Historian gets award for Harold Cressy work
Professor Adhikari will receive the award at the UCT graduation ceremony on Wednesday December 12.
In a citation, published by UCT, it states: "the most striking feature of this social responsiveness initiative is the commitment of the academic (Professor Adhikari) to using his scholarship to sustain a grassroots project that benefited a school community in a wide variety of ways."
The citation added: "For a period of over two decades Mohamed Adhikari; an alumnus of Harold Cressy High School, put his considerable talents as a historian at the service of his alma mater in the execution of heritage projects relating to this institution. Most recently, drawing on decades of research, he produced an edifying and attractively illustrated popular biography of Harold Cressy, the inspirational early twentieth century educationist after whom the school is named."
Professor Adhikari said he is elated about receiving the award and considers it an "added bonus which will add lustre to the Harold Cressy name".
Professor Adhikari, who attended Harold Cressy High School from 1967 until 1971, told the Tatler the school taught him "key values that informed his social and political outlook".
In his submission to UCT for the award, he said: "It was at Harold Cressy that I first learnt the importance of social responsibility, of individuals having an obligation to serve the public interest and foster the welfare of society beyond their own needs and " wants. Harold Cressey was thus a true alma mater to me."
Professor Adhikari said the success of the school was due to a core of highly talented teachers motivated by the ideals embodied in the Teachers' League of South Africa's (TLSA) motto "Let us live for our children."
He has been a member of the Harold Cressy Alumni Association since it was formed in 2006, and because of that contact became aware of extensive poverty among pupils at the school.
"I thus decided to republish the Harold Cressy biography formally in a way that would help raise money for the bursary fund. Between mid-2011 and the middle of 2012, I put my research projects on autopilot and spent the time freed up in this way to research and convert the old Cressy biography into a rich and attractively illustrated formal publication."
To date 700 copies of the book have been sold.
Sandy Shepherd, a publisher at Juta, wrote a glowing commendation for Professor Adhikari. In it she said: Juta was very happy to support the production and publication of the illustrated version of this book as a corporate social responsibility initiative to raise funds for the Harold Cressy High School."
She praised Professor Adhikari as being a "highly valued author", who has published several books of great social significance with them.
"The biography is extremely well-written, and with the documents the author sourced it is a publication of very high quality and originality; the subject, a teacher striving for equality and excellence in education, fits the core focus of Juta as an educational publisher," Ms Shepherd said in her commendation.
Professor Adhikari, who stays in Rylands, said research work is not "work" for him.
"Essentially I am making a living doing something that I love. I am working on two books at the moment and I have already published 10 books. I am also currently looking at topics such as colonialism and genocide."
When Professor Adhikari is not conducting research, he enjoys going to the gym and taking long walks along the mountainside.
"My job also allows me to travel and I visit various countries when I go to conferences once or twice a year."
Lionel Adriaan, Professor Adhikari's former teacher and former principal of Harold Cressy High School in District Six, said the school is "very proud" of his achievement.
"I am part of the Harold Cressy Bursary Fund and alumni and the school and it associates are certainly proud of him. I think that pride and admiration should be converted into improving the academic achievements of the current pupils at the school."
Mr Adriaan described Professor Adhikari as "modest, energetic and innovative."
"He is a dedicated researcher and I'm sure he will find something academic to occupy himself."
Written by Mika Williams
Published in Southern Suburbs Tatler, 22 Nov 2012
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