Democracy Works Foundation strives to maintain a small organisational footprint, thereby assisting flexibility and sustainability. A network of expert professionals, the Associates help the organisation design and implement projects. Our Associates are thought leaders in their own right and provide thinking and analysis on issues of democracy and development challenges.
Awarded the Ruth First Fellowship for 2014 at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg – Ebrahim Fakir is currently the Director of Programs at ASRI. He was previously Manager of the Governance Institutions and Processes Department (GIPs) at EISA (2009-2012) and then the head of EISA’s Political Parties and Parliamentary Program [2012-2016]. He was formerly Senior Researcher and Analyst at the Centre for Policy Studies in Johannesburg [2003-2009]. He worked at the Institute for Democracy in South Africa (IDASA) [1998-2003] at both IDASA’s Pretoria and Cape Town offices and he also worked at the first democratic Parliament of the Republic of South Africa (1996-1998) in the Legislation and Oversight Division. He writes in the popular press as well as academic and policy journals on politics, development, and the state. He is used as a commentator and facilitator by the domestic and international media, business and other organisations. He was visiting fellow at the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex (2005/2006) and was a Draper Hills Summer Fellow at the Centre for Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law at Stanford University, for 2011.
Thandi Matthews is an attorney with experience in the private and public legal sectors in South Africa. She is a Senior Legal Officer at the South African Human Rights Commission, focusing on the progressive realization of socio-economic rights by various state and non-state actors. Her interests lie in analyzing the relationship between human rights, governance and society, and her academic work has been published in the South African Journal of Human Rights. She comments frequently in various media publications and panel discussions on issues affecting South Africa’s youth, with a particular emphasis on social transformation and its intersection with race and gender. She also sits as a non-executive Board member of the AIDS Consortium, an NGO which serves over 200 affiliated members in the HIV/AIDS and Human Rights sectors.
Thandi holds a Masters in Development Studies from the International Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus University based at The Hague (Netherlands); a Bachelor of Laws from the University of the Witwatersrand and a Bachelor of Social Sciences from the University of Cape Town. In 2015 she was selected by the US State Department as a Fulbright / Hubert Humphrey Fellow and based at the University of Minnesota Law School, United States.
Mandisa Mbali is a lecturer at the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology at Stellenbosch University. Her main research interest is in health policy and activism, considered as interrelated phenomena, both transnationally and within South Africa. She has explored this theme in relation to several particular foci, namely: AIDS activism and policies; gender and sexuality and the politics of health; and, race and ethics in international health. In 2013 she published her scholarly monograph South African AIDS Activism and Global Health Politics with Palgrave Macmillan as part of their Global Ethics series. Her more historical work has involved documenting transnational debates between anti-apartheid activists and the World Medical Association (WMA) over the issue of apartheid in the 1980s.
Patience is a skilled trainer, researcher and material developer and an accredited trainer to the Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections (BRIDGE) programme, with particular focus on the socio-economic and political development of the African region. Her areas of speciality and interest centre on working with youth, women and political parties in leadership development and democratic governance issues. She has worked in Lesotho, Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe, where she has been championing the rollout of the Initiative for Leadership and Democracy in Africa (ILEDA).
Her research interests are in gender, conflict, social capital and civic agency. She holds a Masters’ degree in Public and Development Management from the University of Witwatersrand, a Masters degree in Monitoring and Evaluation from Stellenbosch University and an Honours degree in Psychology from the University of Zimbabwe.
To read publications by Patience Zonge on our website please click here.
Sithembile is a lecturer in the department of Political Sciences, University of Pretoria lecturing in international relations and South African politics. She was previously a researcher in the secretariat of the National Planning Commission in the Presidency of South Africa where she focused on public service reform and anti-corruption policy where she contributed to the drafting of the National Development Plan. Prior to this she worked as a political researcher at IDASA (Institute for Democracy in Africa) where she was responsible for Parliamentary monitoring and political analysis.
She is a doctoral candidate at University of Pretoria, writing a thesis on South African foreign policy in the United Nations Security Council. She comments frequently in the media on a range of issues in South African politics.
Nompumelelo Runji is a policy analyst, researcher, author and speaker. She is currently part of the editorial team for The Sowetan newspaper including writing a weekly column focussing on issues of politics, economy, gender amongst a range of themes affecting the South African and African landscape. She has worked as a researcher and political analyst within academia and for various think tanks. Her written work spans a range of articles, commentary and analysis in various media. She has contributed to the national and international discourse on politics, socio-economic issues and criminal justice issues with a particular focus on South Africa and Africa and is the author of the book “Democratic Opportunity: Does South Africa need electoral reform?”.
