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People : Legal Experience

Principle Investigator: Fatima Seedat

Fatima Seedat is Senior Lecturer in Gender Studies at the African Gender Institute at the University of Cape Town. She writes on religion, sexuality and specifically feminism in the context of Islam. Previously she held a post-doctoral fellowship at the Department of Religious Studies at UCT and taught at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), and McGill University where she also completed her PhD in Islamic Law. Her fellowships include the British Council Chevening Scholarship which she held at the Human Rights Law Center, University of Nottingham.

Prior to her venture into academia, Fatima worked in local and international NGO and government sectors, namely, Equitas Human Rights Foundation (Canada), Women Living Under Muslim Laws (UK), the Commission on Gender Equality and the Department of International Relations (South Africa), UN Women Afghanistan, and Shura Yabafazi, an NGO which she began in 2001. Most recently, Fatima’s work has been centred on Muslim Family Law Reform in South Africa where she is one of three female Muslim Marriage Officers in the country, assists women with khula pronouncements and plays a leading role in the work of the newly established Muslim Personal Law Network (of women scholars, activists and professionals), which is closely affiliated to the international network Musawah.


Research Assistant: Gaboitsiwe Kgomongwe 

Gaboitsiwe Kgomongwe is a Masters Student in Gender Studies at the African Gender Institute at the University of Cape Town. She is currently a member of the MPL network, a network of diverse women, focused on addressing challenges faced by Muslim women in accessing social justice through Muslim Personal Law. Her research interests entail the intersection of Race, Gender, and Islam.


Research Assistant: Rifqah van Schalkwyk

Rifqah van Schalkwyk is a final year master’s student in the Department of Religious Studies at UCT. She is a research assistant, working on issues around Muslim Personal Law; and a tutor at the African Gender Institute (aka Department of Gender Studies) also at UCT. Her activist work includes having been a youth member at a queer Muslim organisation, Al- Fitra Foundation (formerly known as the Inner Circle) between 2016 and 2018. Currently, she is an active member of the UCT chapter of the Young Women's Leadership Project. Her youth development activities include having been the Outreach and Transformation Officer at UCT Karate in 2015, and the Chairperson of UCT Karate 2016 and 2017.


Research Assistant: Aqeelah Bray

Aqeelah Bray is an Honours graduate in Gender and Transformation. She was previously a senior editor for Her Campus UCT Chapter, a writer for On the Line, an intersectional blog, and The UCT’s Varsity Newspaper. In these, she has written on a range of topics, mainly focusing on issues of gender inequality, patriarchy, misogyny and racism. She has also tutored in the Gender Studies Department (AGI) at UCT and is currently a research assistant in the department.


Research Assistant: Dineil Jagers 

Dineil Jagers is a feminist scholar from Cape Town. She is currently doing a Masters degree, specialising in Gender Studies at the University of Cape Town. She holds an Honours degree in Gender and Transformation, as well as an undergraduate degree in Gender and Media Studies from the same university. Her research interests include gender, religion and race, with specific reference to coloured identities.