The Team

We are a team of experienced researchers working across Scotland and South Africa. The research team is currently based at a number of institutions, including the University of Stirling, the University of Cape Town, the University of the Western Cape, and the Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation NPC.

Dr Dalene Swanson (PI)

Senior Lecturer, University of Stirling

Dalene is a senior international educator, researcher and academic committed to democracy and socio-ecological egalitarianism in education and society. She specialises in theory and praxis that addresses complex transdisciplinary global challenges associated with social and ecological stresses in ‘glocal’ context. Dalene’s research interests and expertise span reconceptualist curriculum theory, mathematics education in socio-political perspectives, cultural studies, critical theory, critical / ethical internationalisation in education, democracy in education, and social and ecological justice.

Dr Leif Peterson (Co-I)

Managing Director, Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation NPC

Leif is a social entrepreneur and social ecologist with a range of research and personal interests pertaining to people and the environment, informal economy culture and business practice. Leif completed his PhD in 2013 with the University of Queensland, studying Cape Town’s informal economy of natural resources and traditional medicines. Leif has worked throughout southern and eastern Africa and Asia-Pacific before jointly founding SLF in 2010. Outside of the office Leif busies himself with crisis management of his two small children, surfing, cricket, hiking and commuting. Leif has lived in South Africa for fourteen years.

Dr Gill Black (Co-I)

Director, Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation NPC

Gill began her career as an infectious diseases researcher in 1993. Her experience as a field-based health scientist in Kenya, Brazil, Malawi and South Africa, and extensive interactions with research participants in each of these contexts, catalysed Gill’s transition to the Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation (SLF) in 2010. In her capacity as a director at SLF, Gill now works to engage with people living in townships and informal settings about the public health concerns and health-related research activities that most affect their lives. Gill has developed a core interest in the use of participatory visual methods (PVM) as platforms for action research to foster community mobilization and transform health practice.

Dr Kirsty Carden (Co-I)

Future Water, University of Cape Town

Kirsty’s current research in Future Water includes a Water Sensitive Design Community of Practice programme; using a diagnostic indicator assessment to understand sustainability transitions towards Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) in the City of Cape Town (Boipelo Madonsela); developing greywater resource guidelines for South Africa; understanding the drivers for, and barriers to, the implementation of WSD in South Africa (David Ellis); enabling a community of practice: network dynamics in building a water sensitive practice (Andrew Bennett); and socio-hydrological assessment of responses to water scarcity in the Western Cape. She also participates in potential Future Water collaborative research into: the governance processes that need to be established to implement WSD; sustainability transitions and the attainment of the SDGs; and benchmarking cities’ responses to water scarcity and their ability to transition to water sensitivity.

Dr Niall Hamilton-Smith (Co-I)

Senior Lecturer, University of Stirling

Niall Hamilton-Smith is a senior lecturer in the Faculty of Social Sciences. He is the Head of the Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology subject group, an Associate Director of the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research ( http://www.sccjr.ac.uk/ ) and an associate of the Scottish Institute for Policing Research. He is also an Associate Editor of the journal, Criminology and Criminal Justice. Prior to Stirling, Niall worked as a criminologist in the Home Office’s research directorate, working both on the crime reduction programme and on the organised crime research programme.

Dr Guy Lamb (Co-I)

Director of the Safety and Violence Initiative, University of Cape Town

Guy Lamb is the Director of SaVI, a post he has held since October 2012. He also convenes postgraduate courses in the Departments of Political Studies and Public Law at UCT. Prior to this he was the Programme Head of the Arms Management Programme at the Institute for Security Studies. He has served on the UN Security Council Panel of Experts on Liberia.

Prof Cherrel Africa (Co-I)

Associate Professor and Chair of Political Studies, University of the Western Cape

Prof Cherrel Africa is Chair of of the Political Studies department at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa. Prior to UWC, she was at the Institute for Democracy. Her research and writing focuses on South African politics, political communication, conceptions of democracy, voting behaviour, elections, election campaigns, and the relations between political parties and the media in South Africa. Professor Africa is a regulator speaker on South African politics for media in this context, including the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) and eNCA, a 24-hour television news broadcaster that focuses on South African and African news stories.

