Alois S Baleni

PhD Fellow

Alois S Baleni is a PhD fellow at SWOP and holds a Master‘s in Development Studies as well as an Honours and junior degree from the University of South Africa (Unisa). Baleni has worked extensively in rural development and the NGO sector, research and communications consultancy where he held various middle and senior management positions. He later joined Wits University and served under the Registrar‘s Division.


Baleni is currently pursuing a PhD in Sociology at the University of Witwatersrand. He has an avid interest in the decolonial epistemology and his broader research interests include matters of racism, violence, social movements, politics and coloniality. 


Nonkululeko Mabaso 

PhD Fellow

Nonkululeko is PhD candidate in Development Studies. Her doctoral research topic is: ‘The Reconfigurations of Racialised Economic Power in South Africa:  A Case Study of Sanlam and Remgro Limited- pre and post 1994’. It explores the intricate relationship between the state’s neoliberal economic policy intended for transformation (BBBEE), corporate strategies (including internationalisation and financialisation), and the racialised distribution of economic power in post-1994 South Africa. Her research interests include: Whiteness Studies, inequality, economic transformation, economic policy, research methods and student movements. She was also one of the #FeesMustFall student activists who contributed to SWOP’s student led publication: Rioting and Writing: Diaries of Wits Fallists. 

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Thenjiwe Mswane

PhD Fellow

uThenjiwe is a mdlwembe of a guluva of a stabane. An aunt, a sister. A children's author. A published poet and writer.

A Third world black radical feminist positioned in the global south. 

Thenjiwe is umZulu from Kwa-Zulu interested in thinking through idea's of 'Zulu-ness'. 

She is interested in performance, spirituality, sexuality, language - she teaches isiZulu in her sparetime, and violence. 

Thenjiwe is an experienced Gender Researcher, and a retired Queer Activist. 


Dylan Kukard 

PhD Fellow

Dylan is a PhD candidate in the Department of Psychology, with a theoretical interest on how violence co-opts traditional logics of power to pose bigger questions about the democratisation of violence in South Africa for subaltern groups. Through the Mellon Foundation Funded ‘Violent States, States of Violence’ Project, he is aiming his doctoral research on the nexus of violence and power in the subjectification of queer public health users undergoing gender-affirming therapy or medical transition. Grounded through an interest in developments in statistics and research methods, in 2019 Dylan co-authored a published article on Conversation analysis in South Africa titled, ‘Identity in interaction: sub-cultural intersubjectivities in popular radio conversation on Inxeba”. 


Nomaqhawe Molife

Master’s Research Intern


Nomaqhawe Molife completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal, majoring in Geography and Environmental management. She went on to complete an honours degree in Development Sociology at the University of the Witwatersrand in 2017. Nomaqhawe is currently doing her Masters degree, still in Development Sociology. She has received a scholarship administered by SWOP on a project on violence. Nomaqhawe's research interests are memory, genocide, the collective imagination and resistance.


Lesiba Phahladira

Master’s Research Intern 

Lesiba is primarily trained in archaeology with interest in the intersections of history, heritage and (in) present-day societies. He is interested in experimental transdisciplinary methods of producing inclusive research and knowledge. Currently, Lesiba is a Social Anthropology Masters student in Violent States, States of Violence Project. In his Masters he investigates the South African townships’ violent narrative experiences of travelling by MetroRail trains. His broader focus is investigating how Apartheid spatial city planning continues to influence movements of township migrant labourers and forms of township exclusion from the former Apartheid city economies. Lesiba experimentally employs his auto ethnographic accounts, literature and fictional description, township ethnography and memory making to understand how migrant township commuters violently negotiate instants of worsening train services in their everyday journeys to get to work in the cities.  


Kefuoe Emmaculate Maotoane

Master’s Research Intern 

Kefuoe Emmaculate Maotoane completed her undergraduate degree at the University of the Witwatersrand, majoring in Political studies and History in 2017. In 2018, she completed her honours degree in History under the scholarship of the History Workshop at the University of the Witwatersrand. Her honours mini-dissertation looked at the politics of exclusion under the title: ‘Hao wa mono’: the politics of exclusion and everyday life in Bethanie, c. 1980s to the present. She is currently working on her Masters by Research in History with the scholarship of SWOP under the project ‘Violent states, States of violence’ at the University of the Witwatersrand. Kefuoe’s research interests include everyday forms of violence, politics of belonging and rural and urban transformations.