Cum Laude for House Sensation, Holly Rey
House musician, Ms Holly Wasserfall, aka, Holly Rey has graduated with an Honours degree in Media and Communication cum laude, from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. She was awarded her degree at a graduation ceremony on the Westville campus last night, 01 April 2019.
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 Master's and PhD. ‘Education is the greatest tool 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 portrayed in the soap opera - initially headed by me - 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 said.
The study was motivated by ongoing 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,’ she concluded.
Words: Sejal Desai
Photograph: Abhi Indrarajan