In my personal career development I became a regional history expert.mAfter my postgraduate work, my research in regional history gradually matured towards four central foci. Initially, I focused on (i) Gold mining as the region’s economic driver and (ii) Local economic developments and related environmental distortions. Once I had a more comprehensive multidisciplinary understanding of the FWR and regional histories as field, I (iii) advanced the methodological paradigm for doing regional and micro (local) histories, as well as the historiography of regional history in South Africa (SA). As last central focus to contribute to regional histories I continued to develop my methodology, always keeping region/space central, to be more theme and sometimes phenomenon-specific. This culminated into research on (iv) ecohealth and wellbeing matters in communities living in mining areas. In this regard I successfully led a National Research Foundation (NRF) project, complementing an integrative multidisciplinary model in mining related community engagement research (2013 to 2017). As a result of collaboration with Finnish regional and rural studies historians at the Ruralia Institute of Helsinki, I also imported an ethnographic research model in which some affective emotional history features were included. In this model the ecohealth and wellbeing of the FWR region were explored through a form of homeliness research. This project was the first of its kind in SA. Though my major regional/spatial emphasis of research remains the FWR, I have in the past years (prior to 2013 and beyond) engaged in regional history specific research projects related to
places in the Eastern Cape, Southern Cape, Free State, North West Province, KwaZulu Natal and Gauteng.
Since 1986 I held leadership positions in several scholarly societies: the presidency of the American Studies Association of SA (1994-1998); secretariat (1994-2008) and chairperson (2009-2017) of the SA Society for History Teaching; Executive Board member of the International Society for History Didactics (2014-2021); member of the South African Historical Society; South African Historical Association (SAHA), and the South African Society for Cultural History (a Board member). I co-edited the H-Safrica International-Internet network (1997-2002); I was Editor-in-Chief of the “Yesterday&Today” journal (2005-2014) which achieved DHET accreditation under my editorship in 2012; I also launched its website in 2005. I served on the executive of the SAHA as well as the editorial board of the accredited journal, “Historia” (1997-2007). Currently, I am editor-in chief of the DHET-approved journal: “New Contree” (2008-2022). This journals serves regional history research.
I have received career acknowledgement, including awards for excellence in higher education teaching and learning (1995, 1998, 2019); the award for Researcher of the Year at the Vaal Triangle Campus (2009) where I was ranked among the top researchers of the NWU. I acted as Editor/co-editor/chapter author of 30 books and more than 85 scholarly articles. I am annually recognised by my peers and academic management as a top performer. I was the chairperson of History at the Vanderbijlpark Campus (2012-2018) at the NWU, and is currently Deputy Director for the School of Social Science (serving on many school and faculty related committees). I am also project leader of the Northwest (NW) Regional and Local History Studies research group in the NWU Focus Area Social Transformation. In this regard I serve on a Committee for Advance Degrees (CAD) and an Ethics Committee (2013-2021). Personally I have delivered more than a dozen post graduates (PhD’s and MA’s).
NWU Vanderbijlpark Campus, Vanderbijlpark, Building 16, Room 29.
ORCID no: 0000-0002-4852-5522