Artist cop gets his doctorate
Siphe Potelwa is a cop with a difference. He’s a fine artist, a teacher, and can now put the title doctor before his name after graduating with a PhD in education from the University of Fort Hare.
At the same time as doing his doctoral research, the 38-year-old police identikit artist completed two other courses at higher learning institutions.
He laughs at the notion that the SAPS seems an unlikely home for intellectuals.
''The SAPS is a good organisation for growth with high opportunities. The impression outside [from the community] is that the police are uneducated ... I enjoy serving the community with respect and dignity,'' he said.
His doctoral research looked at visual art education of adult offenders in an Eastern Cape correction centre.
'' I am very excited to be the first ‘philosopher’ in my family,” he said.
In May 2015, DispatchLIVE ran a story about his exhibition — his final-year project for his master’s degree in art — at the Ann Bryant Art Gallery in East London.
It was 150 little wooden coffins, a work critiquing the extravagance associated with the burial practices of modern Xhosa people.
Potelwa joined the police service a student constable in January 2006 but resigned after a year and became an art teacher at Mdumazulu Junior Secondary School in Ngqeleni.
He rejoined SAPS in January 2011 as a forensic analyst.
He now works as a facial identification expert at the provincial SAPS forensics department in Zwelitsha.