Southern African Archaeology Student Society
Nompumelelo Maringa is an archaeozoologist who specializes in micromammal research. She obtained her BSc in Archaeology and Geography in 2016, BSc (Hons) in Archaeology in 2017, and MSc in Archaeology in 2020 from the University of the Witwatersrand. Mpumi worked as a faunal research assistant for Genus Palaeosciences at the University of the Witwatersrand, where she analyzed faunal material from Kromdraai, an archaeological site in the Cradle of Humankind. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. from the Interdisciplinary Center for Archaeology and the Evolution of Human Behaviour (ICArEHB) at the University of Algarve. Mpumi continues to refine her skills while looking forward to gaining more skills and experience. Mpumi uses her experience in voluntary programs and organizations to improve her abilities such as science communication and social media engagement. She aims to encourage and empower women of color to believe in themselves and pursue leadership positions. “I think it’s important for the new generation to include themselves in STEM careers. Representation matters and we need to support each other whole-heartedly because forging your own path is not always an easy process”.
After starting in Commerce at the University of Pretoria, Sebastian moved over to a Batchelor of Arts majoring in Archaeology and Ancient Culture Studies in 2018. In 2021, he moved to the University of the Witwatersrand to complete his BSc Honours degree in Geography, Archaeology, and Environmental Studies. With his main interest being the Stone Age, his Honours Research Project covered faunal analysis of material from Klasies River, in the southern Cape. Having had a successful 2021, he has begun his Research Master's at the University of the Witwatersrand focusing on the lithic analysis of Middle Stone Age material from Klasies River. Beyond his recent involvement in MSA archaeology, he also has an interest in the ESA. Having trained at two universities, Sebastian continues to focus on developing as many skills as possible both inside and outside the classroom with the goal of developing a broad and competent archaeological research skillset.
Precious Chiwara-Maenzanise completed her BA, BA Special Honours as well as Masters in Archaeology at the University of Zimbabwe before moving to the University of Cape Town where she is currently doing her PhD with the Human Evolution Research Institute (HERI UCT) and the UCT Archaeology Department. She is one of the recipient of the HERI 2020 Advancing womaxn fellows and NRF grant. Precious' passion for researching the ancient past is seen in her PhD project, which examines early human social transmission. The research focuses on the Kalahari Basin, specifically Ga-Mohana Hill, and she's part of a team drawing attention to the early record of human evolution that extends beyond the coastal regions, where most of the work is done. Precious states that “Black women are under-represented in palaeo-sciences, thus my goal is to advance the representation of women in this field.”
René Sielemann completed her BA in Archaeology & Anthropology and graduated with her Bachelor of Honours in Anthropology cum laude at the University of South Africa. After living in Germany for a decade, she has decided to move back to South Africa to pursue her life-long dream of becoming a paleoanthropologist. Versatile in many aspects of anthropology and archaeology, René has been a part of various archaeological and anthropological projects, nationally as well as internationally. Apart from a love for anthropology, archaeology, and South African heritage, René also completed a diverse range of marine biology courses which made her an avid volunteer at the Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town as well as at The Southern Africa Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB).
Social Media and Marketing
Nithya Eswaran received her BA (honours) in Archaeology and is pursuing MSc. Archaeology from the University of Witwatersrand. She focuses on researching and promoting sustainable archaeotourism. In her opinion, tourism needs new dimensions. Tourists must try and focus on exploring lesser-known parts of the world, exchanging culture and most importantly being environmentally driven. As an Indian, who started researching, rethinking, and relearning archaeology in South Africa, she aspires to make an impact globally in archaeology. The rock art bug bit her at the end of 2021 and she loves to digitally document and study rock art. She cherishes educating and picking up knowledge on various cultures, and heritage science and is fascinated by story-telling. "I feel I am responsible for making a big move in this field which will give me a big chance to be one day someone who is remembered for her work. I think it is our duty as people sharing life in this world to make our future better because the future is not only ours."
Tatenda Tavingeyi is an aspiring archaeological scientist who is committed to cultural heritage management and is a sustainable tourism activist. He holds a bachelor's degree in archaeology, museum, and heritage studies from Great Zimbabwe in Zimbabwe. His research interests are in palaeobotany, palaeoenvironments, ancient environmental genomics (eDNA), and climate change as it relates to cultural heritage. Tatenda looks forward to spearheading the reconstruction exercise of Palaeoenvironments or ecosystems in Africa using ancient environmental genomics techniques as he proceeds with his studies and research. He has been involved in various advocacy activities with various organizations such as the CCP (Climate Culture Peace). On top of that Tatenda Tavingeyi is a strong advocate for sustainable Youth empowerment especially in the heritage industry and also the recognition of cultural heritage rights. Tatenda's responsibilities in the Council include reaching out to students from SADC countries and universities. Outreach to students from international institutions and universities to create meaningful connections. Tatenda is also involved in building relationships between SAASC and SADC professionals.