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PhD Students

Sarah Bruchhausen

Sarah Bruchhausen is a PhD candidate in the History Department and currently holds a fellowship with the Wits History Workshop. Her research interests include the history and politics of rural resistance in South Africa with a focus on questions of land, ethnicity, citizenship and the thought of emancipatory politics in contemporary Africa. In addition to this Sarah has also completed research on the Rivonia Trial based on an extensive engagement with the recently digitized dictabelt records of the court proceedings.

Asher Gamedze

I’m a cultural worker based in cape town working mainly as a musician, writer, and a student as well as being involved in a number of autonomous cultural/political collectives. I’m working towards a PhD in the history department at Wits university and am glad to be affiliated with the History Workshop. The current title of my project is "the yu chi chan club and the national liberation front: a history of revolutionary pedagogy, theory and practice." Some of my other interests include black cultural production, histories of revolutionary thought and practice, Avant Garde music and cricket. My debut album dialectic soul is available at:

Joel Pearson

Joel Pearson is a PhD candidate at the Wits History Department. He currently holds a fellowship with the Public Affairs Research Institute (PARI), and is an associate of the History Workshop. He has produced work on contemporary municipalities in the Limpopo Province, and is currently researching the political, social and institutional dynamics that unfolded over the course of the transition to democracy at the Mogalakwena Local Municipality, and across the region more broadly.

Matseliso Motsoane

PhD candidate in the History Department and the History Workshop. Her research interests are in the interconnectedness of Southern African history, liberation, passive and creative resistance and resilience. She completed her BA Degree all the way through to MA in History at the University of the Free State. As a Master’s student, her research was about the role that Lesotho played in South Africa’s liberation struggle, with particular focus on the National University of Lesotho. Through her range of research interests Matseliso hopes to position Lesotho as a central player in the intersectional history of the continent, and the making of post-colonial realities and identity.

Her PhD research will explore the impact of a particularly outstanding Mosotho photographer Mohlouoa Ramakatane, and his work as both a photojournalist and a street/studio photographer in Lesotho and South Africa. The research makes use of photographs as primary sources to assist in reconfiguring collective memory amongst Lesotho and South Africa about their intersectional political and cultural histories.

Nathan Hein

Research Title: Reimagining Subject Formation and Identities in the Industrial Town of Vereeniging, from Apartheid to Democracy

My research is on the making of subjectivities and identities in the industrial urban area of Vereeniging, Gauteng region (previously the PWV - Pretoria/Witwatersrand/Vereeniging) from the segregation to the democratic eras. My focus is on the processes, structures, struggles and everyday politics that settled and unsettled subjectivities and identities among the black population of Vereeniging in the black residential areas of the old location, Top Location (established in 1912 and demolished during apartheid), and in the former racially segregated areas of Rust-ter-Vaal, Roshnee and Sharpeville. My research centres the agency of common people. This means that while the research accounts for larger scale processes and structures such as the state and modern industrial capitalism that shaped the conditions in which people lived, this study also accounts for the ways in which the people of Vereeniging negotiated, defied, reconfigured and reinvented themselves within these conditions. I account for the ways that residents actively made their own identities in particular places, shaped by broader socio-economic and political processes.

Ripfumelo Sithole

Ripfumelo Sithole is PhD Candidate at the University of Witwatersrand. Ripfumelo holds a Masters and Honors degree in Social and Cultural Anthropology from the University of Witwatersrand. Her PhD research focuses on historical patterns of work for women in Dobsonville and how they have changed and/or shifted in the present day, appreciating the strides women have made in a system that worked to oppress, exclude and disadvantage them. Ripfumelo’s other research interests include gender and women’s rights issues, transitional justice and the pervasiveness of socioeconomic inequality particularly in South Africa.   

Thabiso Moyo

Thabiso is a PhD candidate in the Sociology Department and a History Workshop fellow under the ‘The Everyday and Public History’ programme. Highlighting a tendency in existing analyses of society and politics to focus on ‘the spectacular’, his research makes a case for studying past and present Community Advice Offices (CAOs) as spaces through and in which to understand what happens in between big events or moments, in the everyday.

Kasonde Thomas Mukonde
Kasonde Thomas Mukonde is a Doctoral Candidate in History with the History Workshop and Department of History at Wits University. He has previously worked as a teacher and a librarian, and published work on the history of reading in Soweto high schools in an international peer–reviewed journal. Kasonde has conducted research on the support that Zambian broadcasters gave to the ANC's Radio Freedom in Lusaka. His doctoral research focuses on township–based resistance theatre in South African townships from the 1970s to the year 2000. Kasonde obtained his undergraduate degree in history from Georgetown University in Washington, DC.


Masters Students

Bahima Mandelisa is currently pursuing her MA in history (by Coursework and Research report), under the History Workshop’s Soweto History and biography Project 2023 cohort. Her research interest includes women history, particularly socioeconomic inequality, women’s rights in South Africa and racial inequality. Subsequently to this, Bahima obtained her undergraduate degree in which she majored in History and Psychology at North-West University (Vaal Triangle Campus) in 2022. The following year 2023, Bahima obtained her honours degree in history from North-West University. Professionally, Bahima has gained three years’ experience in teaching first years and second years and hopes to join the academic space. Bahima has served as tutor, student academic assistant and researcher.

Amanda Xulu is currently pursuing her MA in History (by dissertation) as part of the History Workshop’s Soweto History and Archive Project 2023 cohort. Prior to this, Amanda obtained her undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in History and Politics & International Studies at Rhodes University in 2013 and 2014 respectively. Professionally, Amanda has gained seven years’ experience through exhibition and museum development in the heritage preservation sector and has served as a manuscript editor, writer, researcher, project coordinator and project manager. Amanda is passionate about uncovering the hidden histories of women’s roles as activists in various African liberation struggles.

Dan is a Masters candidate interested in nightlife histories and their intersection with queer social histories. They are passionate about exploring queer histories from the perspective of recreation, hedonism and social life, in an attempt to populate the archive with a more varied and multifaceted understanding of LGBT histories. Their work explores music styles, fashion, club life and social spaces as they relate to queer people's continued fight for safe spaces in the night.

Sihle Luma is a Master’s Candidate in History with the History Workshop. His interests revolve around sports histories. His master’s research focuses on the history of “non-European” tennis in the Southern Transvaal, between 1920-1990. His research title is: “What A Polite Game Tennis Is”: The History of Tennis in Soweto, 1920 – 1990. Outside this research, Sihle is currently writing a paper titled A gym covered by full sweaty dreams”: Youth, tsotsis and the Dube Boxing Club, the 1950s – 1970s, which underlines and explores the role that the Dube Boxing Club played in the community of Dube between the 1950s and late 1970s, specifically focusing on the youth and tsotsism.