The man who designed and successfully launched the first Master’s degree programme in English in Namibia in 2012 was, last Friday, granted a Meritorious Award by the University of Namibia (Unam).
Professor Jairos Kangira was awarded in recognition of his proven hard work, commitment and dedication to aspire minds and shape the future.
Born in 1961 in the Midlands Province in Zimbabwe, Prof Kangira has a rich history in education, starting with being a primary school teacher, working as a lecturer and as a deputy dean at the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) all in Zimbabwe. He would work his way up to the Polytechnic of Namibia (PoN) as a lecturer before becoming a professor at Unam where he currently is.
As the associate professor of English and head of the Department of Language and Literature at Unam, Prof Kangira notes the best thing that has ever happened to him is the merit award.
“Unam has been home to me since 2010. I have not encountered any problems here and although there have been good things in my profession, this award tops the list. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be recognised for what they do?” He beams.
He adds this merit award encourages him to do even more for the benefit of his clients, the students. “I do not work for the dean of students, nor for the vice chancellor but for the clients (students).”
Prof Kangira also received an award from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Science last year at Unam. However, he says he never received any award from the University of Zimbabwe during his time there, as it didn’t have the awards structure.
But there is more to this man’s life than just receiving the merit award. He was instrumental in establishing the Namibia Teaching of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) Association with the assistance of Dr Elizabeth Morgan of Eastern Michigan University in the United States of America.
As if that is not enough, he coached and mentored all Master’s and doctoral students at pre-proposal stage at Unam in the course of academic writing for postgraduate students.
Being the founding chief editor of the three editions of Journal for Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences, which is being marketed by EBSCO Host Publishing, Kangira says the journals sell very well internationally.
He has written several books and has more than six qualifications including a PhD in rhetoric studies, MPhil in linguistics, a BA honours in linguistics, diploma in journalism and professional writing, among others. He has many skills and expertise such as curriculum design, research, higher education, lecturing, etc, but he picks research as the most important one.
“Research is a number one priority. You can teach and engage with the community but if you don’t do research, you are not part of the academic family. Research will help you know things better,” he says.