She holds a BA (Hon) in Political Science and a MPhil in Multidisciplinary Human Rights from the University of Pretoria.
Khadija Sharife is a financial researcher, investigative journalist and writer based in South Africa. She has been a researcher, trainer, consultant and presenter on illicit finance, governance and natural resources for the African Union, OECD, Pan-African Parliaments and NGOs including Tax Justice Network, among others. She was formerly editor of the African Network of Centers for Investigative Reporting (ANCIR) and coordinator and lead researcher of the European Union’s Environmental Justice Organisations, Liabilities and Trade project housed at the Center for Civil Society.
She has published across media and academic journals including South African Journal of Human Rights, Review of African Political Economy, World Policy Journal, Africa Report, African Business, New African and African Banker.
Gideon has extensive experience working with civil society and political parties. His academic interests include a focus on Conflict and Security, Democracy and Governance. Sponsored by the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD) he conducted policy research on youth and politics in Africa focusing on the main political parties in Ghana and Kenya. Additionally, he has also conducted research on Elections and Democratic Transition in Zimbabwe and consults for several NGOs in Zimbabwe on issues of elections, governance and democracy,
He is an awardee of the UPEACE doctoral grant, has published several articles on democratization in Zimbabwe in the Africa Peace and Conflict Journal and regularly provides political analysis in the media. He holds a Masters in Development Studies with a specialization in Governance and Democracy from the Institute of Social Studies(ISS), Netherlands, a BA from the Great Zimbabwe University, a Diploma in Education, University of Zimbabwe and is currently finalizing his PhD at Rhodes University.
Richard Worthington is a freelance researcher and activist who has worked on energy and climate change issues in the South African NGO sector since 1995, initially as a volunteer with Earthlife Africa Johannesburg and the Environmental Justice Networking Forum, while working in adult education. This followed diverse experience in various countries after graduating from the University of the Witwatersrand in 1984. Richard helped to develop and led the Sustainable Energy and Climate Change Partnership for over seven years, during which time he served for 5 years on the board of the international Climate Action Network (CAN).
From May 2008 to June 2013 he was Programme Manager: Climate Change for WWF South Africa. Recent work includes a publication about the Integrated Energy Planning (IEP) process, titled: The Tyranny of Realism (2014) and drafting civil society publications on renewable energy.
Jean Scrimgeour is a public diplomacy and democratic governance specialist with experience working in the US, the UK and Southern Africa. Jean was the UK-SA parliamentary, political and communications officer for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in South Africa and trade, science and innovation communications lead for the British Embassy in Washington DC. She has a number of years experience developing and managing youth leadership programmes including the South Africa-Washington International Program (SAWIP) and the British Chevening Scholarship. She has also worked as a programme officer for the Westminster Foundation small parties office and is currently a sub-Saharan Africa analyst for Freedom in the World Index.
Jean has a BSocSci in Law and Politics and an honours degree in International Relations from the University of Cape Town. She also received an MA in Conflict Resolution in Divided Societies from Kings College in London as a British Chevening Scholar.
Dr. Desné Masie is a visiting researcher in international political economy at the Wits School of Governance. She is an expert in international economics and regulation, specialising in forecasting and analysis of African political economy. She has also worked in financial services at Alexander Forbes group for several years in consulting and communications.
She is the co-host of the African Arguments podcast for the Royal African Society and has provided commentary for The Guardian; New African Magazine; The Times; 702 Radio and the BBC. She was a senior editor in capital markets at the Financial Mail in Johannesburg, and is an economics contributor to The Times. Desné holds a PhD in finance from the University of Edinburgh Business School, and an MSc in Finance and Financial Law from SOAS, the University of London.
Professor Jane Duncan works in the Department of Journalism, Film and Television at the University of Johannesburg, She was previously Executive Director of the Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI) holding various other posts including the Chair in Media and Information Society in the School of Journalism and Media Studies at Rhodes and co-Director of the Highway Africa Centre. She is also the founder of the Media Policy and Democracy Project (MPDP).
Aside from which Jane is the author of, ‘The Rise of the Securocrats: the Case of South Africa’, and in 2016 will be publishing her new book, ‘Protest Nation: the Right to Protest in South Africa’. She holds a Master's degree from the University of Witwatersrand, and completed a PhD at the Wits School of the Arts in 2007.
Marina is an economist with 25 years experience in international economics, labour markets, public finance and management, and more recently, climate change and green economy. She has been at the forefront of economic policy development and implementation since SA’s transition to democracy.
