Prof Theodor Neethling
Political Studies and Governance
9A 115
Political Studies and Governance
IB 38
Flippie Groenewoud Building: Block A 115

Short CV


See full Curriculum Vitae above.

Publications (Short List)

See full Curriculum Vitae above.


Theo Neethling obtained his MA degree in 1989 in South Africa from the Potchefstroom University (currently North-West University) and his DLitt et Phil in 1992 from the University of South Africa, both in the discipline of International Politics. He has held the position of Professor in the Department of Political Studies and Governance at the University of the Free State since 1 April 2009. He also served as Head of Department from April 2009 to June 2020. He was elected by Senate to serve as a member of the Executive Committee of Senate from 2017 to 2020, and elected in 2021 to serve on the university’s Institutional Forum. He previously served in the Faculty of Military Science (Military Academy) of Stellenbosch University, where he started his academic career as a researcher in the Faculty’s Centre for Military Studies. In 2002 he was appointed as Associate Professor of Political Science in the Department of Political Science (Mil.) and promoted to Professor of Political Science in 2005. In this regard, he also served as Subject Chair of the Department of Political Science (Mil.) in the Faculty of Military Science from 2003 to early-2009, until he moved to the University of the Free State. Prof. Neethling is the author (and co-author in a few instances) of more than 150 publicised outputs in scientific and popular scientific publications, including more than 60 articles in accredited (listed) academic journals and 23 chapters in scholarly book publications. These publications appeared in South Africa, Australia, Canada, Germany, India, Kenya, Ethiopia, Pakistan, the Russian Federation, Poland, Slovenia, the Czech Republic the United States of America, the United Kingdom and Zimbabwe. Furthermore, he has presented more than 80 research papers at national and international level. In this regard, his projects have taken him to governmental and academic institutions in all five of Africa’s political regions, Asia, Australasia, Europe and North America. He also lectured in a visiting capacity at foreign institutions, most recently in Japan at the Osaka University’s School for International Public Policy. In recent years, he served on the editorial board of four academic journals and is rated as an ‘established researcher’ by the South African National Research Foundation (since 2009). His research interests mainly concern Africa’s international relations; South Africa’s foreign relations; security and politics in the African context; and African futures. 

Area(s) of Interest

  • Security studies in the African context
  • Africa’s international relations
  • China and Africa
  • South Africa`s foreign policy and BRICS
  • The military instrument in South Africa`s foreign policy

Courses Presented

  • POLS3734: Political Risk Analysis and Strategic Planning
  • POLS3744: International Political Economy
  • PTW609: Foreign Policy and Diplomacy

Community Service

Service Learning


T: +27 51 401 2240 or

Marizanne Cloete: +27 51 401 2592

Neliswa Emeni-Tientcheu: +27 51 401 2536
Phyllis Masilo: +27 51 401 9683

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