Head of Department
Professor Bradley Rink - NRF C-rated Researcher (2022-2027)Position: Associate Professor and Department Chairperson 2022-2024
BiographyBradley is a human geographer, focusing his research and teaching on mobilities, urban place-making, identities, and tourism. His research foregrounds mundane and subaltern mobilities to make them visible in the everyday movements and circulations of African cities. Through his research, teaching and community engagement, he aims to better understand mobilities and the relationships they articulate between urban dwellers and the cities in which they live.
Academic and Administrative Staff
Professor Shirley BrooksPosition: Associate Professor
BiographyShirley is a human geographer focusing on human-environment relationships, in particular postcolonial landscapes of conservation and land in Southern Africa. She teaches in the fields of nature-society relations and the political geography of land. In addition to working within a political ecology framework, she is interested in the quintessentially geographical theme of landscape meanings and contestations. Together with her students, she has explored Human and Non-human Geographies, focusing on Wilderness and Wildness as well as Animal Geographies.
Dr Mbulisi SibandaPosition: Senior Lecturer
BiographyMbulisi joined the Department in January 2021 as Senior Lecturer specialising in GIScience and Earth Observation Data Applications. He completed his PhD on Optical Remote Sensing of Grassland Biomass in Data Scarce Environments at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (Pietermaritzburg) in 2016. He is an NRF-rated researcher with expertise in GIScience and Geospatial Data Applications in monitoring plant water use and productivity analysis, resource modelling as well as land-use change.
Dr Mandy CarolissenPosition: Lecturer
BiographyMandy is a physical geographer with teaching and research interests in integrated water resource management, catchment hydrology, ecosystem services, and the dynamic physical processes that shape our landscapes. Her current research focuses on understanding the spatial and temporal availability of water and storage of a depression wetland (using in-situ hydrological data and remote sensing), and to relate these to ecosystem services.
Dr Michael DysselPosition: Lecturer
BiographyMichael’s research and teaching interests include conservation and environmental management, urban-ecological challenges, the impacts of tourism, and mapwork. As a way of bridging (sub) disciplinary boundaries in Geography, transdisciplinary, multi-methods research and teaching approaches underpin his work.
Dr Erin TorkelsonPosition: Lecturer
BiographyErin is a human geographer interested in the collision between normative assumptions about cash transfers as public goods and the lived experience of cash transfers as private debts in the Global South. Her work sits at the intersection of political economy, development studies, critical race theory, feminist kinship studies, and postcolonial science and technology studies. Her current project, Bantustan Banking, explores how a preeminent, state-sponsored cash transfer programme has become a means of racialised and gendered dispossession in post-apartheid South Africa. She examines the everyday practices by which poor, black South African women navigate their entitlements to social assistance against the pressures of expropriation built into the payment system.
Ms Mercia SouthonPosition: Lecturer
BiographyMercia is a Tourism Geographer who joined the department in February 2023 specialising in human geography and tourism development. Mercia is interested in analysing contemporary tourism development patterns with the use of different geographical components across the global South. Her current work focuses on how socio-political and economic changes in a post-apartheid South Africa contributes to rural change and the development of rural tourism. Research interests: rural tourism, land-use change and tourism, game farming and tourism, tourism planning and debates in global niche tourism.
Mr Lindokuhle KhumaloPosition: Associate Lecturer
BiographyLindokuhle is a human geographer who joined the department in January 2023 focusing on society and nature relations. His research interests include human dimensions of conservation, environmental justice, land issues, the informal sector and decolonial geographies. Lindokuhle has a project underway that studies land reform beneficiary communities in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal who have voluntarily committed large tracts of their land to nature conservation. Through the lens of political ecology, he investigates the impacts of conservation on their livelihoods and environmental behaviour.
Mr David FrenchmanPosition: Senior Officer
BiographyDavid is the IT administrator in the Department and part of the Academic Support Staff in the Faculty. His work relates primarily to managing both undergraduate and postgraduate computer laboratories. However, he also offers GIS support to staff and students. He is solely responsible for the installation and maintenance of GIS software in the laboratories. GIS support involves compiling and issuing datasets for research and publications. He is also an appointed Commissioner of Oaths in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities and his other appointments include Health and Safety representative, First Aid and Fire safety representative as part of Risk and Compliance.
Mr Logan PlaatjiesPosition: Administrative Officer
BiographyLogan was appointed as Administrator in the Department in 2020, having worked in the Recruitment Office, Afrikaans Dept, isiXhosa Dept and now at the Geography, Environmental and Tourism Studies Dept at UWC since 2015. Previously, he worked at UNISA and in the private sector at Shell Oil, but it is the academic environment that he has become attached to. His hobbies include reading and having endless conversations about the human being, following his interest in Psychology which is relentless.
Professor Jonathan CrushPosition: Extraordinary Professor
BiographyMore details on Jonathan and his research can be found here: