Meet our new Academic Director: Professor Kwandiwe Kondlo
Did you know that an Academic Director at a University school is more like the chief operations officer of a company?
Our newly appointed Academic Director at the Wits School of Governance (WSG), Professor Kwandiwe Kondlo is in this role and is responsible for guiding the implementation of the School’s strategy and coordinates the entire academic project. This position looks into details of internal processes and procedures, committees, content of courses taught at WSG, research, student throughput rates as well as research outputs.
Kondlo has spent nearly 10 years as a Professor of International Political Economy in the Department of Politics and International Relations at University of Johannesburg (UJ). He was previously a Senior Professor and Director of the Centre for Africa Studies at the University of the Free State. He holds an MA from the University of Cape Town, and a DLitt et Phil (PhD) from the University of Johannesburg.
Kondlo said he is committed to upholding the vision of WSG which is to be “Africa’s leading School of Governance that is research-led, globally competitive and recognised as a postgraduate institution that works towards transforming the public, private and non-governmental sectors”.
“As Academic Director, I will stay relevant to this vision and ensure that the mission which is to produce internationally competitive, locally relevant scholarship on governance, is realised. I am working with a Steering Committee to identify from the overall strategy of the School, actionable items in the short, medium and long-term and constantly monitor activities geared towards the strategic goals,” he explained.
Kondlo said the School already plays a huge role in the governance space in the country with courses taught at diploma and, Masters levels as well as the PhD research programme undertaken by students. The scope and quality of academic teaching in the various programmes and the depth of research produced continue to put WSG in the frontline of intellectual endeavour.
“The courses are well explained and illustrated on the WSG website. Various academics from WSG sit in advisory committees at national, provincial and local government institutions and some participate in public intellectual deliberations in various media platforms.
“In other words, the WSG is not just an isolated intellectual ivory tower but is deeply embedded in the realities of the country and actively involved in the design of practically relevant solutions to challenges facing South Africa,” he said.
He has worked in government and fully understands the dynamics of the public sector. He has also worked with the private sector as the CEO of what used to be known as SACOB, later transformed during his tenure into what is now known as the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Kondlo said he looks forward to being part of a positive team, highly motivated and not afraid to dream of innovative ways and means to further enhance the brand of WSG and make a positive contribution to the country.
“Most importantly I look forward to starting a WSG Journal of Governance in the 21st century and we are likely start this as WSG Governance Working Papers and I hope this could help us mark our own specific niche in the governance intellectual space and publishing”.
“I also look forward to helping attract a generation of young academics, especially young and upcoming black female South African scholars, as this is important for the future of South African scholarship and the WSG itself.
“The School is very determined to support them and through them establish lasting intellectual partnerships and network all over the continent and the globe. I am also planning with the Head of School to host more Governance seminar series which will hopefully enliven intellectual debates within the School,” he added.
Looking ahead, Kondlo said that there is a project fully underway to make more of WSG’s courses online and already have four ‘foundational’ modules all online.
He has sole authored two books and co-edited five books. Among his widely cited publications are his classic publication ‘In the Twilight of the Revolution – The Pan Africanist Congress of Azania, 1959-1994’. The other book he co-edited with Professor Chinenyengozi Ejiogu, titled ‘Africa in Focus – Governance in the 21st Century’ has also made serious waves in the African continent.
Kondlo has supervised and moderated numerous MA and PhD students as well as Postdoctoral Research Fellows at various universities in South Africa and abroad.