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Head of Department

Prof Africa is currently the Head of the Political Studies Department. She teaches Research Methodology at undergraduate and postgraduate level.

Prof Africa worked at the Institute for Democracy in South Africa (Idasa) for eight years (1995-2003).

She has extensive experience in applied research and research design having been involved in the design and execution of numerous research projects. Prof Africa specialises in teaching research methodology and design with a particular emphasis on public opinion and survey research.

She has a wide range of content interests including South African politics, democracy and governance, elections and election campaigns as well as political communication. She has served as an election analyst for both the SABC and e-tv. She has also played an important role in election observation in South Africa.

Academic Staff

Prof Mngomezulu comes from Ingwavuma in far northern KwaZulu-Natal. He teaches Africa in International Perspective and International Relations Theory. He has seven academic degrees in Politics, History and Education, plus a Senior Secondary Teachers Diploma. These include a BPaed Degree, two Honours (one in History, one in Political Science), three Master's (two in History and one in Political Science) as well as a PhD in African Political History. Five of these degrees were obtained at South African universities while two (including his PhD) were obtained at Rice University in Texas, USA. To date, Prof. Mngomezulu has published four books, six book chapters, 12 book reviews and several articles at national and international journals. He has presented over 90 academic papers nationally and internationally and has travelled to over 20 countries globally. He is a Professor of Political Science at UWC, and the President of the Economic History Society of Southern Africa. He belongs to many other academic bodies and also serves in the Nelson Mandela Museum Council. His research interests include: international relations, African comparative politics, governance, higher education and traditional leadership.

Prof Piper teaches Introductory Politics, South African Politics, Political Thought and Research Methodology. His research interests include urban governance, democracy, and informality in South Africa and comparatively. A graduate of Cambridge University (2000) in the United Kingdom, he worked at UKZN before moving to UWC. He is a C1 NRF rated scholar with Google Scholar h-index of 19, and an i10-index of H33. His latest book is ‘Democracy Disconnected: Participation and Governance in a City of the South’, Routledge, 2019, with Dr Fiona Anciano. He is the previous President of the South African Association of Political Studies (SAAPS) 2016-8.

Position: Senior Lecturer
Tel: +27 (021) 959 2180



Prof Anciano teaches Introductory Politics, South African Politics, Democratic Theory and Practice as well as Research Methodology. She is a qualitative researcher with an interest in urban governance, democratisation and civil society. Fiona is a C2 National Research Foundation (NRF) rated researcher. As a qualitative researcher she conducts research in informal settlements on urban democracy and informality.

In 2020 she conceptualised and ran the lockdowndiaries project ( reflecting on the impact of Covid-19 regulations on residents in Cape Town. She has produced numerous publications including book chapters and journal articles, and most recently a co-authored book Democracy Disconnected: Participation and Governance in a City of the South, published by Routledge, UK in 2019. She is co-editor of a forthcoming collection, published by Routledge titled Political Values and Narratives of Resistance: Social Justice and the Fractured Promises of Post-colonial States.

Suren Pillay is Associate Professor at the Center for Humanities Research at the University of the Western Cape. He works closely with the Political Studies Department teaching Political Violence at postgraduate level and supervising students at Master's and PhD level. He currently leads an Andrew W. Mellon funded research project, Migrating Violence, in the NRF Flagship on Critical Thought in African Humanities at UWC. He has an MPhil and a Ph.D in Anthropology from Columbia University. His current research focuses on two areas of interest: citizenship, violence and the politics of difference; and experiments in cultural sovereignty in postcolonial Africa in the sphere of knowledge production in the humanities and social sciences In 2015, Suren was a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Graduate Centre of the City University of New York. He has also been a visiting fellow at Jawarhalal Nehru University, India, the Makerere Institute for Social Research, Uganda, the Center for African Studies, Univ. of Cape Town, and the Center for Social Difference, Columbia University. He is a previous editor of the journal Social Dynamics, blogs for Economic and Political Weekly (EPW), and has published widely in the press.

