South Africa: Social and Political Transformation

Faculty and Staff

Imraan Buccus, Academic Director

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

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:

Bryan Stone

Bryan Stone, Program Assistant and 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 “laid back” 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. Bryan is looking forward to his new role as program assistant and to continuing as isiZulu language instructor with SIT.

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.

John Daniel

The program also draws on a number of guest lecturers from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) and the NGO sector.
Lecturers include:

John Daniel, PhD
SIT remembers John Daniel, PhD – former Academic Director and Academic Coordinator of South Africa: Social and Political Transformation; lecturer; advisor; activist; intellectual; educator; caring and compassionate human being; and inspiration and mentor to hundreds of SIT students. Dr. Daniel passed away on 25 July 2014.

John Daniel was a South African citizen with 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 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 to South Africa 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 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, John’s writings were 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, when he was succeeded by Imraan Buccus.
John Daniel lectured 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. He will be deeply missed.

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 The Ohio State University. He was the chairperson of South Africa’s Demarcation Board in the post-apartheid order and was Durban’s city manager 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 issues around access to education for women in South Africa. She is a dedicated member of the SIT family, and several students who have worked with her on their ISP have won accolades or had their work published.

Thembisa Waetjen, PhD, Lecturer, ISP Advisor
Thembisa Waetjen holds a BA from the University of California Berkeley and an MA and PhD from the University of Oregon. Her PhD dissertation was focused on constructions of masculinities in the 1980s Inkatha movement. More recently, her work has explored the lives of Muslim women in Durban and the ways that political action and civic identities are influenced by gender and culture.

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 programme 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

Costs Dates

Credits: 16

Duration: 15 weeks

Program Base: Durban

Language Study: isiZulu

Prerequisites: None

South Africa

View Student Evaluations for this program:

About the Evaluations (PDF)

Fall 2013 Evaluations (PDF)
Spring 2013 Evaluations (PDF)
Fall 2012 Evaluations (PDF)

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