The Durban-born recording artist who is well-known for her hit songs, Deeper, Joy, and You, said it was no easy task to study while on tour. ‘I had to read for my research at airports, in cars, planes and at the studio; time-management was key!’
Her graduation was not just a personal triumph, but one for her family as well, as she is the first woman in her family to obtain a tertiary qualification. Wasserfall is passionate about education and plans to go on to study for a Masters and PhD, ‘Education is the greatest gift you can give yourself,’ she said.
Her research investigated the representation and decoding of gender-based inequality in Uzalo, South Africa’s most-watched soap opera. This is an interesting case study as the two families, initially headed by men, are now headed by women. ‘It is important to understand how these encoded messages of empowerment are decoded by audiences, to understand whether or not they are facilitating or challenging the gender-based inequalities prevalent in society; and as a result, empowering women,’ she observed.
The study was motivated by on-going gender-based inequality in South Africa, in the form of gender-based violence, femicide and unequal pay. ‘Gender expectations differ from society to society and although patriarchy power structures dominate most societies globally, the manifestations of these structures may vary. My research concerns itself with the Zulu culture,’ Wasserfall said.
She added that the cum laude came as ‘a bit of a surprise. It proves that hard work does pay off. However, I couldn’t have done it without all the support I received from my friends, family, classmates, and lecturers.’