Mogammad Yaaseen Samuels wins SSAG Bronze Medal award for best Master’s research thesis
The Department of Environmental and Geographical Science is proud to announce that Mogammad Yaaseen Samuels is the winner of 2021 Society of South African Geographers’ (SSAG) award for the 2021 SSAG Bronze Medal award for the best Master’s research thesis. Yaaseen was supervised by Associate Professor Merle Sowman. Yaaseen’s thesis, titled “Governing Coastal Risk: The Case of Langebaan’s Disappearing Shoreline”, sought to understand the various responses (i.e. both technical and institutional) to coastal risk along the Langebaan shoreline. This coastal town, situated in the Saldanha Bay, is centrally located within a localised dynamic system where human development and environmental conservation meet. Considering years of urban and industrial expansion within the Bay, the long-term environmental impacts on Langebaan’s shoreline proved detrimental, therefore complex. This research thesis employed a holistic lens to unpacking this complexity surrounding shoreline erosion in determining how the governance thereof can be strengthened within the context of long-term climate and human-induced change. This methodology encouraged integrated and collaborative thinking, which is ultimately what environmental solutions prescribe.
Yaaseen’s research philosophy is inspired by Nobel Laureate and Scientist Mario Molina who was quoted as saying, “scientists may depict the problems affecting the environment based on available evidence, but its solutions are the responsibility of society as a whole.” When asked what he feels makes for a good thesis, Yaaseen said it takes a balance of confidence, which requires believing in one’s research so that the passion therefor is obvious when communicating it to a diverse audience and grit, which involves embracing the challenges associated with academic writing, namely supervisor feedback and learning from that.