About Dr Tebogo Makhubela
I was born and raised in Soweto, Johannesburg, where I completed my primary and secondary schooling. I became the first person in my family to pursue university education, choosing to attend the University of Johannesburg (UJ). At UJ, I earned my BSc in Physical Sciences, with a focus on Geology and Chemistry in 2011. My passion for Geology led me to further my studies at UJ, completing my BSc Honours in Geology in 2012, followed by an MSc in 2014, and a PhD in 2019. I started my employment in academia in the Department of Geology at UJ in February 2015 as an Assistant Lecturer, followed by permanent appointment as Lecturer in the new Generation of Academics Programme (nGAP) in January 2016, and got promoted to Senior Lecturer in February 2021. While I’ve remained with UJ throughout my academic and professional journey, I’ve been privileged to make five research visits of 1-3 months between 2014 and 2023 to the esteemed Helmholtz Centre Potsdam GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences. During these visits, I gained invaluable expertise in cosmogenic nuclide techniques and secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS).
My MSc and PhD research were focused on the hominid fossil-bearing deposits of the Cradle of Humankind UNESCO World Heritage Site. While much of my work continues to revolve around the geochronology and petrography of cave deposits in the Cradle, my interests have expanded to include Plio-Pleistocene low-temperature sedimentary environments (tufa, speleothem, calcrete, soil) and landscape evolution in Southern Africa. Especially in areas that enhance our understanding of human evolution, landscape changes and climate changes during the Quaternary Period. My geochronology expertise includes cosmogenic radionuclides (beryllium-10 and aluminium-26), U-series, and uranium-thorium-helium dating methods.
Beyond my contributions to geology research and teaching, I am passionate about community outreach, engagement, and science communication. I enjoy promoting science in schools and through various media platforms, such as radio, TV, YouTube, LinkedIn and print. In addition to individual initiatives, I am a member (since 2018) and chairperson (since 2021) of the University of Johannesburg’s Faculty of Science Community Engagement Committee, participating in multiple community development projects. Through these activities, I aim to inspire and cultivate an appreciation for science in the broader community.
- Geochronology of Plio-Pleistocene deposits and formations using U/Th, (U,Th)-He and cosmogenic 26Al/10Be dating methods.
- Landscape evolution and quantifying geomorphic changes using cosmogenic nuclide (10Be and 26Al) exposure ages and denudation rates.
- Petrography and geochemistry of Quaternary deposits in low-temperature sedimentary environments (tufa, speleothem, calcrete, soil).
- Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) in Geosciences.
- GLG1A20 – Basic field techniques and geological methods
- APG02B2 – Applied Engineering and Environmental Geology
- GLG8X05 (Honours) – Applied and environmental mineralogy
- MSc and PhD by research dissertation/thesis
- Winkler, S., Mbele, V., Khosa, R., Corbett, L. B., Bierman, P., Hidy, A., Brown, T., Makhubela, T.V., Kramers, J., Tooth, S. (2023). 10Be at iThemba LABS using a silicon nitride membrane stack as absorber for isobar suppression. Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section B: Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms, 540. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nimb.2023.03.024
- Lombard, M., Bradfield, J., Caruana, M. V., Makhubela, T. V., Dusseldorp, G. L., Kramers, J. D., & Wurz, S. (2022). The Southern African stone age sequence updated (II). South African Archaeological Bulletin, 77(217), 172-212.
