South Africa: Social and Political Transformation
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Faculty and Staff
Imraan Buccus, Academic Director
Mr. Buccus has an undergraduate degree in education and a master’s degree in social policy from the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) in South Africa. During the period of apartheid, he was active in student politics, having served on forums linked to the Student Representative Council (SRC). He began his PhD as a Ford Fellow in Development Studies at Radboud Nijmegen University in the Netherlands and is currently a PhD fellow at UKZN. He has been a lecturer in political science at UKZN and is currently a research fellow in the university’s School of Politics. He is widely published in academic journals and book chapters in the areas of participatory democracy, poverty, and civil society. Mr. Buccus is the former editor of Critical Dialogue, a journal of public participation in review, and the current editor of Democracy Dialogue.
Mr. Buccus has experience in the civil society sector, having served in research and policy NGOs for many years. He was involved in a number of international research projects and co-authored the National Framework on Public Participation for the South African government. During his time at the Centre for Public Participation, he led an initiative to bring policymaking spaces closer to ordinary people and also led a project to assess the state of participatory democracy in Namibia. He has wide-ranging experience working with various donor agencies including the Ford Foundation, NiZA, EU, Kellogg Foundation, and the Open Society Foundation.
Mr. Buccus has worked as academic coordinator of the Workers College, a progressive experiential education college for workers from the trade union movement, where he developed a passion for experiential education and its personal and academic developmental potential. In 2008, he was an Open Society Foundation Media Fellow, and in 2009 he appeared on the prestigious Mail & Guardian list of South Africa’s 200 Leading Young South Africans. He is currently a columnist for Durban’s popular morning paper The Mercury and is often called upon by television and radio stations to offer political analysis. In 2011, he was part of the South African Broadcasting Corporation’s team of election analysts.
Mr. Buccus has traveled extensively in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. He has also served as academic director of various SIT Study Abroad summer programs since 2010, having run both SIT’s World Cup program in 2010 and, since 2011, SIT's Education and Social Change program.
Felicity Kitchin, PhD, Academic Coordinator
Felicity Kitchin completed her undergraduate studies in Durban, and she received her MA and PhD at Ohio State University, focusing on urban and political geography. She has had extensive experience in an academic environment and in conducting research in a development context. Felicity worked for several years as head of an internship program at the then University of Natal, which focused on how to promote mentoring of students by established academic staff. She served as academic director of the first SIT Study Abroad program in South Africa, in Durban, from 1992–2002. Each year, she gives lectures in several modules at the master’s level to town and regional planning students at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN). She served as an active member of the council at the Durban University of Technology for four years (until 2011). Felicity’s research interests lie in urban and regional development, particularly at the local level, often focused on developmental local government and service delivery. Most of her research is applied, either for NGOs such as Urban LandMark and CASE (Community Agency for Social Enquiry), or for various government departments at national, provincial, and local levels.
Additional staff members of the South Africa: Social and Political Transformation program include:
Amber Williams, Program Assistant
As program assistant, Amber’s responsibilities include general administrative work, student liaison, knowledge management, assisting with the academic schedule, coordinating excursions and managing the program’s library and Facebook page.
Amber is studying towards her Bachelor of Arts, majoring in communications and English through the University of South Africa. She has experience working for a leading Durban morning paper, The Mercury, in both an administrative role and as a journalism intern.
Shola Haricharan, Office Manager and Homestay Coordinator
Shola currently serves as the program's office manager and homestay coordinator. She has been with the program in various capacities since its inception in 1992. Prior to that, Shola worked in administrative capacities with a number of nongovernmental groups, some of them active in the anti-apartheid struggle.
Drs. Thembisa Waetjen and Geoff Waters
A historian and sociologist respectively, Dr. Waetjen and Dr. Waters are both specialists in research methods and run the Research Methods and Ethics seminar, which is geared to facilitating the production of a successful Independent Study Project (ISP) research proposal. Thembisa is a current faculty member at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), and Geoff is a retired professor of sociology.
The program also draws on a number of guest lecturers from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) and the NGO sector.
John Daniel, PhD, Lecturer
John Daniel is a South African citizen and holds a BA (1964) in political science from the University of Natal, South Africa, and an MA and PhD (1975) in political science from the State University of New York at Buffalo. He has taught at universities in the United States, Swaziland, the Netherlands, and South Africa. He was active in student politics in South Africa and served two terms as president of the National Union of South African Students (NUSAS).
Dr. Daniel went into exile in 1968 and returned in 1991 to head the International Studies Unit at Rhodes University. In 1993, he assumed the chair (headship) in political science at the University of Durban-Westville. From 1997 to 1999, he was seconded to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) as a senior researcher responsible for documenting the South African state's gross human rights violations outside South Africa. In 2001, he joined the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), South Africa's national social science council, as a researcher in governance and democracy and as the head of its publishing arm, the HSRC Press. From 2002 to 2006, he co-edited and contributed to four volumes in the HSRC's State of the Nation series.
In recent years his writings have been primarily concerned with issues of transitional justice in South Africa and on the political economy of South African-African relations post-apartheid. In 2006, Dr. Daniel retired from the HSRC and joined SIT as an academic coordinator; he eventually took over as the program’s academic director, a position he held until June 2011.
John Daniel lectures on a variety of topics with an emphasis on issues of transitional justice in South Africa and on the political economy of South African-African relations post-apartheid.
Additional lecturers include:
- Prof. Chris Ballantyne on music and resistance in apartheid and post-apartheid South Africa
- Mr. David Ntseng on the issue of public housing, service delivery, and the empowerment of the poor in South Africa
- Prof. Percy Mabogo, South Africa’s foremost Bikoist, on the role of Steve Biko in South Africa’s transformation
- Aziz Pahad, former minister of foreign affairs, on South Africa’s foreign policy
- Judge Chris Nicholson, the judge who presided over President Jacob Zuma’s trial, on the state of South Africa’s constitution
- Dr. Cathy Oelofse on the environment and development in South Africa
- Dr. Brendon Boyce on land reform and restitution in South Africa
- Mr. Richard Dobson and Mr. Charles Mncube on the informal trade sector in South Africa
- Dr. Ben Roberts on the South African economy
- Ms. Janine Hicks, senior commissioner on the Gender Commission, on gender issues in South Africa
Duration: 15 weeks
Program Base: Durban
Language Study: isiZulu
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