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Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Student enriches SA heritage

RESTORING SA HERITAGE:  PhD candidate Maphole Loke is part of a team that is tasked by the Ministry of Arts and Culture to oversee the protection, restoration, and conservation of heritage sites in South Africa. RESTORING SA HERITAGE: PhD candidate Maphole Loke is part of a team that is tasked by the Ministry of Arts and Culture to oversee the protection, restoration, and conservation of heritage sites in South Africa.

Doctoral candidate, Maphole Loke’s research has drawn international recognition as it has been accepted for publication at the 12th International Conference on Structural Analysis of Historical Constructions in Barcelona, Spain.

The conference has been scheduled for 2021 due to COVID 19 pandemic. The 29-year-old graduated with her Master of Engineering: Civil Engineering Summa Cum Laude (91%) last week. Her research: “Standard Protocols for restoring heritage cementing materials”, has been published in one journal (Journal of South African Institution of Civil Engineering) and presented in two international conferences (IEEE 10th International Conference on Mechanical and Intelligent Manufacturing Technologies (ICMIMT 2019) and XVII International Triple Helix Conference) including a presentation at the 2018 and 2019 CPUT postgraduate conferences respectively.

She was supervised by Dr Pallav Kumar, in joint supervision with adjunct Professor Rainer Haldenwang.

Kumar, a senior lecturer in the Department of Civil Engineering, says, Maphole’s determination and eagerness to learn has established a link with the South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA) which, “We were trying to develop since the beginning of her research.”

“The relationship with SAHRA added a feather to our research.  She worked very hard to characterise the heritage mortar for Robben Island and Castle of Good Hope and develop a basic guideline for characterisation of heritage mortar. She is a very disciplined and meticulous student with a systematic problem-solving approach,” Kumar says.

Being born in a rural village called Likhoele Ha Sebusi, Mafeteng District approximately 80km from Maseru (Lesotho), Maphole was trained to work hard at a very young age. She says due to lack of development in her village, going to school was her mission. Because of her background, she only started pre-school at the age of six years. “I was not attending school but herding cattle and sheep… fetching water from the well, using horses and donkeys to fetch firewood.”

Maphole adds: “For the youth from the same background as myself, knowing and believing that your background does not have to determine who you end up becoming would be the best gift you would reward yourself with.”

Written by Aphiwe Boyce

Email: boyceap@cput.ac.za

Provides coverage for the Engineering and the Built Environment and Applied Sciences Faculties.