‘Very few universities in the world offer these honorary positions to academics and as such we don’t hear about them very often. It’s really an honour,’ said Maart.
‘The appointment is also a recognition of the work I have done within various research projects on an international scale and the contribution in the form of seminars, lectures and workshops I conducted at the University of Bremen.’
As a research ambassador for the next five years, Maart will promote the University of Bremen at UKZN and within the southern African region. She will organise events between the two universities, bringing together researchers to share resources while extending those activities to postgraduate students as well as planning research meetings and events between the two institutions.
Said Maart: ‘This means I will need to organise an already existing network of researchers between the two locations, broadening it, to work on joint projects and facilitating the collaboration. The networking is part of both universities’ focus on academic development, which also includes publications. It’s also important to get UKZN’s name out there – in this case, as a staff member of UKZN, it’s the work I do here that has been welcomed there.’
Maart will work toward building further links between UKZN and Bremen.
Maart was born in District Six in Cape Town and grew up there before being forcibly removed, along with approximately one hundred thousand families, by the apartheid Government in the early 1970s.
She matriculated from Steenberg High School and went on to complete her undergraduate degree at the University of the Western Cape in Cape Town, later attaining a master’s degree at the University of York in England and a PhD at the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies at the University of Birmingham in the UK.
Among her achievements was a 1987 nomination for Women of the Year for starting the first Black feminist organisation in South Africa titled Women Against Repression.
She published her first book at the age of 27 in Toronto, Canada, and three years later won The Journey Prize: Best Short Fiction in Canada.
Maart has already published three books with several more lined up with publishers. ‘Every single book I have written has won an award and made the best seller list somewhere in the world,’ she said.
Maart has done collaborative work with philosophers within UNESCO, producing the first South-South Philosophy textbook in 2014. Most of her work focuses on Black Consciousness, psychoanalysis, Derrida and deconstruction.
In 2016, she received a lifetime achievement award in philosophy – the William R. Jones award – from the organisation known as: Philosophy Born of Struggle.
Professor Maart also writes fiction, and considers writing as central to her identity. ‘It goes without saying that gender and critical race theory are evident in all of my work,’ added Maart.