Dr Keneiloe Molopyane: EFK student turned Explorer

Posted on August 06, 2021

The Department of Historical and Heritage Studies is extremely proud that in early 2021, UP alumni Dr. Keneiloe Molopyane was named a National Geographic Emerging Explorer

Having started out studying her Bachelors in Heritage and Cultural Tourism Studies Molopyane majored in History, Cultural History, Heritage Tourism and Archaeology.

Historical and heritage  studies and archaeology have been a long-term passions for Molopyane. She recalls being inspired by National Geographic documentaries and for her to now star in them is obviously a dream come true. For Molopyane,  the passions of the teaching staff from both archaeology and historical and heritage studies have left a long-standing impression on her.

With a distinguished academic track record, having graduated at the University of Pretoria in 2009 and 2010, Molopyane had this to say: 

"I was THAT student in the class juggling a crazy amount of major subjects with res life. I spent most of my time living in the good ol’ HSB building, being out in the field, with a healthy balance of student res life. You couldn’t pay me to take part in any departmental activities because I would volunteer myself anyway. That’s the secret sauce… if you want to be noticed by the big name players in the game, you have to get yourself to the front of the line and put your best foot forward."

As the first postdoctoral research fellow at the Centre for the Exploration of the Deep Human Journey (CEDHJ) at the University of the Witwatersrand, the floodgates are soon to open to her in the field of palaeosciences. The journey from fossil hater to fossil hunter has been an extreme change that Molopyane says shows no signs of disappointing.

Molopyane has the following inspiring words for other students:

"Can you really be disappointed from following your own path? The change comes with changing your views of the subject, followed by being that change and finding a group of people who are willing to support you in your endeavor. You’re allowed to dream big and follow through with it."

The Department of Historical and Heritage Studies wishes to join the UP community in congratulating Dr Molopyane on her outstanding achievement!

Dr Molopyane and colleagues doing research

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