• The sociology of youth, including youth unemployment and marginalisation
  • The sociology of transformation, in particular social inequalities (race, gender, geography and class), post colonialism and development theories
  • The sociology of morality including social inequalities, public values and moral action
  • Qualitative research methodologies including visual and participatory methods, urban ethnography and ethics
  • PhD 2003 – 2007 University of Cambridge, UK (Dissertation: ‘The moral ecology of South Africa’s township youth’)
  • MEd 2002 – 2003 Harvard University, USA (Sociology of youth, international development, qualitative and quantitative research methods)
  • BTh (Ethics, philosophy) 1988 – 1991 University of Zululand, South Africa
  • BSc (Zoology, botany) 1985 – 1989 University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa


  • 2008 to date – Human Sciences Research Council, South Africa: Research Director (1 July 2010 to date); Senior Research Specialist (1 November 2009 to 30 June 2010); Post-doctoral fellow (1 January 2008 to 31 October 2009)
  • 2012 to date – University of Cape Town, South Africa, Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of Sociology
  • 1989 – 2001 Scripture Union, South Africa, National Director (Youth development Non-Profit)


  • 2015 Visiting Scholar, Centre of Development Studies, University of Cambridge
  • 2014 Fellow, Francois Xavier Bagnolet Center for Health and Human Rights, Harvard University
  • 2014 Oppenheimer Memorial Trust Sabbatical Award
  • 2012 Human Sciences Research Council Research Excellence Prize
  • 2011 National Research Foundation, South Africa C1 Rating
  • 2011 Taylor Prize for best academic paper
  • 2011 Long listed for the Alan Paton non-fiction award
  • 2009-13 Fellow, Centre for Commonwealth Education, University of Cambridge
  • 2009 Human Sciences Research Council Mentoring Award
  • 2008 The Kuhmerker Outstanding Dissertation Prize
  • 2006 Canon Collins Education Trust Grant
  • 2005 Newby Educational Grant; Association for Moral Education Dissertation Grant
  • 2004-6 Harvey Scholars Scholarship
  • 2003-6 Cambridge Commonwealth Studies Scholarship; Oppenheimer Trust Scholarship
  • 2002-3 Harvard University International Student Scholarship


  • 2016 to date. University of Cape Town: Sociology ‘Social Theory’ (undergraduate)
  • 2014 to date. University of Cape Town: Sociology ‘Advanced Development Theories’ (graduate)
  • 2010 to 2015. University of Cape Town: Sociology ‘Race, Class and Gender’ (undergraduate)
  • 2006 to 2012. University of Cambridge: ‘Qualitative research methods’, ‘Social theory’ and ‘Research methodology’.
  • 2008 to 2014. HSRC: Convenor and presenter of monthly staff development programme for research interns.
  • 2005. University of Cape Town: Psychology: ‘Personality disorders’ (undergraduate)
  • 1999, 2003. University of Stellenbosch: ‘Community health’, ‘Gender and ethics’


  1. 2015-2020 (HSRC) Principal Investigator. Ensuring safe learning environments for girls (Preventing Sexual Violence in Schools in South Africa initiative in South Africa). Funded by the Soul City Institute. R1.5 million over 5 years.
  2. 2015-2016 (HSRC). ) Principal investigator. Moral-eyes: Coming to see personal privilege and positionalities amongst youth in diverse issues of social justice in four African countries. Funded by the Journal of Moral Education Trust. R1 million over 2 years.
  3. 2015-2016. Principal investigator. Navigational capacities in contexts of adversity: Establishing a consortium of global South youth scholars (COGSYS). Accelerator Activity Research grant. Funded by DST/NRF Human Development Centre of Excellence. R500,000 over one year.
  4. 2013-2017 (HSRC) Principal investigator. Race, Education and Emancipation: A five-year longitudinal, qualitative study of agency and impasses to success amongst higher education students in eight South African universities. Funded by Department of Higher Education and Training and the Centre for Critical Research in Race and Identity. R7 million over 5 years.
  5. 2011-2014 (HSRC) Principal investigator. Evaluating peer education in Western Cape schools. Funded by Global AIDS Fund and the Western Cape Education and Health Departments. R2.1 million over 3 years.
  6. 2011-2012 (HSRC) Co-principal investigator. The Status of Youth Report. Social cohesion, education and skills, youth work and national youth service. Funded by the National Youth Development Agency. R1.4 million over 2 years.
  7. 2011-2012 (HSRC) Co-principal investigator. Evaluating the value that young people attach to loveLife and investigating factors impacting the life choices and risk tolerance of youth. Funded by loveLife/Kaiser Family Foundation – R3.1 million over 2 years.
  8. 2007-2010 (HSRC/Harvard). Co-Principal investigator. The role of peer education in psychosocial outcomes for orphaned and vulnerable children. Funded by USAID/PEPFAR – R2.1 million over 3 years.
  9. 2007-2008 (HSRC). Principal investigator. Young fathers experiences in the context of poverty in South Africa: A phenomenological and ecological investigation. Funded by Save the Children, Sweden. R385,000 over 2 years.
  10. 2009-2010 (HSRC). Principal investigator. Men and Morality: Investigating the social, cultural and environmental requirements for a society with more than just ‘a few good men’. Funded by Department of Science and Technology. R300,000 over 2 years.
  11. 2009-2012 (HSRC/Cambridge). Co-Principal investigator. African sexual knowledges: Consulting children about sex education in three African countries. Funded by the Centre for Commonwealth Education. R776,000 over 3 years.
  12. 2004-2007 Cambridge. Research assistant. Educational outcomes for pro-poor development (with Profs. Christopher Colclough and Madeleine Arnot). Funded by DFID.
  13. 2007 Cambridge. Researcher. A review of primary school education in the UK (with Prof. Robin Alexander). Funded by the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation.
  14. 2001-2005 Harvard. Researcher. Developing standards of practice for HIV/AIDS peer education (with Dr Charles Deutsch). Funded by Centres for Disease Control and the Department of Health.