The ESERA Community is saddened to hear about the passing of Professor Audrey Msimanga, Head of School at the Witwatersrand University, South Africa. Professor Msimanga has been a long time member of ESERA, having participated in the summer school and attended many conferences. At the Bologna conference, she was part of a panel on multicultural science education and has co-authored a chapter in the upcoming ESERA book. Professor Hamsa Venkat, the SAARMSTE President has written the following obituary about the professional accomplishments of Professor Msimanga.
“It is with deep sorrow that I write to you today with the news that Prof Audrey Msimanga, Head of School, Wits School of Education and Chair of the SAARMSTE Research Capacity Building Committee, passed away earlier today. I extend our heartfelt condolences to Prof Msimanga’s family, friends, colleagues and students at this time, many of us within the SAARMSTE Community, as we try and deal with this devastating loss and begin to collectively mourn her passing. Prof Msimanga recently moved to Johannesburg to take on the position of Head of the Wits School of Education, having previously served as the Head of the School of Education at Sol Plaatje University, and as a Staff member at Wits prior to that.
Audrey completed her PhD in Science Education at Wits, having attended the SAARMSTE Research School as a doctoral student, and subsequently as a facilitator, a Research Capacity Building Committee member, and most recently, as the Committee Chair. We remember Professor Msimanga as a respected and much-loved teacher and facilitator, with her own research focused on understanding how science can best be taught in local contexts of teacher and learner diversity and multilingualism, and she was widely published. She held several positions of responsibility across multiple institutions in the Southern African region, including serving on several research and academic bodies, including as the Associate Editor of the Journal of Research in Science Teaching. This year she was nominated President Elect for SAARMSTE.
Audrey’s presence was gentle and wise, and her committed leadership endeared her to all who knew her. Her passing leaves a void in so many lives in the SAARMSTE community, and more broadly. The Research School this year will struggle to deal with the loss of Audrey as a leader, a colleague and a friend. But we treasure the memories, and have been the beneficiaries of her wisdom and grace. We will inform the SAARMSTE community about the details of her funeral and memorial as they become available.”