45418667 1213986495415393 2025964149724413952 o e1598344555932 300x226WSU’s Mncedi “Eddie” Magade’s passion for cultural studies has earned him recognition in the form of a nomination among 30,000 professionals in the Mail & Guardian’s Top Young South Africans education category.

The 30-year-old academic born in a small Eastern Cape town, Burgersdorp, said it’s his interest in Audience Studies, Celebrity Studies and the rise of reality television that have been his drive that would subsequently shape and inform the young minds he lectures in WSU’s Department of Corporate Communication and Marketing.

“For me, it’s the fact that I can play a role in the development of young peoples’ lives. Most of these young people come from very poor backgrounds. Being in academia gives me an opportunity to engage with many of these young people and in the process I get to inspire the way they think and instil values and skills that they will need in their respective fields,” said Magade.

What particularly excites Magade about his nomination is that it affirms that there is a space and platform where the efforts of young people trying to make a change are being recognised.

In the year 2018, Magade started a student-centered project called the Eastern Cape for Africa Foundation (ECFAF) within the Department of Corporate Communication and Marketing, where student learning would not be limited to the classroom.

“As a young professional lecturer, I have thought of creative ways that can allow me to make learning interesting for my students. Through this project, students are asked to identify various causes and projects of interest. Once that is done, they would then assist those community projects with services such as branding, marketing, content development, reading and writing and other various skills that they have learnt throughout their Journalism and Media Studies Diploma. The idea with this project is to give students community-based and work-integrated learning and experience,” added Magade.

Magade earned himself the WSU Vice Chancellor’s Excellence Award for Community Engagement through Teaching and Learning in 2019 through one of the students’ projects that aimed to promote reading and writing in primary schools around the area of East London.

What other academics may perceive as a challenge working for a rural university such as WSU, Magade said he thinks rural community based students can use the differences between WSU and Urban universities to their advantage.

He pressed on how WSU students have first-hand experience of what it means to lack something, be it water, electricity, access to e-learning and many other challenges that we face.

“The qualifications we offer must equip students with problem solving skills to the many challenges that we are facing from a community level right up to national and international levels. We must become deeply rooted in community-based and international methods of teaching and learning so that our graduates are not just mere graduates that possess degrees and diplomas, but these qualifications must speak to the needs of respective communities that our students come from,” he said.

In the global plight of unemployment as a result of Covid-19, Magade said he sees value in involving students in community-based projects where they can build professional relationships with companies and NGO’s.

“when they graduate they will have built some kind of professional profile for themselves and good professional relationships. We live in a time where companies would rather outsource certain functions than to hire someone on a permanent basis. This is what I mean when I say that young people need to invest in their skills set,” concluded Magade.