Anton M. Pillay has been an Evaluator within the Centre for Academic Development (CAD) at VUT since 2014. Pillay was born to South African parents in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA, and spent the early part of his life in the USA before moving to the oil rich country of Nigeria and later on to Kampala, Uganda. His dad, Prof Michael Pillay, who is also at VUT was a banana scientist at that time and thus the family moved around a lot. Pillay Jr. also spent some of his formative years in the University of Cape Town and thus considers all these places “to be where I am from.”
On October,19 2020, Pillay graduated with a PhD in International Politics from the University of Johannesburg under the supervision of Professor Chris Landsberg, the South African Research Chair on African Diplomacy and Foreign Policy. Anton’s research explored the benefits and constraints of a hypothetical common African currency. The research hypothesized that a common African currency is the epitome of Pan-Africanism in action and that it has the potential to tackle many of Africa’s perennial challenges.
On how this research can impact his role at VUT, he notes “At CAD we seek to constantly rethink and reconceptualize the art of academic development. One aspect of this reconceptualization is how to go about decolonizing the university. How can we effectively incorporate global South narratives into a system which was designed and constructed to disregard any other view.” He further notes, “The symbiotic relationship between history, political analysis, and academic development allows us to create new “worldviews.”
Describing how it feels to have graduated he said “It feels great to have completed it and even better that the question of “when are you finishing” can no longer be asked. “It means “the world” to me in that my parents and family are proud of the milestone,” he said.
Dr Pillay’s plans entail completing his Post Graduate Diploma in Higher Education (PGDipHE) at VUT, expanding his entrepreneurial endeavours, and to publish his thesis in DHET approved journals.
“The expert in anything was once a beginner,” he concluded.
Article by: Qhawekazi Memani