segalo for this achievement and wishes her great success in her future endeavours.
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