She has worked at all three spheres of the South African government in senior/executive management positions at the departments of trade and industry, Public Enterprises and National Treasury as DDG, Macro Policy and Strategy at the Premier’s Office in the Mpumalanga Provincial Government and in local government as Executive Director: Strategy, Policy and Research at SALGA and Executive Director: Economic Development at the City of Joburg. She is currently a lecturer at the Wits School of Governance (teaching public finance to the national legislature and the 9 provincial legislatures) and the Wits Business School as Programme Director: Green Economy.
Michael Anti (Jing Zhao) is a Chinese journalist and political blogger, known for his posts about freedom of the press in China.
Born in Nanjing, Anti became famous when Microsoft deleted his blog at the end of 2005. His case made headlines around the world and contributed to ongoing debates about the role of Western companies in China’s censorship system. Anti himself, while angry at the deletion of his blog, argued that the Chinese are better off with Windows Live Spaces than without it.
Anti has broad experience with both American and Chinese journalism. He worked as a Researcher at the Beijing Bureau of The New York Times. He graduated from Nanjing Normal University in 1995, where he majored in Industrial Electrical Automation, but turned to newspapers in 2001. He has been a Commentator for the Huaxia Times, Correspondent of the 21st Century World Herald, War Reporter in Baghdad in 2003, Researcher at The Washington Post’s Beijing Bureau, Columnist for Southern Metropolis Daily, and Publisher of the Far and Wide Journal. He is a recipient of a Wolfson Press Fellowship at Cambridge University and the Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University.
Alexander is an independent development professional and political analyst. A Zimbabwean Rhodes Scholar with an MPhil in Development Studies from Oxford and an undergraduate degree from Harvard University, her areas of specialisation include democratisation, governance, and conflict management.
Alexander has moved from work on Transitional Justice in central and east Africa through managing Idasa's States in Transition Observatory to leading Idasa's Measuring and Monitoring Democracy strategic team. She recently managed the Web Index for the World Wide Web Foundation, and has co-edited the books A Fine Balance: Assessing the Quality of Governance in Botswana and Peace in the Balance: The Crisis in Sudan.
Dr. Mahamadou Lamine Sagna holds a Ph.D. in sociology and Master Degree in Business Administration and Ethnic-psychiatry in France. He taught courses in anthropological economics and social science methodologies in French and American universities. His multidisciplinary background addresses complex intersections between economics, gender, culture, and power—specifically in how they relate to poverty, his personal field of interest. At Princeton University, over the course of ten years, at the departments of Sociology, African American Studies and African Studies, he taught courses such as Science Technology and Development, African Cultural Forms in Political Spheres, and African Economic Culture. His research focuses on sociology of poverty as well as monetary and financial practices in relation to economic innovation and the dynamics of social trust and risk.
He is founder and executive director of “Re-Source/Sununet” a Senegalese Diaspora organization (which is represented by chapters in Africa, America, Europe and Asia) building transnational networks and contributing to Senegalese political, social and economic development.
Judith February is a consultant on governance matters and affiliated to the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Development Policy and Practice. Prior to that she was Executive Director of the HSRC’s Democracy and Governance Unit and also Head of the Idasa’s South African Governance programme. Judith has worked extensively on issues of good governance, transparency and accountability within the South African context. She is a regular commentator in the media on politics in SA and in 2009 served on an ad hoc panel to evaluate the effectiveness of South Africa’s Parliament. She is a regular columnist for Media24 and also an occasional columnist for the Daily Maverick and other publications. She is the co-editor of “Testing democracy: which way is South Africa going?” March 2010, Idasa. She was awarded a summer fellowship in 2009 at the Freeman Spogli Institute for Democracy Development and the rule of law at Stanford University, California and in 2012 was awarded a Spring Reagan-Fascell Fellowship at the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington DC.
To read publications by Judith February on our website please click here.
Paul has been working as a professional in the field of decentralisation and local governance in Africa and Asia for over 25 years. During that period he was Country Director for SNV, Netherlands Development Organisation in various African countries for 10 years. Presently, Paul is working as an independent consultant in the field of public governance assessment and governance capacity development. He has carried out assignments for the Swiss Development Cooperation designing and backstopping governance assessments in Zambia, Malawi and Botswana and is currently working on an assignment for the United Nations Development Programme in Myanmar supporting the democratization process at local level.
Paul’s core competencies are: governance and service delivery assessment (in the education and health sectors as well as local government service delivery); strategic planning for local government; decentralisation; organisational development and change process facilitation.
