Staff Directory

Dr Asta Rau
Research Fellow
Centre for Health Systems Research and Development
112A 305
IB 39
051 401 3750 2181
President Steyn Annex 305

Short CV

Asta Rau accumulated a wealth of project management and marketing experience in the corporate and small business sectors before taking up tertiary studies in 1998 with the University of South Africa (UNISA). Three years later, in 2001, she joined Rhodes University for a 1-year, full-time Honours (Psychology).  In 2002 her Psychology Master’s was upgraded and in 2005 she graduated from Rhodes with a PhD (Education). Post-PhD she obtained a qualification in Monitoring & Evaluation from Stellenbosch University.

She has worked as a consultant with several research organisations, mainly university affiliates. In 2011 she joined the University of the Free State (UFS) as a senior researcher in the Centre for Health Systems Research & Development (CHSR&D).  In January 2015 she became its Director. She retired at the end of 2018 and now continues as a Research Fellow of the CHSR&D

A C2 NRF-rated researcher, her work is primarily in the fields of Sociology of Health and Health Systems with particular foci on HIV-AIDS-TB, and Social & Behavioural Change Communication (SBCC). She has also worked in the fields of Higher Education and Media Leadership.  She has in-depth expertise in research design and methodology, particularly qualitative and mixed-method approaches.    

She has participated in over 30 research projects (in South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe), taking a leading role in several. She has also built a solid international publication profile.  

     • Asta remains actively involved in research, research capacity building, and supervision at PhD level. 

     • She is strongly interested in evaluation and results-based management, and the application of these strategic approaches to pressing social issues. 

     • From its basis in her PhD work, she retains a strong interest in the dynamics of social change and the functioning of relations of power in different contexts.   

     • Asta remains involved in consulting work that offers opportunities for initiative, creative thinking and prospects for professional and personal growth.




•             Books and book chapters

Coetzee, J.K., Rau, A. & Wojciechowska, M. (eds.). 2019. Narrating the Everyday: Windows on Life in Central South Africa. Bloemfontein: SUN MeDIA. ISBN: 978-1-928424-18-5.

Coetzee, J.K. & Rau, A. 2019. On stories and understanding. Chapter 2: Narrating the everyday: windows on life in central South Africa (eds.: Jan K. Coetzee, Asta Rau & Magdalena Wojciechowska). Bloemfontein: SUN MeDIA. ISBN: 978-1-928424-18-5.

Rau, A., Elliker, F. & Coetzee, J.K. 2018. Collecting Data for Analyzing Discourses. Chapter 19: The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Data Collection (ed.: Uwe Flick). London: SAGE. ISBN: 9781473952133. 

Rau, A. 2009.  Media Leadership: Strategies from Southern Africa.  Grahamstown: Rhodes University, Sol Plaatje Institute for Media Leadership. ISBN: 9780868104522. Available:


•             Peer-reviewed journal articles

Rau, A. 2020. Dealing with feeling: Emotion, affect, and the qualitative research encounter. Qualitative Sociology Review 16(1):94-108. DOI: http://dx.doi. org/10.18778/1733-8077.16.1.07. Available:

Wouters, E., Sommerland, N., Masquillier, C., Rau, A., Engelbrecht, M., Janse Van Rensburg, A., Kigozi G., Ponnet, K. & Van Damme, W. 2020. Unpacking the dynamics of double stigma: How the HIV-TB co-epidemic alters TB stigma and its management among healthcare workers. BMC Infectious Diseases 20:106. DOI:

Engelbrecht, M., Rau, A., Nel, P. & Wilke, M. 2019. Emotional well-being and work engagement of nurses who moonlight (dual employment) in private hospitals. International Journal of Nursing Practice e12783. Available:

Engelbrecht, M., Rau, A., Kigozi, G., Janse van Rensburg, A., Wouters, E., Sommerland, N., Masquillier, C. &  Uebel, K. 2019. Waiting to inhale: factors associated with healthcare workers’ fears of occupationally-acquired tuberculosis (TB). BMC Infectious Diseases (2019) 19:475. Available:

Sommerland, N., Wouters, E., Masquillier, C., Rau, A., Engelbrecht, M. & Kigozi, G. 2019. Factors associated with HIV-related stigma toward colleagues in the health care workforce in South Africa. Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care (JANAC) 30(4):451-461. DOI:

Rau, A. 2018. Emotions and belonging: Constructing individual experience and organizational functioning in the context of an Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) program. Qualitative Sociology Review 14(4): 32-47. DOI: Available:

Coetzee, J.K. & Rau, A. 2018. Narratives and everyday Life. Qualitative Sociology Review 14(4): 6-14. DOI: Available:

Heggenstaller, A.K., Rau, A., Coetzee, J.K., Ryen, A. & Smit, R. 2018. Reflecting on female beauty: Cosmetic surgery and (dis)empowerment. Qualitative Sociology Review 14(4): 48-65. DOI:  Available:

Chikonzo, N., Rau, A., Coetzee, J.K., Ryen, A., Elliker, F. & Young-Hauser, A. 2018. A shock to the system: HIV among older African women in Zimbabwe. Qualitative Sociology Review 14(4): 138-152. DOI: Available:

Heggenstaller, A.K., Rau, A., Coetzee, J.K., Smit, R. & Ryen, A. 2018. Beauty and the cosmetic secret. Qualitative Sociology Review 14(4): 66-84. DOI: Available:

Rau, A., Wouters, E., Engelbrecht, M., Masquillier, C., Uebel, K., Kigozi, G., Sommerland, N. & Janse van Rensburg, A. 2018. Towards a health-enabling working environment - developing and testing interventions to decrease HIV and TB Stigma among healthcare workers in the Free State, South Africa: study protocol for a randomised controlled trial. Trials, 19: 351. DOI:

Masquillier, C., Wouters, E., Sommerland, N., Rau, A., Engelbrecht, M., Kigozi, G. &Van Rensburg, A.J. 2018 Fighting stigma, promoting care: a study on the use of occupationally-based HIV services in the Free State Province of South Africa. AIDS Care: Psychological and Socio-medical Aspects of AIDS/HIV, 30(Supplement 2): 16-23. DOI:

Wouters, E., Masquillier, C., Sommerland, N., Engelbrecht, M., Van Rensburg, A.J., Kigozi, G. & Rau, A. 2017. Measuring HIV- and TB-related stigma among health care workers in South Africa: a validation and reliability study. International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, 21(Supplement 1,S19-S25(7). DOI:

Sommerland, N., Wouters, E., Masquillier, C., Engelbrecht, M., Kigozi, G., Uebel, K., Janse van Rensburg, A. & Rau, A. 2017. Stigma as a barrier to the use of occupational health units for tuberculosis services in South Africa. International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, 21 Supplement 1:S75-S80(6). DOI:

Coetzee, J.K. & Rau, A. 2017. The Narrative Study of Lives: Editorial notes. Qualitative Sociology Review (QSR), 13(1): 6-9. Available:

Coetzee, J.K. & Rau, A. 2017. Between enslavement and liberation. Narratives of belonging from two farm workers in rural South Africa. Qualitative Sociology Review (QSR), 13(1): 10-31. Available:

Majali, Z., Coetzee, J. K. & Rau, A. 2017. Everyday hair discourses of African black women. Qualitative Sociology Review (QSR), 13(1): 158-172. Available:

Moletsane, M., Coetzee, J. K. & Rau, A. 2017. Life as a stranger: Experiences of labour migrants from Lesotho. Qualitative Sociology Review (QSR), 13(1): 74-91. Available:

Van Rensburg, A. J., Rau, A., Fourie, P. & Bracke, P. 2016. Power and integrated health care: Shifting from governance to governmentality. International Journal of Integrated Care, 16(3): 17. Available:

Wouters, E., Rau, A., Engelbrecht, M.C., Uebel, K., Siegel, J., Masquillier, C., Kigozi, G. & Yassi, A. 2016. The development and piloting of parallel scales measuring external and internal HIV and tuberculosis stigma among healthcare workers in the Free State Province, South Africa. Clinical Infectious Diseases (CID), May 15; 62 Supplement 3:S244-54. DOI: 10.1093/cid/civ1185. Available:

