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Dr Lorato Mokwena is the Quote This Woman+ Voices of the Year winner in the Rural Women category for the year 2022. Lorato is an academic and founder of the “Dis ‘n Noord-Kaap Ding” colloquium. The colloquium is an academic gathering that brings together stakeholders from various spheres whose work focuses on the Northern Cape. The colloquium also allows for in-depth conversations and analysis of the Northern Cape, its’ people and their diversity. Her work in the Northern Cape has been nationally recognised as it has led to a resurgence of pride and interest in her province. Lorato Mokwena is also the 2022 recipient of the Excellence in Community Engagement Award, awarded at the University of the Western Cape’s Academic Achievers Awards.

Lorato’s research in non-urban spaces and the particularities of life, needs and potential growth points in the Northern Cape is explored from an “extraordinary gaze” – a gaze that prompts one to extrapolate the extraordinary out of the seemingly banal. Her work on the socio-linguistic discoveries in the Northern Cape (as a knowledge production site) have been the subject of several international papers, book chapters and conference presentations. Lorato’s work continues to affirm the importance and purpose of community-based activism in rural areas through the practice of human-centred archiving, uplifting and commemorating. 

She has published 6 opinion pieces this year (5 research related and one non-research related) in various newspapers. She firmly believes that research and knowledge need to be more accessible and relatable. This is the main reason that prompts her to habitually extract research findings and convert them into newspaper articles that a layperson would understand. The articles focus on the research she is currently conducting in the Northern Cape. 

Education: Mokwena holds a PhD in Linguistics from the University of Western Cape (UWC).

Lorato’s quote on what the award means to her:

“To me, the QW+ Voices of the Year serve to recognise, uplift and empower woman+ experts. As individuals who are continuously marginalised irrespective of their brilliance and expertise, we need such awards to give recognition where it is due! Women+ experts work harder than their male counterparts yet many times, we are overlooked. Additionally, although woman+ experts are not primarily driven by incentives such as awards, it is a welcome boost of self-confidence when one receives recognition and receiving this award give gravitas to one’s professional quest. Such a recognition can propel woman+ experts to great heights and serve as an inspiration to other women to use their voices.”

Contact jordan@quotethiswoman.org.za to Interview Lorato For Your Next Story.