Web & Software Developer
Fakhamzadeh knows how to throw together a pretty effective combination of web services. He has designed a method to geotag Flickr photos (2006) before Flickr itself was doing it, brought photo marathons to Africa (2007) and won the Highway Africa New Media Award (2007) with Ismail Farouk for sowetouprisings.com.
Added to this, Fakhamzadeh created what was probably the first mobile phone based city tour (2004), as well as one of the first (if not the first) QR-code assisted smartphone-based city tours (2009). His latest software projects are Dérive which gets you pleasantly lost in your city and Sliders (for Flickr), a free digital photo frame.
Dr Leonard Martin was the former CEO of the Institute of Bankers of South Africa (IOB). Before that he was the Head of Stakeholder Relations at Financial and Fiscal Commission of South Africa (FFC). He was National Manager, Center for Higher Education. He was Senior Lecturer at the University of North West, and former senior political analyst for the Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC). More recently he was head of the Faculty of Humanity at the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection (MISTRA).
Dr Martin was a member of the Integration Council of Aarhus City, Denmark. He obtained his PhD and undergraduate degrees at the University of Aarhus, Denmark.
Connie works primarily in the field of Television Production and Media and Communications. Her focus and interest lies in media work with a strong social advocacy messaging and transformational approach. She is a seasoned media professional with over 15 years working in broadcast media as a TV and documentary producer, production manager, and content producer for largely current affairs, factual programmes and documentaries for local and international broadcasters.
Her media and communications work has been largely focused on handling the media and public relations campaigns for various government and civil society organisations both local and international. Some of these include international conferences like COP17, the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), World Conference against Racism (WCAR), INSITE, IUCN 5th World Parks Congress amongst many others. Her specialities range from media and stakeholder relations, Marketing and Branding to Social Media and Media Management.
Christi van der Westhuizen, Ph.D., is Associate Professor at the Centre for Sexualities, AIDS & Gender at the University of Pretoria. She is the author of Working Democracy: Perspectives on South Africa's Parliament at 20 Years (2014), White Power & the Rise and Fall of the National Party (2007) and, as editor, Gender Instruments in Africa: Critical Perspectives, Future Strategies (2005). She also contributed to the book In the Balance: South Africans Debate Reconciliation (2010).
Van der Westhuizen held a postdoctoral research fellowship with the Institute for Humanities in Africa, University of Cape Town, and a research associateship with the Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice, University of the Free State. She started her working life as a journalist at the independent anti-apartheid weekly Vrye Weekblad, and was awarded the Mondi Paper Newspaper Award for her political columns. She is a regular commentator on race, gender and democracy in the media and writes a monthly column for Beeld/Netwerk24 and a blog for the Mail & Guardian's Thoughtleader.
Dr Isayvani Naicker is currently the Chief Director of International Resources at the Department of Science and Technology based in Pretoria, South Africa. She has over nineteen years of management and practical experience in science, technology and innovation, research and development, policy consultation, analysis and advocacy, strategic international and government-to-government partnerships.
Naicker is also a research associate at the Centre for Science and Policy at the University of Cambridge and a Visiting Research Fellow at the School for Public and Development Management at the University of Witwatersrand. Furthermore, she is a member of international research networks including the Society for the Social Studies of Science, and the International Association of Impact Assessment (IAIA), Green Economics Institute at Oxford University.
Danga is a former undergraduate Academic Tutor in the Department of Political Studies and former Programme Manager of the Afrobarometer Project at the University of Cape Town. He was Political Strategist for the 2004 presidential election campaign of the Vice-President of the Republic of Malawi and has conducted extensive research on parliaments in sub-Saharan Africa.
Danga has worked as an account executive for Ogilvy & Mather in New York; and was a former Liaison Officer for AIDS Accountability International (AAI). He was founding Editor of Roots and Culture, the first African student journal at Harvard University. He holds an A.B. Economics Major from Harvard University and a MSocSci from the University of Cape Town.
Tamuka is currently studying for a DLitt. et. Philosophy in Development Studies at the University of Johannesburg and has worked extensively with civil society in Zimbabwe and South Africa, on issues of human rights, governance and democracy, migrant’s rights, economic policy and social justice.
He has presented at several academic and civil society conferences especially on Zimbabwe on the subjects of economic transformation in Post-Colonial Africa and co-authored an article ‘Civil Society’s Contested Role in the 2013 Elections in Zimbabwe: A Historical Perspective’ in the Journal of African Elections (2014). Tamuka is also a columnist for several media houses in Zimbabwe on the subjects of democracy, governance, elections, black economic empowerment, business state-relations, post-colonial state and economic reform within the SADC region. He is keenly interested in the political economy of transformation in post-colonial Africa and is currently engaged in researches on political parties, elections and democratisation; economic indigenisation (Zimbabwe) and the possibility of ‘democratic developmental states’ in Southern Africa.
