TUT lecturer Sipho Mbatha becomes SA's first doctor of fashion design

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Sipho Mbatha became the first South African to obtain a doctorate degree in fashion design, conferred by the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT).
Sipho Mbatha became the first South African to obtain a doctorate degree in fashion design, conferred by the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT).
  • Tshwane University of Technology lecturer Sipho Mbatha has become the first South African to obtain a doctorate in fashion design.
  • His study examined the fashion industry and government's role.
  • Mbatha graduated during a virtual ceremony this month.  

The Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) has produced the country's first doctor in fashion design.

Dr Sipho Mbatha, a lecturer in the university's Faculty of Arts and Design, said he had been motivated to complete his doctoral studies by his research mentor and supervisor, Professor Anne Mastamet-Mason.

"When Prof Mastamet-Mason recruited me to come back for my B.Tech in 2009, she indicated that she wanted me to be the first South African to obtain a Doctorate in Fashion Design," he said. 

"I took on her challenge, since I never back down from any challenge. Through her mentorship and supervision, I passed both my B.Tech and M.Tech with distinction. It would be a historic omission if I do not stress the critical role the NRF [National Research Fund] Thuthuka grant played in this achievement." 

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Mastamet-Mason said Mbatha's study had revealed a disconnection between the textile, leather and footwear sector, the university and government's role in strengthening the fashion industry, particularly in product development. 

The study's findings have been presented at two international conferences and two articles have been submitted for publication. 

"The study has contributed significantly to the Triple Helix Theory [a model of cooperation between a university, government and industry] and has yielded recommendations for governmental policy makers," said Masmet-Mason.

Mbatha was part of the June virtual ceremony where hundreds of students graduated after completing their studies at the university.

They included Olympic champion Caster Semenya, who received a postgraduate diploma in sports management.

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