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 paper Mail & Guardian 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 summer Education and Social Change program.
Bryan Stone, isiZulu Language Instructor
Bryan joined SIT as a language instructor in 2013 and brings a wealth of experience to the Social and Political Transformation program. He completed his BA in isiZulu and psychology in 2010 and received a diploma in jazz in 2013 from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. He has also taught isiZulu for the past three years at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Howard College, Westville, and medical school campuses.
Bryan has lived in Durban since 2009 and loves Durban for its “laidback” lifestyle. He is trying to learn how to surf, and is called Zamani (which means “try”) by his Zulu friends. Growing up, he moved around a lot and experienced the many corners of South Africa during several family vacations. He also plays the drums for The Sir Walrus Band.
Shola Haricharan, Office Manager and Homestay Coordinator
Shola currently serves as the program's office manager and homestay coordinator. She has been vital to 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.
Dr. Scott Couper, Academic Coordinator
Scott Couper has lived and worked in South Africa for fifteen years as an ordained Congregationalist pastor and academic. He is married to Susan Valiquette, chaplain of the historic Inanda Seminary, and has two teenage children.
Couper is currently a senior honorary lecturer at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics), an adjunct lecturer at Seth Mokitimi Methodist Seminary (faculty of systematic theology and history), and the resident historian at Inanda Seminary. Couper attended undergraduate school at The American University’s School for International Service in Washington, DC (BA in international relations), the University of Chicago (MA in divinity), and the University of KwaZulu-Natal (PhD in history). Couper has studied and worked in Chile, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, the Kingdom of Lesotho, Ghana, the United States, and South Africa. Couper’s studies in Nigeria and Zimbabwe were with SIT Study Abroad. Couper wrote the first, and still the only, substantive biography on Albert Luthuli (2010) and is completing his second book on the history of Inanda Seminary. Couper’s intellectual passion is the fusion of history (biographical), political science (current events), and issues of faith and spirituality (ecumenical and interfaith).
Couper enjoys travel, long-distance running (five, going on six, Comrades ultramarathons), reading, watching rugby, and hosting friends for a braai.
The program also draws on a number of guest lecturers from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) and the NGO sector.
Kiru Naidoo, Lecturer, ISP Advisor
Kiru Naidoo studied political science and development at the universities of Durban-Westville and Cambridge. He also has expertise in marketing and communications. He has been the director of public affairs at UDW and senior manager for communications in the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government. He has also held positions at the universities of Natal and Durban-Westville, Durban University of Technology, National Research Foundation, and the South Africa-Netherlands Research Programme on Alternatives in Development. Kiru is a valued member of the SIT family, as lecturer and ISP advisor.
Michael Sutcliffe, PhD, Lecturer, ISP Advisor
Michael Sutcliffe has an MSc from the University of Natal and a PhD in city planning from Ohio State University. He was appointed chairperson of South Africa’s Demarcation Board in the post-apartheid order by President Mandela and was Durban’s city manager, or mayor, for nine years. Dr. Sutcliffe played a significant role in the country’s anti-apartheid struggle and is widely recognized as an influential member of the African National Congress, the ruling party in South Africa.
Janine Hicks, Lecturer, ISP Advisor
Janine Hicks is a senior commissioner with South Africa’s Commission on Gender Equality. She holds a master’s in development studies from the University of Sussex and an LLB from the former University of Natal, Durban. She has more than two decades of experience working with South African civil society and educational institutions, and is widely published in the areas of participatory democracy, gender issues, and access to education for women in South Africa. She is a dedicated member of the SIT family and, as ISP advisor, has mentored several SIT students to research awards, and publication of their ISPs.
Dr. Nthabiseng Motsemme, Lecturer, ISP Advisor
Nthabiseng is the director of Postgraduate and Research Capacity Development at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. She has also held positions at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WISER) as a researcher and at the University of the Western Cape as a lecturer. She was also the manager of the university-wide funding and research capacity program for young, black, and female researchers and the Women-in-Research Initiative at the University of South Africa Research Directorate. She currently sits on a number of editorial boards for academic journals, including African Identities, Africa Education Review, and Feminist Legal Studies. Her research interests include African feminist and womanist theories, township women’s identities, and women’s experiences in higher education.
Geoff Waters, Lecturer
Geoff has a master’s degree in economics from Manchester University (UK) and has been a senior lecturer in sociology at the University of Natal (now UKZN). He has expertise in social research methodology (qualitative), urban life and culture, and rural community life. His research interests include homeless people of the inner city, street children in central Durban, and retirement communities.
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