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Current PhD Candidates

Albano Agostinho Troco

Albano Agostinho Troco is a second year PhD candidate in Political Studies. He holds a Master’s degree in Political Science and an Honours degree in International Relations from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Theology (Cum Laude) from Saint Joseph’s Theological Institute in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. His research interests encompass issues on Comparative Politics and International Relations, with particular focus on the nature of the post-colonial state in Africa, secessionist conflicts and movements, political regimes, democratization studies, and electoral politics. He is currently working on his doctoral research entitled: “Electoral Politics in Post-conflict Angola, 2008-2017: Furthering Democracy or Sustaining Authoritarian Rule?”

Blessing Kasiyamhuru

Blessing Kasiyamhuru is a second PhD candidate from Zimbabwe studying comparative politics and political economy. He holds two Master’s degrees in Development and International Relations from Buckinghamshire and a PhD in Public and Development Management. His research interests include identity politics, democratic theory, elections in authoritarian leaning states, and decentralization, with a regional emphasis on Southern Africa.  His current work is on the management of elections on “Authoritarian leaning states: A case study of Zimbabwe.”

Camilo Saloojee

Camilo Saloojee is a second year PhD candidate exploring post-apartheid South African satire. His MA research concerned fanboy audiences and identity formation. Saloojee works as a satirist and scriptwriter for films and major comedic TV shows, including the twice-nominated Late Nite News with Loyiso Gola. He is currently creative producer and writer for the second season of The Bantu Hour.

Cecilia Schultz

I am a second year doctoral candidate in the field of global political economy. My thesis explores the politics of creditworthiness and how the rating activities of institutions like Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s configure South Africa’s economy into a ‘governable space.’ The research question that drives my thesis is: how does the domain of global finance locate itself in South Africa’s political economy? I am also interested in critical development studies, the role of subsistence farming as a livelihood strategy, the question of land redistribution, and economic geography.

Dineo Skosana

Dineo Skosana is a fourth-year PhD candidate in the Department of Political Studies. Her doctoral project investigates the relationship between the heritage and mineral laws in South Africa, and how the legislations shape local processes and the politics of death in a coal mined area in Witbank, Mpumalanga Province. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Political Studies and has expertise in traditional leadership and local governance in South Africa. She has a broad research interest in indigenous politics, governance, policy, heritage, religion, as well as land restitution in South Africa.

Modise Thompson

Modise Thompson is a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand. He holds a B.A. in Political Studies and International Relations, an Honors and M.A in Political Studies, also from the University of the Witwatersrand. His research interests include theories of the state, in particular epistemologies of the Black state and how the state has been conceived historically and at the contemporary juncture from and within a position of blackness. He is also interested in a socio-historical approach to the study of the state and its bureaucratic apparatus. His current research seeks to critically explore the intersections of race and skills in the post-apartheid public service sector.


Sarah Delius

Sarah Delius is a second year PhD candidate in African Studies. Her PhD is on the historical genealogy of practices of forced marriage in Sierra Leone from 1880-2012. The research focuses on how intersections of marriage and slavery manifested in the past during times of warfare, including the civil war (1991-2002). Sarah did her undergraduate and honours at the University of the Witwatersrand in history and a sub-major in politics. This was followed by a Master’s degree at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), where she majored in African military history. Her other research areas are: the history of West Africa, state formation in West Africa,  contemporary slavery, human trafficking, gender, and warfare and conflict in Africa.

Sifiso Ndlovu

Sifiso Ndlovu is a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. Her PhD project is titled: “Ethnic identity in post-apartheid South Africa: A case study of Southern Ndebele identity in the KwaMhlanga region in Mpumalanga Province.” The project broadly examines intersections and divergences in the articulations of belonging to ethnic identity and nation-building in post-apartheid South Africa in the culturally heterogeneous KwaMhlanga region. She holds an MA in Political Studies, an Honours degree in Political Studies and a BA in Political Studies and Sociology, all from the University of the Witwatersrand. She has also conducted research on the concept of a developmental state and its prominence in the African National Congress’s (ANC) discourse in South Africa and the significance of state capacity in proposals to build a South African developmental state. Her research interests also include the state in Africa, African politics, public policy, democratization, social justice and the politics of nation-building, ethnic identities, and belonging and citizenship. She is a budding academic who has received academic awards and scholarships, including the Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa doctoral fellowship, University of the Witwatersrand’s Council Postgraduate Merit Scholarship, National Research Foundation bursary, and University of the Witwatersrand’s Postgraduate Merit Award Doctoral Scholarship.

Thobekile Zikhali

Thobekile Zikhali is a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand. Her PhD study is on Transboundary Water Governance in Southern Africa. Specifically, she examines the socio-political dynamics involved in governing the Incomati international river basin shared by South Africa, Mozambique, and Swaziland. Her research interests fall within the intersection of governance, development, and service delivery. She has conducted independent research and field work in Belgium, Botswana, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. Thobekile holds a Master’s degree in International Relations and Transnational Governance from the VU University of Amsterdam, Netherlands. She is a Social Science Research Council (Next Generation of Scholars in Africa) Fellow, and a member of the Water Institute of Southern Africa (WISA), as well as the South African Political Studies Association (SAAPS).

Zukiswa Mqolomba

Zukiswa Mqolomba is a senior researcher, policy analyst, and programme manager with roots deeply embedded in Economics, Poverty and Public Policy research. She currently works for the government as a Director. She is a political economist by training. She is a co-founder and strategist of IFADev, a think-tank and informal network of African scholars and policy practitioners from the diaspora and Africa at large. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Political Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand, focusing on China-Africa relations. Previous work includes work as a consultant for the World Bank in Washington, D.C. She has two master’s degrees: a Master’s from the University of Cape Town and a Master’s in poverty and development from the University of Sussex. She is a pan-Africanist in terms of her ideological inclination. She believes in the African renaissance and believes that her generation of peers can make meaningful strides towards achieving it.