Position: Associate Professor
Tel: +27 (021) 959 2593



Prof Pretorius teaches International Relations, and Security Studies. She served as Head of Department from 2007 to 2009. In 2006, she completed her PhD at the University of Cambridge in the UK. Her PhD investigated how the Revolution in Military Affairs is impacting on South African defence thinking. Prior to her PhD studies she was the Coordinator of the Centre for International Political Studies (CIPS) at the University of Pretoria. Professor Pretorius is also a member of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs. Pugwash is an organisation that focuses on the social application of science and technology in international affairs and in 1995 won the Nobel Peace Prize for their work on nuclear non- proliferation. Professor Pretorius has edited two books: African Politics: Beyond the Third Wave of Democratisation and Dialogue among Civilizations: A Paradigm for Peace, which she co-edited with Theo Bekker.

Prof Assmo is an Extraordinary Professor in the Political Studies Department. He earned his PhD from Gothenburg University in Sweden in 1999. He lived in East Africa during 1990-1998, employed as a Development Expert and Consultant for the Swedish development agency, SIDA. Since 2006, he has been the programme director for the International Programme for Politics and Economics (IPPE) at University West in Sweden. During the period 2007-2015 he also worked part-time as senior researcher at Linköping University. He has been a visiting professor to Rhodes University since 2007. He has wide international academic experience with almost twenty years working as visiting lecturer in Australia, Switzerland, Ireland, UK, and South Africa. Prof Assmo has extensive international research experience from Europe and Africa, which currently focuses on issues such as local sustainable development, political entrepreneurship, migration, integration, work integrated learning, and internationalisation in higher education. Prof Assmo is a SANORD member and has initiated a formal externally funded collaboration with the Department for Political studies at UWC to organise a joint international post-graduate education between UWC and University West. This includes, among other components, regular staff/student exchange between South Africa and Sweden. As part of this collaboration, Professor Assmo is also teaching International Political Economy courses, and acting as supervisor at UWC. 

Position: Lecturer
Tel: +27 (021)  959 2575



Dr Matshanda teaches International Political Dynamics and Comparative Area Politics. She has a BA Honours degree from the University of the Western Cape, a Master’s degree in International Relations from the University of the Witwatersrand and a PhD in African Studies from Edinburgh University. Dr Matshanda's research interests are on post-colonial processes of state formation in Africa, she is especially interested in local conceptions and articulations of statehood in the Horn of Africa. For her doctoral thesis Dr Matshanda conducted extensive field research in Ethiopia where she examined the relationship between state projects of territorialisation and people's experiences of these in eastern Ethiopia.

Position: Lecturer
Tel: +27 (021) 959 3231


Dr Hoskins teaches Political Philosophy and South African Politics. He obtained his PhD thesis which critically analyses black economic empowerment in South Africa. His research interests include the socio- economic construction of race, black economic empowerment and theories of the developmental state. Mark obtained his BA, B Proc, LLB and LLM degrees from the University of the Western Cape. His LLM thesis focused on a historical materialist critique of disability law.

Mr Ayanda Nombila joined the Political Studies Department in 2017. He teaches Political Thought and South African Politics. Mr Nimbila is a doctoral student in Interdisciplinary Social Studies (with a Major in Political Studies) at the University of Makerere in Uganda at the Makerere Institute of Social Research under the supervision of Professor Mahmood Mamdani. Mr Nombila has a broad range of research interests. These include: Major Debates in the Study of Africa, Premodern Social and Political Thought, The History of Economic Theory, Africa Before Western Hegemony, Colonialism, Post-Colonialism and Decolonisation as well as Contemporary Social and Political Thought.

Administrative Staff

Mr Rooks is the Postgraduate Administrative Assistant. He holds a National Diploma in Public Relations Management from CPUT. He is responsible for assisting with postgraduate applications and administration.

Position: Administrator
Department: Department of Political Studies
Faculty: Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences
Tel: 021 959 3228
Fax: 021 959 2136


Ms Jansen joined the Department of Political Studies in 2010 as Departmental Administrator. She has received the faculty award for excellent service, and successfully completed a Professional and Support Staff leadership programme.