Engelbrecht, M.C., van Rensburg A.J., Rau, A., Yassi, A., Spiegel, J.M., O`Hara, L.M., Bryce, E.A. & Nophale, L.E. 2015.Tuberculosis and blood-borne infectious diseases: Workplace conditions and practices of healthcare workers at three public hospitals in the Free State.  Southern African Journal of Epidemiology and Infection, 30(1): 23-28. Available:

Siegel, J., Yassi, A., Rau, A., Buxton, J.A., Wouters, E., Engelbrecht, M.C., Uebel, K. & Nophale, L.E. 2015. Workplace Interventions to Reduce HIV and TB Stigma Among Healthcare Workers – Where do we go from here? Global Public Health: An International Journal for Research, Policy and Practice, 10(8): 995-1007. DOI: 10.1080/17441692.2015.1021365.  Available:

Rau, A., Radloff, S., Coetzee, J. K., Nardi, C., Smit, R. and Matebesi, S. Z. 2014. Students perceiving risk: A quantitative assessment on three South African university campuses. African Sociological Review/Revue Africaine De Sociologie, 18(1): 65-90. Available:

Stern, E., Rau, A., Cooper, D.  2014. Sexual and reproductive health perceptions and practices as revealed in the sexual history narratives of South African men living in a time of HIV/AIDS.  SAHARA J (Journal of Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS Research Alliance), 11(1): 233-244. Available

Nkoko, L., Spiegel, J., Rau, A., Parent, S. & Yassi, A.  2014. Reducing the risks to healthcare workers from blood and body fluid exposure in a small rural hospital in Thabo Mofutsanyana, South Africa.  Workplace Health & Safety, September 2014, 62(9): 382-388. DOI: 10.3928/21650799-20140815-03. Available:

Coetzee, J.K., Elliker, F. & Rau, A. 2013. Training for advanced research in the narrative study of lives. Forum: Qualitative Social Research (FQS),14(2), May 2013.[Online] Available:

Rau, A., Coetzee, J.K. & Vice, A. 2010.  Narrating student life in a time of risk. Qualitative Sociology Review, VI (3): 81-98. [Online] Available:

Coetzee, J.K. & Rau, A. 2009. Narrating Trauma and suffering: Towards understanding intersubjectively constituted memory.  Forum: Qualitative Social Research (FQS), 10(2), Art.14  [Online] Available:

Rau, A. 2008. Anarchic educational leadership:  An alternative approach to postgraduate supervision. Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology (IPJP), Special Edition: Phenomenology and Education, February 2008. [Online] Available:

Rau, A., Milne, C, du Toit, P. & Mdlongwa, F. 2008. Positioning independent community media: Findings from a case study of six small South African newspapers. Communicatio, South African Journal for Communication Theory and Research, 34 (1): 95-112. Available:


•             Policy and strategy documents

North West Provincial Council on AIDS (NW PCA) [Contributing Author]. 2011. HIV and AIDS, STI and TB Strategic Plan 2012-2016: North West Province.  NWPCA: Mmbatho. [Available on request]

Rau, A. 2011. Implementation of the 2007-2011 HIV & AIDS and STI Strategic Plan: End term review. North West Province. Pretoria and Mmbatho: SANAC & NW Provincial Council on AIDS. [Report available on request]


•             Research reports and manuals

Janse van Rensburg, A. & Rau, A. 2017. Qualitative assessment of the Integrated School Health Programme in rural South Africa using Normalisation Process Theory. Bloemfontein: University of the Free State, Centre for Health Systems Research & Development (CHSR&D). [Report available on request]

Rau, A., Moolman, A., Kigozi, G., Janse van Rensburg, A., Engelbrecht, M., Uebel, K., Masquillier, C., Sommerland, N. & Wouters, E. 2016. Stigma reduction workshops for health care workers in Free State public hospitals: Manual for facilitators.  Bloemfontein: Centre for Health Systems Research Development (University of the Free State), CELLO (University of Antwerp) & FSDoH (Free State Department of Health). ALL Intervention resources are available at

