Finland > South Africa
Interviewee: Keneiloe Molopyane
What is your personal dream related to your profession as an archaeologist?
Well, if you would allow me to be vain for a minute, but I’d actually like an archaeology lab named after me. Lol, okay seriously though I just want expand my research field and help others along the way fulfil their own dreams.
What is the biggest problem in archaeology in South Africa right now? And what about the biggest opportunity / hope?
Well, at the very moment…as we speak discussion around my academic inner circle and around conference tables have been focused on the lack of available jobs for future archaeologists. The question that has been asked so many times is “why do we produce so many archaeologists (referring to postgraduate students) when we as academics know that the job market is saturated at the moment”? It’s a tough question to answer and I don’t think it’s a South African problem alone; it’s hard to get a job anywhere.
What is the relationship between politics and archaeology in South Africa?
Hmm, tough question that I’ve never really thought about until now. I guess we have so much going on in our country that archaeology doesn’t really feature as much in politics. Although having said that, I do remember a time during my undergraduate years when former president Thabo Mbeki gave his “I’m an African” speech and he was so interested in all things historical and archaeological pertaining to the African continent. I guess when he left office, so did interests into the past. It would be really nice to see our government provide funding into our research, as funding at the moment is so little and hard to come by (competition is rough).
How do you see the role of archaeology in today’s society and in the future?
Archaeology is a very dynamic field, constantly changing and upgrading itself, maybe not as fast as we’d like it to. To me, archaeology provides a window into the forgotten past and allows us to learn more about ourselves and possibly see where we are headed.
Associate Lecturer in the Archaeology division (School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies), at the University of the Witwatersrand. PhD candidate in Biological Anthropology, School of Anatomical Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand.
Questions from Liisa Seppänen in Finland.
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