Democracy Works Foundation has a network of expert professionals, the Associates, at its disposal to help the organisation design and implement projects. Our Associates are experts and thought-leaders in their own right and continue to play a pivotal role in assisting Democracy Works Foundation provide tools to build resilient democracies.
Michelle Joubert is a communications strategist specialising in assisting organisations to build trusted relationships with investors, donors, and regulators. She is director of A Capital Idea, a consultancy that advises clients on the communications strategies that will boost public recognition of their impact, manage their reputations and develop strong investor relations. Clients straddle the non-profit and corporate sectors. Prior to forming A Capital Idea, Michelle was head of investor relations and Group communications at the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. She has a solid understanding of the region’s investment environment as well as the language that funders expect and understand. Michelle’s experience also includes a decade as an investment journalist, giving her a strong sense of what makes news, its impact on stakeholders and how to work with the media.Her qualifications include an Honours degree in Journalism from the University of Stellenbosch and an MBA from the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business.
Alexandra is a researcher in the field of Political Science and has a background in journalism and advertising. She graduated from the University of the Witwatersrand with a Master’s degree in politics specialising in Gender Studies. The topic of her research report is: Competing Feminisms: A Critical Discourse Analysis of the Concepts “Victim”, “Perpetrator” and “Agency” in the Context of the #MeToo Campaign. The research explored the processes by which concepts “victim” and “perpetrator” are given meaning in relation to “agency”. This built upon her Honours research report titled A Critical Analysis of the Implications of ‘Multiculturalism’ and its Association with ‘The Politics of Recognition’ for the Liberal Democratic State’s commitment to women’s rights”. Alexandra's other areas of interest include comparative politics, development, human rights and refugee protection in the Global South. She was awarded membership to Golden Key International Honour Society for during my undergrad years at Wits for academic excellence.
Raisa is an urban development specialist with a specialisation in building resilient cities. She has worked in the fields of food security affordable housing, and sustainable livelihoods, leveraging development finance and impact opportunities to create sustainable human settlements in a changing climate. She has worked for various international and local NGOs, government agencies and the private sector to gather, analyse and strategically communicate data and market intelligence for more evidence-based policy and investment decision making and believes that transparent, accessible and collaborative data is the bedrock of democratic, safe, and resilient cities and human settlements.
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 realisation of socio-economic rights by various state and non-state actors. Her interests lie in analysing 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.
To read publications by Thandi on our website please click here.
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.
Dr David Monyae is co-director of the Confucius Institute. He is an International Relations and Foreign Policy expert providing advisory and management services to organisations, companies and institutions. In his role as a policy analyst at the Development Bank Southern Africa, he undertook major research on Regional Economic Communities in Africa. He holds a PhD in International Relations and is the Section Manager: International Relations Analysis for the Parliament of South Africa, where he provides Strategic Management, Parliamentary Foreign Policy Formulation, Monitoring and Analysis. He has lectured on South Africa's foreign policy and Africa's International Relations in the Department of International at the University of the Witwatersrand. He has published widely and is a respected political analyst featuring in both national and international media outlets.
To read publications by David Monyae 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 the 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.
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.
Nompumelelo is a thought leader with a solid track record in policy and political analysis. She is featured regularly in online and print media, as well as on radio and television. With years of experience as a communicator and researcher, she has authored and contributed to books, papers and articles. She writes a weekly column that has been running since 2014 for the Sowetan, South Africa’s second biggest daily newspaper, providing analysis on sociopolitical developments that have implications for democratic consolidation and deepening and governance in the country. Nompumelelo has a background in academia and has been a part-time lecturer at the University of Pretoria’s Department of Political Science since 2016 where she is currently pursuing her PhD under a Mellon Foundation Scholarship. Her research focus is analysing the effects of social media on political agency and implications for democratic consolidation and deepening which uses social media use among Fees Must Fall activists as a case study. She holds a BSocsci in Industrial Sociology and Labour Studies, BA (Honours) in Political Science as well as a MPhil in Multidisciplinary Human Rights from the Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria where she wrote a minidissertation on the constitutional reform process in Kenya with a particular focus on the appointment of judges and the implications of judicial reform for democratic consolidation.
To read publications by Nompumelelo on our website please click here.
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.
To read publications by Desné Masie on our website please click here.
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.
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.
To read publications by Karin Alexander on our website please click here.
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 see Judith February's extensive list of publications 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.
Prof. Christi van der Westhuizen (Ph.D.) is an author and Associate Professor in Sociology at the University of Pretoria. Her books include Sitting Pretty: White Afrikaans Women in Postapartheid South Africa (forthcoming, 2017), Working Democracy: Perspectives on South Africa’s Parliament at 20 Years (2014) and White Power & the Rise and Fall of the National Party (2007). She started her working life as a journalist at the anti-apartheid weekly Vrye Weekblad and later worked as Associate Editor at the global news agency Inter Press Service. Previously she held associateships with the Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice, Free State University and the Institute for Humanities in Africa (HUMA), University of Cape Town. As a regular commentator in local and international media, she received the Mondi Paper Newspaper Award for her political columns.
Other relevant publications include: 2017. ‘Rejuvenating Reconciliation with Transformation.’ In Lefko-Everett, K., Govender, R., and Foster, D. (eds.) Rethinking Reconciliation. Evidence from South Africa. Cape Town: HSRC Press.2016. ‘Race, intersectionality and affect in postapartheid productions of ‘the Afrikaans white woman’. Critical Philosophy of Race 4 (2), 221-238. 2016. ‘Democratising South Africa: Towards a “Conflictual Consensus”’ in H. Botha, N. Schaks and D. Steiger (eds.) Das Ende des repräsentativen Staates? Demokratie am Scheideweg/ The End of the Representative State? Democracy at the Crossroads. Baden Baden: Nomos. Her Ph.D. is in Sociology (Critical Diversity Studies) and her Masters (cum laude) in South African Politics & Political Economy.
To see read Christi van der Westhuizen's publications on our website please click here.
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.
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.
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.
To read publications by Tamuka Chirimambowa on our website please click here.
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.
To read publications by Jasteena Dhillon on our website please click here.
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.
Leah Shearman is a programme management specialist with experience in participatory programme design, social accountability and grant compliance. As a Senior Business Development Officer with World Vision, she worked with country programmes across West and Southern Africa to design and develop comprehensive social accountability, food security and health programming in both emergency and development contexts.
Prior to this, she worked as a program officer at the Canadian International Development Agency in International Humanitarian Assistance Directorate supporting the management of Canada’s global food assistance programme and managing their relationship with the World Food Programme. Most recently she worked as regional head of business development for VSO International in Southern Africa. Leah has a BAHon in Political Science and History from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, and an MSocSci in Democratic Governance from the University of Cape Town.