The accolade was presented during the 10th annual Golden Shield Heritage Awards, organised by the National Heritage Council of South Africa (NHC). These awards serve to commend champions of heritage and commend excellence within the sector.
The Voice of Heritage award is one of the prestigious honours included in the Golden Shield Heritage Awards, conferred upon individuals who have demonstrated exceptional dedication to heritage causes. This recognition is bestowed by the National Heritage Council of South Africa (NHC), an arm of the Department of Sport, Arts, and Culture.
Expressing her gratitude, Dr Bhuda remarked, "I am greatly honoured to receive this award. This year I was fortunate to be acknowledged for my advocacy in African Indigenous Knowledge research and children’s literature."
The genesis of this achievement began when a friend encouraged her to submit her nomination. "She sent me the application forms, and after careful consideration of their criteria, I was confident that my contributions to the heritage field warranted this recognition. I've invested a decade in this pursuit, and this award validates that dedication."
Dr Bhuda, a staunch advocate for cultural preservation, is a scholar in Indigenous Knowledge Systems. Her interests span from the decolonisation of education to the promotion of indigenous languages, as well as the preservation, protection, management, and dissemination of indigenous knowledge. She is also an author of IsiNdebele children's books.
"This award serves as a constant reminder that my efforts to safeguard African Indigenous Knowledge have not gone unnoticed. When I enrolled in the Bachelor of Indigenous Knowledge Systems programme in 2013, I never envisaged it would mark the inception of my career, culminating in a PhD."
Dr Bhuda's relentless determination propelled her through the academic ranks, resulting in over 20 published academic papers, 30 presented abstracts, and active participation in various heritage-related activities, including media engagements. It is this body of work that has earned her recognition from the NHC.
In addition to her academic pursuits, Dr Bhuda serves as a member of the Indigenous Knowledge/Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) National Authentication Panel, a role she will hold until July 2024. She is also overseeing the Ndebele art project currently underway at UMP's Mbombela campus.
"This award reaffirms my commitment to continue this vital work and set an example. It underscores the significance of my contributions. I aspire to inspire those interested in pursuing a career in heritage and those passionate about authoring books on culture and indigenous languages."
Story by Lisa Thabethe. Pictures Supplied.