Meet our graduate: Manana Mamabolo

Posted on May 27, 2022

Dr Manana Mamabolo recently completed her PhD in Agricultural Economics and was one of the graduates at the 2022 Autumn graduations. We chatted to her about her research and studies.

What did you study and why did you choose the field?

I studied Agricultural Economics. I studied agricultural sciences in high school and enjoyed it which is why I wanted to pursue it further. At the same time, I enjoyed BComm related subjects (financial accounting, business management etc) and agricultural economics allowed me to combine my two interests.

Can you explain your research?

My research topic was “Income diversification and poverty dynamics in rural municipalities of South Africa”. Poverty is one of the main challenges in South Africa and it is most prevalent in rural communities. In addition, unemployment in South Africa is high and research has shown that people living in rural areas where opportunities are scarce are the most affected. I was interested to understand the coping strategies that these households employ.

There were two key findings of the coping strategies employed in these households. Firstly, income diversification and poverty dynamics differ temporally and spatially. Secondly, this strategy is used not only by poor households but by non-poor households as well. For poor households, the strategy is effective at increasing the probability of poverty exit when they have at least two income sources, while for non-poor households, the strategy is effective at reducing the probability of poverty entry when households had at least three income sources.

Why do you think this research is important?

The research is important because it demonstrates the income sources of rural households over time and how these have been changing, as well as their effect on poverty dynamics in rural households. This informs policies that seek to alleviate rural poverty as it reveals the type of activities that policies should support in these communities.

How have your studies prepared you for your future?

The degree has taught me perseverance, to be thorough and pay attention to detail. I have also learnt that as a researcher, you should not take shortcuts because the findings of the research are meant to inform policies to help improve people’s circumstances. These are important lessons for me in my future work and even in other areas of life.

What lessons have learned while studying that you can pass on to the younger generation?

  • If you want to do a PhD, you should research different topics and make sure that you choose one that you have an interest in. It is a long journey and it’s not easy, so choosing a topic that you are interested in or passionate about really helps to keep you going during those difficult moments.
  • There are no shortcuts, so you have to be determined to see it through.
  • Break down the work into small doable tasks that feed into the bigger research because the amount of work required for the entire project can be overwhelming.
  • Do something daily. Do not leave the research for days, weeks or even months without looking at it.
  • Sacrifices are going to be necessary, some big and others small, to get the research done.

Copyright © University of Pretoria 2024. All rights reserved.

COVID-19 Corona Virus South African Resource Portal

To contact the University during the COVID-19 lockdown, please send an email to [email protected]

FAQ's Email Us Virtual Campus Share Cookie Preferences