Change the world


Several NMMU George academics have been notching up additional postgraduate qualifications recently, and several more have enrolled for further studies this year – a tangible manifestation of NMMU’s commitment to academic excellence and cutting-edge research.

Dr Marianne Doubell, Mr Takalani Ramukumba, Ms Altouise Jonas and Dr Leonie de Witt –from the Faculty of Business and Economic Sciences (George Campus), each added another postgraduate qualification to their already impressive academic records.

Not business as usual

Dr Doubell

The degree of Doctor Philosophiae (Business Management) was conferred upon Dr Marianne Doubell within NMMU’s own Faculty of Business and Economic Sciences.

She impressed with her very topical research and thesis on “FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO THE SUCCESS OF PROFESSIONAL AND BUSINESS WOMEN IN SOUTH AFRICA”.  

Dr Doubell, the Programme Co-ordinator for the business-related programmes within the Faculty of Business and Economic Sciences at NMMU George, is an accomplished academic who already has two master’s degrees under the belt.

Her previous qualifications include the degrees BA(Ed) and BA Hons – both from the former University of Port Elizabeth, and two master’s degrees – one from the University of Natal and the other, which was awarded to her with distinction, from the University of Durban-Westville.

Dr Doubell will be presenting a paper on her research at the Academy of World Business, Marketing & Management Development in Budapest in July.

She has also been invited as speaker to present her finding at the prestigious HERS-SA (Higher Education Resource Services South Africa) Academy in Cape Town in September.

The study: Factors contributing to women’s career success

Dr Doubell’s study into factors contributing to the career success of women who have overcome barriers and advanced to top positions in business and the professions, demonstrated that the main contributing factors to women’s career success are personality traits; a supportive internal organisational culture; and organisational initiatives aimed at eradicating barriers.

 “There is evidence that the equal representation of women on corporate boards is linked to increased performance and productivity, leading to higher profitability”, she said. However, “The notable underrepresentation of women in executive and decision making positions, is a clear indicator that women’s career advancement remain barricaded and several government initiatives and interventions aimed at women’s advancement have not achieved the desired impact, pointing to the need for further interventions”.

Besides expanding the empirical body of research and knowledge on factors contributing to the success and those inhibiting the career progression of women, Dr Doubell’s thesis indicated that the advancement of more women to executive positions can be accelerated through a number of interventions.

This includes internal organisational support factors and government interventions for the achievement of gender equity. The thesis also alerts organisations and government to their social responsibility for transforming mindsets and diversifying their boardrooms. 

It furthermore has the potential to guide initiatives aimed at equal gender representation in the workplace.

Dr Marianne Doubell (right) and her promoter, Prof Miemie Struwig

PHOTOGRAPH: Dr Marianne Doubell (right) and her promoter, Prof Miemie Struwig, from NMMU’s Faculty of Business and Economic Sciences, Port Elizabeth.

Ms Altouise Jonas

Ms Altouise Jonas, Associate lecturer in the Marketing Department at NMMU George is another “homegrown” product of NMMU who recently graduated with the MTech Marketing Management degree from NMMU. 

Altouise Jonas

She previously completed both the 3 year National Diploma in Tourism Management and BTech Tourism Management degree at NMMU in Port Elizabeth.

NMMU Expertise in Tourism Management benefit the region

Not only students, but important sectors relevant to the southern Cape/Garden Route and beyond stand to benefit from the collective expertise within NMMU’s Tourism Management programme at George Campus. Two of the lecturers in this programme recently graduated with advanced degrees in their areas of specialisation – namely ecotourism and tourism in the context of local economic development.

Dr Leonie de Witt

Dr Leonie de Witt

Dr Leonie de Witt, lecturer in Tourism Management, received her PhD Tourism Management, Specialising in Ecotourism, from the North-West University recently. She joined NMMU George in the second half of 2011 after a three-year stint as a lecturer in Tourism Management with Damelin College.

Her thesis focuses on SANParks as one of the largest conservation and ecotourism providers in South Africa and is entitled, “AN ECOTOURISM MODEL FOR SOUTH AFRICAN NATIONAL PARKS”. 

All her other qualifications – an MCom Degree in Tourism Management; a B.Com (Honours) specialising in Tourism, and a first BCom degree were from her alma mater - the Potchefstroom Campus of North West University.

Findings important for ecotourism

The findings of Dr De Witt’s research are significant for the discipline of tourism and specifically ecotourism. “It represents the first ecotourism model for South African National Parks which can assist park management in creating ecotourism products that provide a sustainable ecotourism experience and secure the future of ecotourism in national parks” says Dr de Witt.

This study also paved the way for SANParks in the development of an ecotourism policy for South African National Parks and made a contribution to the future development of a national ecotourism policy for South Africa. “Such a policy does not currently exist” Dr de Witt confirmed.

Another significant outcome of the research is its contribution to the future development of a sustainable ecotourism rating criteria for South African National Parks.   It is anticipated that this will assist SANParks to grow closer to an ideal system that is in line with sustainable or responsible management aspects.

Dr De Witt presented a paper on the findings of her study at the First International Conference on Tourism and Management Studies in the Algarve, Portugal last year. It was entitled: “A visitor’s perspective of key ecotourism aspects at South African National Parks”. This was followed by another paper on “Responsible tourism in South African National Parks: a tourists’ perspective” delivered at the10TH Annual Savanna Science Networking Meeting in Skukuza in March this year.

Mr Takalani Ramukumba

Takalani Ramukumba

Lecturer Mr Takalani Ramukumba added a second masters’ degree to his impressive repertoire when he graduated from NMMU recently with an MA (Development Studies) degree. The topic of his dissertation – “THE IMPLEMENTATION OF AN EFFECTIVE TOURISM STRATEGY FOR LOCAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (LED) IN GEORGE MUNICIPALITY” – is of special significance in the Garden Route and in the context of tourism as an important contributor to employment creation and economic growth.

His other qualifications include an MTech (Tourism and Hospitality Management) degree from the Tshwane University of Technology. His dissertation had a specific focus on the Garden Route and was entitled - “AN INTEGRATED STRATEGY FOR COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION IN TOURISM IN THE GARDEN ROUTE AREA”.

Two other qualifications – the BTech degree (Tourism Management) and National Diploma (Tourism Management) were both obtained from the erstwhile Port Elizabeth Technikon, with his initial degree in education - BA (Ed) resulting from his earlier studies at the University of Venda.

Mr Ramukumba has in the past year and a half co-authored or authored no less than eight academic articles which have been accepted for publication in a variety of national and international academic journals. His latest article – “A case study of emerging entrepreneurs in the tourism industry in the context of Local Economic Development in the Eden District Municipality” was published in the March issue of the American Journal of Travel Research

An article co-authored by Mr Ramukumba, Dr de Witt and two other academics also featured in the February 2012 issue of African Journal of Business Management. The focus was - “Challenges facing the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the tourism industry of Eden District Municipality (EDM) in the Western Cape Province, South Africa”.

Contact information
Ms Alet van Tonder
Manager: Marketing & Corporate Relations
Tel: 27 44 801 5098