Prof Laurence Piper (Co-I)

Professor of Political Studies, University of the Western Cape

A graduate of the Universities of Natal and Cambridge, Laurence Piper is interested in informal urban life in the global south, both economic and political, and the implications for citizenship and participation in democratic politics and institutions. Within this broad frame, issues of identity and inclusion, and violence and reconciliation are recurring themes. Laurence Piper is Professor of Political Studies at the University of the Western Cape. With a PhD from the University of Cambridge in 2000, he has published extensively on Zulu nationalism, the Inkatha Freedom Party and electoral politics in South Africa. His current research concerns new democratic theory and innovations, particularly new forms of participation in local governance and development in the global South Africa. Prof Piper is an NRF-rated scientist.

Dr Anna Wilson (Co-I)

Lecturer, University of Stirling

Anna Wilson is a Lecturer in Lifelong Learning in the Faculty of Social Sciences.  She is a member of both the Professional Education and Teaching Qualification for Further Education teaching teams.  Her recent research is in the areas of professional learning and learning to be a professional, informal learning and the ways in which technological artefacts can shape learning opportunities and experiences.  Prior to this, Anna was a nuclear physicist who worked in the US, UK and Australia, ultimately working at the Australian National University for over 12 years.  In that context, she won two national teaching awards and co-led a national project on undergraduates’ experiences of research.  Anna completed her second PhD in Education at the University of Stirling in 2016.

Dr Jennifer Dickie (Co-I)

Lecturer, University of Stirling

Jennifer lectures in Environmental Geography at the University of Stirling. She completed her PhD in Physical Geography at the University of Leicester. Her first role was as a researcher and teaching developer in the HEFCE-funded Spatial Literacy in Learning and Teaching CETL, investigating the pedagogies of mobile Geographical Information Science (GIS) and Virtual Reality with particular focus on human/environmental applications. Jennifer has researched on: ‘Adaptations to Rural Communities through Living with Climate Change’ (RCUK Rural Economy and Land Use Programme); ‘New Urbanisms, New Citizens: Children and Young People’s Everyday Life and Participation in Sustainable Communities’ (ESRC), Affective Digital Histories: Recreating De-Industrial Places, 1970s to the Present’ (AHRC) and ‘Rural Hybrid Energy Enterprise Systems’ (EPSRC Bridging the Urban Rural Divide programme). She is also a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, the RGS-IBG Energy Geographies Research Group Communications Officer, and an advisor for the International Energy Justice Council.


The Fieldwork Research Team

Anthony Muteti (Fieldwork Team Manager)

Project Officer at Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation NPC

Anthony was leading the fieldwork research team for the GCRF Township Resilience project. He has historically been involved in a variety of projects at SLF. Anthony is from Masvingo Province in Zimbabwe. He graduated with a BSc Honors Degree in Politics and Administration from the University of Zimbabwe in 1991. Anthony worked as a teacher in Zimbabwe for ten years, while maintaining active involvement with various civil society organizations advocating for human rights. His area of interest continues to be focused on human rights, particularly for marginalized communities. Anthony officially joined the SLF team in July 2014 but has done some ad-hoc work for the organization since 2012.

Clevin Consul

Hometown: Delft, Cape Town.

My name is Clevin Consul. I stay in Roosendaal, Delft where I am a Community leader. For the past 20 years I have been serving the community of Delft by being a neighborhood watch member (currently still an active member) in Roosendal, Delft. Through the years I became the captain (currently still the captain) of Unity NHW (Neighbourhood Watch) – an accredited neighborhood watch. I was also vice chairman and treasurer of Unity NHW and previously elected as the chairman/coordinator of the Delft NHW forum where I chair, recruit and coordinate all NHW members in the whole of Delft. I also work closely with all NHW and all NPOs in Delft. I also served on the Delft Community Police Forum (CPF) as an executive. I am currently serving on the Ward 13 committee as coordinator of the DVG (Designated Vulnerable Group). I am a board member of Delft Community upliftment foundation an NPO within the Roosendal community. I am also warehouse supervisor by trade.

About 8 years ago while I was the chairman of the Delft Neighborhood Watch Forum and sitting on the executive board of the Delft CPF, SLF wanted to do a project in Delft about the crime in the area and that’s when I get to know SLF. Over the years I became involved with SLF in various projects and workshops in Delft e.g. The Bucket Loads of Health, the skateboard clinic youth program. I also did field surveys about informal business and urban housing rental, and the current project on water shortages in Delft about the drought we had in the Western Cape a few years ago and fire in the informal settlements in Overcome Heights.

