Marc Schäfer. Principal researcher and project leader

Marc completed his PhD in Mathematics Education at Curtin University in Australia.  He is a past Head of the Education Department at Rhodes University and a past President of SAARMSTE.  He loves supervising post-graduate students and is passionate about research - particularly research that has a direct bearing on improving classroom practice.  He currently holds a SARChI Chair in Mathematis Education that has a specific research agenda which focusses on visualisation processes in the teaching and learning of Mathematics.  This project spans South Africa and Namibia, and involves 8 PhD scholars and 9 MEd students.  He has published widely with his students and currently collaborates with scholars in the arena of visualisation in Switzerland, Germany and Indonesia. He has presented plenary talks at numerous conferences nationally and internationally.  He is passionate about the soul of Mathematics, making it visible to everyone and transforming mathematics classrooms into environments that are dynamic, creative and spark curiosity and passion.

Our Namibia research group

Our Namibia research group meets five times a year at NIED in Okahandja.  These contact sessions run for an entire week and are characterised by a strong sense of community and support.  The researchers are grouped into pairs (one PhD scholar with one MEd student) with the intention that they support each other in their research journeys.  The contact sessions consist of a blend of content, research and academic skills input provided by the project leader, staff of the Rhodes Education Department and guest speakers.  The contact sessions coincide with those of the Rhodes Education Department Namibia initiative.

Beata Dongwi. PhD scholar

Beata Dongwi: PhD Scholar

Beata completed her Master’s Degree in Mathematics Education at Rhodes University in South Africa. She taught Mathematics in government High schools before she went to teach at Oranjemund Private School in Oranjemund, Southern Namibia where the Namib Desert, the Orange River and the Atlantic Ocean all meet at one point. She has presented at numerous national and international mathematics conferences and congresses. She is very passionate about teaching and learning mathematics for conceptualisation. Her research interests are visualisation and reasoning in mathematics within an enactivist context.

Provisional title of her research project: Examining mathematical reasoning through enacted visualisation when solving word problems.

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Muhongo Mateya. PhD scholar

Muhongo did his initial teacher training (BETD) at the Rundu College of Education in 1997.  Then he completed at BTech at the Pretoria Technikon after which he completed his BEd (Hons) at the University of Potchefstroom.  At Rhodes University he has graduated with an ACE in Mathematics Education, and then with an MEd degree. In his carreer he taught Mathematics and Physical science at various schools.  He also served as a Head of Department and Principal. He is currently a Senior Education Officer for Mathematics (Grades 8 – 12) based in Rundu in the Kavango East Region. He was involved in the training of mathematics teachers through the Enkondopeko Mathematics Project from 2005 to 2012. He is passionate about assisting and guiding teachers of mathematics to develop effective teaching methods that lead to  conceptual understanding.  He sees it as important that learners learn to value mathematics. He has co-authored and published a number of articles including a chapter in the book Namibia Counts.

Provisional title for his research project: Exploring how an intervention programme that emphasises a visualisation approach in teaching addresses issues of mathematics anxiety

E-mail address:

Selma Ndilipomwene Nghifimule. PhD Scholar

Selma is a mathematics teacher by profession. She completed her BEd Honours and a Master’s Degree in Mathematics Education at Rhodes University in South Africa. She taught Mathematics at Omupanda Combined School in Oshana region, northern Namibia. She is currently a Mathematics trainer at Eenhana Vocational Training Center (a technical school) in the Ohangwena Region in Namibia. She has presented a paper at the national congress for mathematics in 2016. Her research interest lies at the interface of understanding how  2D shapes can transform into 3D objects.

Provisional title of her research project: An exploration of how technical drawing as a visualisation tool can facilitate the transition process between 2D and 3D shapes in the context of vocational training centers.

Contact details:

Julia Iiyambo. PhD scholar

Julia completed her B.Ed degree at UNAM in 2005, majoring in mathematics and biology.  she then completed her B.Ed (H) and MEd degrees at Rhodes University in South Africa. Julia is currently a head of department (HOD) for mathematics and natural sciences at JG Van Der Wath Secondary School in Okahandja. She teaches mathematics there and also coordinates a mathematics club in Okahandja.  Her research interests are in visualisations and making connections in teaching mathematics.

Provisional title of her research project: An action research study investigating the role of visualisation tools to grow and develop connection-making in teaching of algebra and geometry in junior secondary phase.


Charity Ausiku. PhD scholar

Charity is a mathematics education lecturer at the University of Namibia, Rundu Campus where she also coordinates teaching practice.  She completed her Higher Education Diploma in Secondary Education (H.Ed sec) at UNAM in 1998, majoring in mathematics and biology. She obtained her B.Ed (H) at Rhodes University in 2006 and an MEd in 2008. Her research output includes a chapter in the book titled Namibia Counts: Stories of Mathematics Education Research in Namibia, published in 2014, with M. Schafer, D. Samson and B. Brown as editors. She has also presented research papers at various research conferences in Namibia and Botswana. Her research interests include implementation of learner-centred Education in the mathematics classroom, the teaching of mathematics pedagogy and student mentoring during teaching practice. Prior to her lecturing career she taught and served as a Head of Department for mathematics and science at various secondary schools.

Provisional title for her research project: Investigating the role of visualization in redefining the student teachers’ pedagogy in teaching fractions at the primary phase.

