Gender Studies at UCT (AXL)



Head of Section - Gender Studies

Associate Professor Jane Bennett has disciplinary backgrounds in literature, linguistics, sociology and feminist theory, and has worked at the State University of New York, Barnard College, and since 1999, within the University of Cape Town. Her research interests are in feminist theory, sexualities, pedagogies and violence and she has published many articles and book chapters in these areas. She is also interested in research which is allied to political activism, in different areas, within and beyond university spaces within the African continent. She writes both fiction and non-fiction. She works regularly with colleagues at the University of Buenos Aires, Makerere University, the University of Ghana, the University of California (Davis) and the Human Sciences Research Council. She also works with a number of NGOs across Southern and Eastern Africa. In the African Gender Institute, she is responsible for teaching undergraduate and postgraduate courses, postgraduate supervision, research development and networking, research and publication, and the convenorship of core programmes in the School of African and Gender Studies, Anthropology and Linguistics.

Telephone: +27 (0) 21 650 4203, E-mail: jane.bennett(at)



Yaliwe Clarke, Interim Director of the African Gender institute and a Lecturer in Gender Studies at the School of African and Gender Studies, Anthropology and Linguistics at the University of Cape Town, South Africa.  Since 2000 she has interacted with a wide range of women's rights activists and peace-builders/conflict resolution practitioners in over 11 countries in Africa.  She is currently a PhD candidate in Social Development at the University of Cape Town. Her PhD research investigates the micro-politics of women’s ‘peace activism’ in northern Uganda. She is also interested in notions of respectable femininity, marriage, pleasure, and (hetero)sexuality in Zambia.

Yaliwe is a Co-Principal Investigator for a research project on ‘Participatory Theatre and the production of cultures of Equality amongst Sex Workers in South Africa. The project is a collaborative effort between the Centre for Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies (CTDPS), a Sex Workers Theatre Steering group, linked to the Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Task Force (SWEAT), and the African Gender Institute (AGI). It is part of Global GRACE (Global Gender and Cultures of Equality), a transcontinental initiative that uses the arts to investigate gender positive approaches to wellbeing in Bangladesh, Brazil, Mexico, the Philippines, United Kingdom and South Africa. For South Africa, the project seeks to investigate gender positive approaches to wellbeing through the use of participatory theatre and performance. This involves learning how sex workers produce equality and challenge inequality and injustice. See website for details ( The project  is funded by the Research Council of UK and is managed by Goldsmith, University of London.


Dr. Fatima Seedat(PhD Islamic Law, McGill), is a Senior Lecturer in Gender Studies and has a specialisation in gender studies at the intersections of Islam, sexuality and law. Her doctoral dissertation examined the discursive construction of the female legal subject through narratives of sex-difference in classical and contemporary Islamic law. She writes on the convergences of Islam and feminism, queering the study of Islam, militant Muslim masculinity and egalitarian readings of Islamic law. Her current research projects include feminist readings strategies and reform methods for Islamic law and she is in the early stages of a project on gender non-conforming Muslim sexualities. Dr. Seedat’s teaching focus lies in African and other feminist theorising, and feminist research and writing methods.


Simamkele Dlakavu joined the Gender Studies Department as a Part-time Lecturer in January 2020. Since then, she has contributed to the formulation and the lecturing of undergraduate and post-graduate courses such as: "Development, Conflict and Political Change," "Gender and The Politics of Development," and "Theories, Politics, Action."  She holds a Master of Arts in African Literature from Wits University (with distinction). She is also working towards her PhD in Political Science. Her research interests are: Social movements, Feminist Organising, Political Memory, Citizenship Studies and Gender Based Violence.

Simamkele has been an active participant in student movements calling for an intersectional decolonial reality in South Africa- where all forms of oppression matter. She is the former Media and Communications Manager for Oxfam South Africa. Simamkele has also worked as a human rights television producer on one of South Africa’s most popular current affairs show: The Big Debate. She has written for South Africa’s leading newspapers such as City Press and co-edited a Special Issue of the Agenda Journal titled: “Feminisms and Women's Resistance within Contemporary African Student Movements” (2016). 


Dr. Zamambo Mkhize is a Lecturer in Gender Studies in the School of African and Gender Studies, Anthropology and Linguistics at the University of Cape Town. Zamambo Mkhize got her undergraduate degree from Florida A&M University on a full tennis scholarship where she graduated with a degree in criminal justice. She then got her Honours in Criminology and Masters in Gender Studies from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Zamambo Mkhize did part of her PhD in Pennsylvania as a Fulbright Scholar. Zamambo Mkhize then did her Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the Centre for Critical Research on Race and Identity where she focused on black women in the academy as well as in high stakes disciplines such as; Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Zamambo Mkhize’s research focus has been on modern polygyny, culture, family, Zulu culture and African Feminism.


Dr. Phoebe Kisubi Mbasalaki is a Post-doctoral Research Fellow on the GlobalGRACE project ( housed at the AGI and the Centre for Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies (CTDPS) – University of Cape Town as well as the NGO – Sex Workers Advocacy and Educational Task Force (SWEAT). She is also a lecturer on the gender studies program at the Africa Gender Institute (AGI) – University of Cape Town.   She holds a doctorate in Gender Studies from Utrecht University in the Netherlands. Her research interests are in critical race, gender, class, sexuality, public health as well as decolonial thought and praxis.  


Course Administrators

Wardah Daniels is the Academic Administrator for the Gender Studies Section of AXL. She works closely with students, tutors and teaching staff to ensure that the academic programme runs smoothly.

She has been with the African Gender Institute since 1999.


Karen flowers is an Administrative Assistant half day post to the Gender Studies Section and half day post to the Africa Gender Institute Research Section.

She’s got 10 years’ experience working within the University. She works in the Gender Studies section as the Academic administrator assistant for the Undergrad courses. Her work for the African Gender Institute is Alumni tracing and Administrative assistance to the YWL project