I am involved with feeding scheme through Unity NHW, where we give meals for about 300 children and adults in our community. I am interested in youth programs and workshops where youth can learn not to do drugs, teenage pregnancy and not to get involved in gangsterism but learn discipline through sport, singing, arts, drama, acting and to learn organization skills. I also have a high level of accuracy and thoroughness in preparation and execution of task, orientated towards careful planning and analysis.

Aviwe Qoma

Hometown: Overcome Heights, Cape Town

My name is Aviwe Qoma and I stay in Overcome Heights, Capricorn, Muizenberg in Cape Town Western Cape. I originally come from the Eastern Cape, in Dimbaza, King Williams Town. I know SLF from Phumzile, he is the one who introduced me to the organization and people who work in the organization. I work for the organization doing projects attending workshops when needed. My interest is to grow bigger and better in life, able to handle pressure from all sides of life and to continue going forward experiencing more things without turning back even if I fall down get up and continue walking again, ignoring what people say.

Wandile Helpar Tula

Hometown: Sweet Home Farm, Cape Town

My name is Wandile Helpar Tula, and I am 23 years of age. I am from Sweet Home Farm (an Informal settlement) in Cape Town. I am a single young man, who lives with his mother and two sisters. I came to know about SLF in 2019, where they hosted a project called “Safe Shebeens” that’s when I noticed about SLF. In February 2020, sis Nomtha contacted me and I became part of the Community Advisory board (CAB) member. Since then I became part of the SLF research team. I am a good calm person, a good listener also a fast learner and I maintain working under pressure. I always show some enthusiasm on everything I do. I like working with people and gaining different experiences and I’m always ready for new adventures.

Prudence Damane

Hometown: Delft, Cape Town

My name is Prudence Damane I stay in Delft South, I first got to know SLF in 2017 that’s when I got involved in a project called Heart of the Matter. I enjoyed the workshop process and it took us about weeks to create body maps and our stories. Since then I have been involved in other projects at SLF. The most memorable was the Delft 3rd wave Re-survey which took as 3 months doing field research. I am grateful that I was also drafted into the GCRF Township Resilience project recently. My interests are to get to know more about SLF and to gain more experience. I also enjoy field work and interacting with communities and individuals.

Deidre Celia Jacobs

Hometown: Delft, Cape Town

My name is Deidre Celia Jacobs, 41 years of age. I reside in Leiden, Delft. I have been married for 21 years with 5 dependents one grandchild. I came to know about SLF in 2019, while working for a community project called Women For Change, we had a workshop facilitated by SAB, I was called to be a mentor. In August of 2019 Rory Liedeman contacted me and I became part of the Delft Youth Empowerment Project. Since January 2020 I have been part of the SLF research team. I love working with people, I am a fast learner, goal driven, can work very well in a team and also are prepared for new challenges, job or life might offer.

Thabo Lawrence Zondo

Hometown: Gugulethu, Cape Town

I am Thabo Lawrence Zondo, I am 53 years of age and I stay in Gugulethu, Cape Town. At SLF I was introduced by Mr Madikane from an organization called Realistic. I started as a security guard at Realistic. SLF inspired me to look for things that we are not even aware about in our communities. I have worked in various projects at SLF in Phillipi, Delft and Sweet Home Farm. I am a vice chairperson in my street, I am chairperson for our Area Executive Committee. I run a coach a dance/drama group of about 50 kids. I am interested in having a Youth Development and Community Development Organization.

Xolelwa Mkhetho

Hometown: Sweet Home Farm, Cape Town

My name is Xolelwa Mkhetho generally known as Nomtha, mother of three children two boys and one girl. I have been staying in Sweet Home Farm in Phillipi for a long time. I am a God-fearing woman, calm, hardworking, loving and dedicated person who can work under pressure with diverse people. I met SLF fieldworkers in 2011 while working with the Safe Shebeens Project. That’s when I started to do some part time job as a Community member and fieldworker in Sweet Home Farm. That open a lot of opportunities for fieldwork for me. In 2017, I was one of the field workers doing the National Income Dynamic Study. I noticed that I have a passion of working with the disadvantaged people from disadvantaged areas as I also come from these areas. In 2019, I was involved in the Philippi High Street Study as a field researcher on the SLF team, it was in this project that my skills were sharpened after an intensive training on how to do research. In 2020 SLF engaged me in the Delft 3rd Wave Resurvey. I am currently involved in the GCRF project.