- Pourret, O., Anand, P., Bots, P., Cottrell, E., Dosseto, A., Gunter, A., … Makhubela, T.V., … & Tripati, A. (2022). Evolution of diversity in the editorial boards of Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta and Chemical Geology. European Science Editing, 48: e89470. https://doi.org/10.3897/ese.2022.e89470
- Makhubela, T. V., & Mavuso, S. S. (2022). An overview of the geology of paleoanthropological and archaeological sites of South Africa. Integrated Quaternary Stratigraphy, 7, 221. https://doi.org/10.1016/bs.sats.2022.10.001
- Kramers, J. D., Makhubela, T. V. (2022). (U,Th)-He dating of Pleistocene carbonates: analytical methods and age calculations. MethodsX, 9, 101608. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mex.2021.101608
- Makhubela, T. V., Kramers, J. D. (2022). Combined (U,Th)-He and U/Th dating of Neogene and Quaternary calcite speleothems and calcretes: a feasibility study in Cradle of Humankind caves and pans in the Karoo, South Africa. Quaternary Geochronology, 67, 101234. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quageo.2021.101234
- Makhubela, T. V., Kramers, J. D., Konyana, S. M., van Niekerk, H. S., Winkler, S. R. (2021). Erosion rates and weathering timescales in the eastern Great Escarpment, South Africa. Chemical Geology, 580. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chemgeo.2021.120368
- Makhubela, T. V., Winkler, S. R., Mbele, V., Kramers, J. D., Khosa, R. R., Moabi, H. P., Konyana, S. M. (2021). The advent of cosmogenic nuclide applications in Southern African geomorphology and capabilities in South Africa. South African Geographical Journal, 103:1, 99-118. https://doi.org/10.1080/03736245.2020.1775689
- Robbins, J. L., Dirks, P. H. G. M., Roberts, E. M., Kramers, J. D., Makhubela, T. V., Hilbert-Wolf, H. L., Elliott, M., Wiersma, J. P., Placzek, C., Evans, M., Berger, L. R. (2021). Providing context to the Homo naledi fossils: Constraints on the age of sediment deposits in the Rising Star Cave, South Africa. Chemical Geology, 567. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chemgeo.2021.120108
- Elliott, M. C., Makhubela, T. V., Brophy, J. K., Churchill, S. E., Peixotto, B., Feuerriegel, E. M., … & Berger, L. R. (2021). Expanded Explorations of the Dinaledi Subsystem, Rising Star Cave System, South Africa. PaleoAnthropology, 1, 15-22. https://doi.org/10.48738/2021.iss1.68
- Makhubela, T.V., Kramers, J.D., Scherler, D., Wittmann H., Dirks, P.H.G.M. and Winkler, S.R., 2019. Effects of long soil surface residence times on apparent cosmogenic nuclide denudation rates and burial ages in the Cradle of Humankind, South Africa. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 44, 2968-2981. https://doi.org/10.1002/esp.4723
- Belyanin, G.A., Kramers, J.D., Andreoli, M.A.G., Greco, F., Gucsik, A., Makhubela, T.V., Przybylowicz, W.J. and Wiedenbeck, M., 2018. Petrography of the carbonaceous, diamond-bearing stone ”Hypatia” from southwest Egypt: A contribution to the debate on its origin. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 223, 462–492. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gca.2017.12.020
- Makhubela, T.V., Kramers, J.D., Belyanin, G.A., Dirks, P.H.G.M. and Roberts, E.M., 2017. Proterozoic 40Ar/39Ar ages from cave deposits of the Malapa, Sterkfontein and Dinaledi fossil sites, Cradle of Humankind, South Africa. South African Journal of Geology, 120, 21-44. https://doi.org/10.25131/gssajg.120.1.21
- Dirks, P.H.G.M., Roberts, E.M., Hilbert-Wolf, H., Kramers, J.D., Hawks, J., Dosseto, A., Duval, M., Elliott, M., Evans, M., Grün, R., Hellstrom, J., Herries, A.I.R., Joannes-Boyau, R., Makhubela, T.V., Placzek, C.J., Robbins, J., Carl Spandler, C., Wiersma, J., Woodhead, J., Berger, L.R., 2017. The age of Homo naledi and associated sediments in the Rising Star Cave, South Africa. eLife 2017;6:e24231. 59 pages. https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.24231.001
- Dirks, P. H., Berger, L. R., Roberts, E. M., Kramers, J. D., Hawks, J., Randolph-Quinney, P. S., … & Makhubela, T. V., Peixotto, B., Tucker, S., 2015. Geological and taphonomic context for the new hominin species Homo naledi from the Dinaledi Chamber, South Africa. eLife, 4, e09561. https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.09561.021
- Makhubela, T. & Kramers, J. (2016). How old is the Earth? Quest, 12(1), 6-8. https://hdl.handle.net/10520/EJC184692