Students present research to prepare for the MPhil journey

A significant chunk of the annual “Master your master’s” workshop, which kicks off the academic year for the Africa Centre’s MPhil students, is dedicated to the students presenting their research topics to their peers. These sessions help to ensure that students have a firm grip of their topic – why it’s important, how they will go about their research and why specific methodologies are suitable. It also helps academic supervisors and lecturers identify where students may need support and guidance.

The research topics of the 2024 MPhil students cover various dimensions of HIV/Aids. This multidisciplinary approach, which is critical to overcoming the epidemic, is the backbone of all our academic programmes, since the impact of HIV/Aids stretches far beyond being only a health issue.

On the medical side, many students are zooming in on support and treatment – or lack thereof – of vulnerable populations, for example:

  • The potential use of telemedicine to address barriers to HIV care among youth
  • The impact of intimate partner violence on HIV treatment adherence among women
  • The effectiveness of HIV services for trans women

Topics that have a behavioural or psychological approach cast a wider net but are equally important, as awareness about stigma, socioeconomic factors and even mental health factors has been on the increase. Student topics that fall into this category include: 

  • How self-internalised HIV/Aids stigma contribute to risky behaviour among adolescents
  • An investigation into potential HIV/Aids transmission within faith-based organisations via ritualistic practices
  • Exploring the challenges that adolescents with HIV/Aids face in dating

In addition to the presentations from current students, 2023 MPhil graduate Blaise Lukau shared his journey of mastering his master’s to motivate and help orientate this year’s students.

If you’d like to find out more about the speaker sessions at the MPhil workshop, where internal and external experts help equip students with the knowledge and skills that are vital to successfully completing their studies, you can read more about it here.

MPhil students Jean Mukoyi, Saber Sobhi, Chantal Smith, Prenisha Chiba, Zanele Cekiso, Anda Mcaleni and Lamlile Vilakati-Mahlangu with facilitator Ruth Albertyn (third from left).
Chantal Smith looks calm, cool and collected about her presentation.
Anda Mcaleni gets his presentation in shape.
Zanele Cekiso shares her research topic.
Saber Sobhi gets ready to present his research topic to the group.
Prenisha Chiba is immersed in her presentation.
Jean Mukoyi is on top of this presentation exercise.
Where’s that sheet I’m looking for? asks Lamlile Vilakati-Mahlangu.