Phumzile Ntozini

Hometown: Umtata, Eastern Cape

Phumzile has attended and completed a range of courses with focuses such as computer skills and training, local government legislative framework, ward based planning, and integrated development planning. While working as a computer teacher for a youth development centre, he crossed paths with SLF, and has worked on different SLF projects since 2011. In addition to working at SLF, he is currently completing his BCom Economics through UNISA.

The UKRI-GCRF Water and Fire Postdoctoral Research Fellows

Dr Tsitsi Mpofu-Mketwa

Based: Cape Town

Tsitsi is a social worker by profession and has worked in vulnerable communities in the Cape Flats of South Africa. Her PhD thesis investigated how isiXhosa-speaking women traders in Langa Township, Cape Town, exercised agency in the ways they responded to structural constraints and opportunities that affect their informal trading businesses. Tsitsi has experience in applied community research that investigates the impact of broader global trends and neoliberalism on local contexts to inform development practice and policy to promote human development and wellbeing. Tsitsi has worked in different research units at the University of Cape Town on projects relating to violence against women and girls, child and youth wellbeing, informal traders and energy use in South African townships. From these research projects, she contributed research reports that informed different institutional policy. Tsitsi is currently a postdoctoral research fellow based at the University of Cape Town on the UKRI GCRF Water and Fire research project.

Dr Sikhululekile (Skhue) Ncube

Based: Stirling

Skhue is an Environmental Scientist. She holds a PhD from the UNESCO Centre for Water Law, Policy and Science at the University of Dundee (Scotland). Her PhD focussed on spatio-temporal assessment of changes in ecosystem services. She also holds an MSc in Environmental Science (with Distinction) from UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education in the Netherlands, a BSc (Hons) in Environmental Science and Health from the National University of Science and Technology in Zimbabwe and a Diploma in Development and Disaster Management from the National University of Science and Technology in Zimbabwe.

Skhue has wide-ranging and diverse post-doctoral research experience at Dundee and Heriot-Watt universities on national and international projects (Europe, Asia and Africa) with a focus on environmental management, water resources management (river basins), stakeholder engagement, ecosystem services and natural capital assessments, and geospatial analysis. She has been able to integrate physical sciences and social sciences both within and between projects she has worked on. She has worked at the University of Dundee as a Geographical Information Systems (GIS) lecturer for 3rd and 4th year undergraduate students in the disciplines of Geography, Environmental Science, Environmental Sustainability and Urban planning. Prior to her PhD, Skhue worked as a Research Officer in Southern Africa focussing on water resources management and facilitating capacity development workshops for different stakeholders including local communities, local leadership, government ministries and local authorities. Her early career focused on implementing and monitoring drought relief and conservation agriculture projects aimed at improving food security in drought prone areas in Zimbabwe.

Dr Alan Gillies

Based: Stirling

I am delighted to be joining the UKRI GCRF Water and Fire project team.  My research on the political economy of illicit commodities focuses on how illicit economies intersect with governance, livelihoods and socio-environmental challenges in Global South contexts. I have been researching on the ESRC-Newton Caldas Colombia River Stories project at the School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Glasgow. Working closely with local communities, this multi-disciplinary project examines the socio-environmental impacts of illegal mechanised gold mining and conflict in Chocó, Colombia. Prior to this, I held an ESRC Global Challenges Research Fund Fellowship at the University of Glasgow. My project, Illicit Drug Economies, Governance and the Security-Development Nexus in the Global South, engaged with debates around the relationship between illicit drug economies and the Sustainable Development Goals, and the future of international counterdrug policy. The project built upon my PhD research, which explored the historical political economy of the drug trade in Bolivia and the escalation of the US ‘war on drugs’ in the Andes. I am very much looking forward to working with the UKRI GCRF Water and Fire team, and the opportunity to conduct research in a new context and expand my research expertise.

Dr Lesley Gibson

Based: Stirling

Lesley Gibson has 15 years of experience working in geoscience and nature conservation – for a research council (Council for Geoscience and Agricultural Research Council), a groundwater consultancy (GEOSS), and a nature conservation board (CapeNature) – in the Western Cape of South Africa, before moving to Scotland in 2016. Since then she has worked as a lecturer at Glasgow Caledonian University and latterly as a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Edinburgh on a GCRF project on fire in informal settlements in Cape Town. She is a natural scientist with a PhD in Geography and Environmental Science from the University of Cape Town and has extensive experience in Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing. She hopes that with her recent fire related experience and her previous work on water related issues, as well as her knowledge of Cape Town, she will be able to make a positive contribution to the GCRF Water and Fire project.

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