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Dean and Head of the School of Health Sciences Professor Khathutshelo Percy Mashige has been promoted to the position of a full professor – a high honour in the career of an academic.
Mashige, an optometrist by training, has more than 20 years of undergraduate and postgraduate teaching experience with an extensive publication record.
Born in Limpopo, Mashige initially trained as an anatomist at the University of the Witwatersrand and thereafter as an optometrist at the former University of Durban-Westville. He has published expansively in clinical optometry, epidemiology and public health and his research has been used to design and implement programmes and policies in KwaZulu-Natal.
Mashige, an NRF-rated scientist and an Associate Editor of the prestigious journal BMC Ophthalmology, serves on the Advisory Board of the South African Health Review journal.
He has held several key positions in both national and international organisations and now serves as a moderator for the School of Optometry and Vision Science at the Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (MMUST) in Kenya where he has contributed to the design and development of masters and new PhD curricula.
Mashige is also the Chief Executive Officer of the African Vision Research Institute; Chairperson of the Education, Training and Registration Committee of the Professional Board for Optometry and Dispensing Opticians; Chairperson of the African Eye Institute; Chairperson of the Global Institute for Entrepreneurship and Ethics, and Chairperson of the Community Self Mastery Coaching Institute. He is a founding member of the African Translational Research Group and the Centre for Eye Care and Public Health Intervention Initiative, which are forums of African researchers across the globe to stimulate greater collaboration in Africa in health-related research.
His numerous accolades include being a recipient of the Economic and Social Research Council’s Impact Acceleration Award of the UK, South Africa-Netherlands Partnership on Alternatives in Development Award, and the South African Medical Research Council National Health Scholarship Award.
He is a Developing Research Innovation Leadership and Innovation Fellow and a recipient of the South African Optometric Association Award for outstanding contribution to Optometry.
Having overcome many challenges in his life, the most devastating being a serious motor vehicle accident, which resulted in paralysis due to spinal cord injuries, Mashige has excelled in his academic career and continues to inspire greatness in his team of academic leaders. He is well-known for his easy-going personality and servant leadership skills.
‘Becoming a full professor is an important step and a pinnacle of every academic’s career. Although the path is a difficult one, being a full professor opens up a wealth of opportunities. For me, promotion to full professor is not simply about individual success, it is also about creating opportunities for others,’ said Mashige.
Mashige’s eldest brother, Professor Mashudu Churchill Mashige, said: ‘It gives me goose bumps when I think about what this brave younger brother of mine has gone through in life and still risen up triumphantly.’
Words: Maryann Francis