Rau, A., Kigozi, G., Janse van Rensburg, A., Jacobs, N., Mathumbu, K. & Heunis J.C. 2014. Mosamaria AIDS Ministry: Evaluation of the Orphans and Vulnerable Children’s (OVC) programme in Bloemfontein and Botshabelo (2012-2013).  Bloemfontein: University of the Free State, Centre for Health Systems Research & Development (CHSR&D). [Report available on request]

Kelly, K., Rau, A. & Stern, E. 2010. Community entry points: Opportunities and strategies for engaging community supported HIV/AIDS prevention responses. Global Fund, Geneva. Available:

HEAIDS. 2010. HIV Prevalence and related factors – higher education sector study, South Africa, 2008-2009. Pretoria: Higher Education South Africa. [Contributing author via CADRE]

Rau, A. 2009.  The curricular response to HIV/AIDS at Rhodes University.  Grahamstown: Rhodes University & HEAIDS (Higher Education HIV/AIDS programme). Available:

Frizelle, K., Solomon, V. & Rau, A. 2009. Strengthening PMTCT through communication: A review of the literature. Johannesburg: CADRE (Centre for AIDS Development, Research and Evaluation). Available:

Parker, W., Rau, A. & Peppa, P. 2007.  HIV/AIDS communication in selected African countries: Interventions, responses and possibilities.  Johannesburg: CADRE (Centre for AIDS Development Research and Evaluation) & Sida (Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency).Available:

Milne, C., Du Toit, P., Rau, A., & Mdlongwa, F. 2007.  Media management training needs assessment within the SADC region.  Grahamstown: Sol Plaatje Institute for Media Leadership & NiZa (Netherlands Institute for Southern Africa). Available:

Rhodes University, Academic remuneration reference group. 2007. Research report: Rhodes University Academic Remuneration Survey 2007. Grahamstown: Rhodes University. [Report authored by A. Rau].

Milne, C., Rau, A., Du Toit, P. & Mdlongwa, F. 2006. Key Editorial and Business Strategies: A case study of six independent community newspapers. Grahamstown: Sol Plaatje Institute for Media Leadership & NiZa (Netherlands Institute for Southern Africa). Available:

Rau, A. 2006. Evaluating the JACTT [Joint Anti-Corruption Task Team] in the Eastern Cape: An analysis of print-media from 2002 – 2004. Grahamstown: Public Services Accountability Monitor (PSAM).

Rau, A. 2006. District health management and leadership programme. Strategic plan for programme evaluation, assessment and the transfer of learning. Eastern CAPE: Joint programme of the University of Fort Hare, Walter Sisulu University, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University & the Eastern Cape DOH.

Kelly, K., Parker, W., Colvin, M., Rau, A., Ntlabati P. & Tobi, A.  2005. A multi-sectoral response to HIV and AIDS in the Eastern Cape. Grahamstown: Eastern Cape AIDS Council.


Publications (Short List)


Sociology of Health, and health-focused Social & Behavioural Change Communication (SBCC).

Health Systems research: strategic and policy responses to HIV/AIDS and TB; Occupational Health (most recent flagship project is an RCT on HIV- and TB-stigma among healthcare workers).

Monitoring and evaluation - For civil society organisations; health organisations/institutions; donor institutions - predominantly for HIV/AIDS and TB-related programmes. Associated with this field: Results-based management.

Qualitative research methodologies; several approaches to design and analysis, including Phenomenology, Critical, Constructionist / Constructivist; and Critical Realist. Several analytical approaches including thematic analysis, critical discourse analysis, narrative analysis, and grounded theory. Also several mixed-methods approaches.

Area(s) of Interest

Courses Presented

  • Current postgraduate research supervision

PhD in Development Studies (UFS)

PhD in Sociology (UFS)


Community Service

Service Learning


T: +27 51 401 2240 or

Marizanne Cloete: +27 51 401 2592

Katlego Mabulana: +27 51 401 2495
Juanita Hlongwane: +27 51 401 3269

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