Claude is currently the accomplished Head of Client Services and a Board member at Ogilvy PR Johannesburg, bringing with her 25 years of public relations experience in various countries and organisations. She is a Swedish national, and has always been closely involved in human rights issues.
Claude served as a peace monitor in South Africa in 1994; she worked as a press officer for Action Aid in 2006-2007, and is one of the founders of the Swedish organisation Unbeatable – which works to combat domestic violence.
Jasteena is a Professor of Law at Humber College and at the University of Windsor's Faculty of Law teaching law and international law, focusing on Human Rights, Development, Transnational and Business law. Jasteena has worked in conflict, post-conflict and transitional countries and regions on justice and human rights issues. In South Africa she has worked on children's rights and the constitutional drafting process and has continued to work internationally on legal and development and human rights issues in conflict, post-conflict and transitional crisis areas around the world, including in Afghanistan, Southern Sudan, Iraq, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Bosnia, Croatia, Occupied Palestinian Territory in international non-governmental organizations, the United Nations and North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
She was a Fellow at Harvard's Kennedy School's Carr Centre for Human Rights in the State –Building and Human Rights for Afghanistan/Pakistan program and has written extensively about her experiences and work on global issues.
Koffi is a senior lecturer in government communications and scenario planning and former programme director of the Unilever Mandela Rhodes Academy (UMRA) at the Wits School of Governance. He has written about environmental information, technology, the role of strategic communications and trends in African development, the future of Africa, African futures, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (Nepad), technology and higher education in Africa. He is co-author of the book AfricaDotEdu: IT Opportunities and Higher Education in Africa.
He is associate Director of the African Futures Institute and the Millennium Project South Africa Node and is a regular contributor to international and local media and business magazines such as Al Jazeera, BBC, Deutsche Welle, France24, RFI, The People’s Daily, VOA; SAFM, 702 Radio, Business Day, ITWeb Brainstorm, The Media, CIO.COM; and a member of the African Economics Editors Network.
Leslie Mxolisi Dikeni
Dikeni was most recently a Senior Researcher in the Humanity Faculty at the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection (MISTRA). He is a visiting Research Fellow at the School of Public and Development Management, University of Witwatersrand and Research Associate in the Department of Political Sciences at the University of Pretoria . Dikeni served as Executive Director for the Africa Secretariat United Nations Human Rights Commission and was Senior Researcher at the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS) He has also worked at the National Treasury of South Africa as a political analyst, advising on the workings of the International Financial Institutions.
He holds an MSc in Rural Sociology from the University of Wageningen in the Netherlands and is a PhD candidate in Urban Sociology at Ecole Des Hautes Etudes Science Sociale (College De France), Paris and specialises in Social Research. Dikeni is co-editor with William Gumede of the book Poverty of Ideas: The Retreat of Intellectuals in New Democracies.
Mira Dutschke is a human rights researcher and independent film producer with a master’s degree in Human Rights Law and 10 years work experience in South Africa, Northern Ireland and the United States. The focus of her research is on social, economic, cultural and environmental rights including issues around equality, non-discrimination and children’s rights. Her media work deals mainly with environmental issues and the human rights impacts they have. She has also developed media for public health related advocacy. As a part-time lecturer at the University of Cape Town, she teaches human rights and advocacy for the Masters in Child and Maternal Health.
Her work has been published in books by Routledge and Sweet & Maxwell publishers as well as in peer-reviewed journals such as the South African Journal of Human Rights; the European Human Rights Law Review; the Economic and Social Rights Review; and the International Journal of Social Work. The UK Guardian, the South African Mail and Guardian and LinkTV are some of the publishers of her film and media work.
Noxolo is a teacher by profession, trainer, outcome based assessor and learning programs designer and developer. She has been involved in Leadership work, as a Program Manager of the Leadership Regional Network (LEARN) attached to the Fort Hare Institute of Government in Bisho, Eastern Cape. She worked as a trainer/ facilitator for over 7 years at the Institute for Democracy in Africa (Idasa) and was responsible for recruiting participants and facilitating leadership training in South Africa, Malawi, Burundi and Zambia for various leaders in community based organisations, councillors and government officials.
She has presented at national and international conferences and seminars on topics related to language planning, policy and citizen engagement and empowerment. She holds a 4 year Diploma in Education from the University of the Western Cape and has published a book for Xhosa Second Language speakers (1991).