Danie Junius. PhD scholar

Danie completed his undergraduate studies at Stellenbosch University in South Africa. He completed a B Ed Hon at the University of Namibia. He then did an M.Ed. at Rhodes University in Grahamstown and is currently a PhD scholar on this programme. He is a teacher of Mathematics, Physical Science and Computer Studies at the Windhoek Gymnasium Private School.  In his MEd research, Danie tracked two very successful mathematics teachers who adopted distinctly seperate approaches to teaching, and analysed their practice in terms of Kilpatrick's conceptual and procedural proficiency strands. 

Provisional title of his research project: How can visualisation processes be harnassed to promote mathematical abstraction and generalization.

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Aune Kashikuka Katenda. MEd student

Aune received her initial teaching qualification from the Ongwendiva College of Education.  She then did an ACE at the North West University after which she completed her Advanced Diploma in Mathematics at UNAM.  She graduated with a BEd Hons from Rhodes University in 2014.  Aune taught Mathematics at two different schools in the Omusati region in northern Namibia before moving to the Khomas region where she is currently teaching at the Augestineum secondary school. She is passionate about mathematics teaching and her ambition is always to enable Namibian children to understand mathematics.
Provisional title of her research project: Investigating how the use of visual models can enhance the teaching of common fractions for conceptual understanding in grade 8 learners.
Email address:

Ben Munichinga. MEd student

Ben is a mathematics teacher in the Zambesi region.  He completed his teacher training at the Windhoek College of Education in 2007 and in 2010 enrolled at UNAM to complete a specialised diploma in mathematics education. He completed a BEd(H) at Rhodes University in 2016 and was accepted to do an MEd in 2017.  He is currently employed at the Nsundano Junior Secondary School in the Zambezi region.  Ben is passionate about education, in particular improving learners’ conceptual understanding of mathematics. His research interest lie at the interface of the van Hiele levels one and two.  Through an intervention programme he wishes to support mathematics teachers to move their learners from level 1 to level 2 at the lower secondary phase.

Provisional title of his research project: A critical analysis of teaching geometry that enables selected Grade 7 learners to migrate from one van Hiele level to another.

Given Matengu. MEd student

Given Matengu is a high school mathematics teacher who hails from the Zambezi region. He obtained his basic teaching diploma (BETD) in 2005 and in 2012 he graduated with a specialized diploma in mathematics education (MASTEP) from UNAM. He also studied and obtained an Advanced Diploma in Educational Leadership and Management with UNAM in 2012-2013. In 2017 he completed his BEd(H) at Rhodes specialising in mathematics education and educational leadership and management. He is currently teaching grade 8 - 12 mathematics at the Mureti High School in the Opuwo-Kunene region.  His research interest is in the effective use of manipulatives in the mathematics classroom.

Provisional title of his research project: An investigation into the use of geoboards as visualization tools in the teaching of quadrilaterals.

Dietlinde Nelao Namakalu. MEd student

Nelao completed her BEd (H) in Mathematics Education at North-West University in South Africa.
She taught mathematics and intergrated natural science at Omudhuwahauwanga primary school before she moved to St Charles lwanga secondary school in the Outapi circuit, Omusati region, where she is currently teaching Mathematics.  She is a very passionate teacher who says that every day she strives to get her students to appreciate mathematics and apply it to their real world situations.  She wants them to learn to persevere, and most importantly not to give up.

Provisional title of her research project:  An investigation of the roles of teachers' gestures as visualisation tools in the teaching of Mathematics.

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Gaus Tshithigona. MEd student

Gaus obtained a certificate in visual art from the Art Performance Centre (APC) in Oshikuku in 1998 after which he did his BETD at the Ongwediva College of Education.  He then registered for an ACE at the University of the North West before doing a BEd(H) at Rhodes University.  He has been a mathematics teacher since 2006.  His research interest is in Indigenous Knowledge systems with a particular focus on recontextualising indigenous knowledge in the context of adopting a visualisation approach to teaching.

The provisional title of his research project: An exploration of a visualisation approach to re-contextualise indigenous knowledge in the teaching of mathematics in Namibia




Muhembo Gottfried Mbundu. MEd student

Gottfried is one of our full time MEd students in Grahamstown.  He will however do his field work in Namibia.  Gottfried has a BETD from Rundu College of Education.  He then did an Advanced Diploma in Mathematics Education before enrolling for a BEd(H) with Rhodes University.  He started teaching in 2009 at a tender age of 21 years.  Before enrolling for the fulltime MEd he taught at the J.G. van der Wath Secondary School in Okahandja where he also acted as HoD.

The provisional title of his research projectAn Analysis of how visual literacy skills can be used to teach for conceptual understanding of geometry by selected grade 8 teachers.

Contact detail:


Liina Shimakeleni. MEd student

Liina obtained her teaching diploma from the Ongwediva College of Education. She then did her ACE and BEd(Hons) with Northwest University before enrolling for her MEd at Rhodes University. She is currently teaching Mathematics and Physical Science at Omagongati Combined School in the Oshana region. In her research, Liina seeks to understand and discover good teaching that promotes the effective use of visualization in inclusive classroom situations.  Her specific interest is to work with visually impaired learners and their teachers.

Provisional research title: An investigation on the use of visualization as a teaching tool to promote mathematical proficiency in learners with visual impairment.