Annual Report (2021)

Research in the Department of Sociology

Our department has a vibrant research culture, with academic staff, postgraduate students and research fellows working on exciting projects. Our department's research spans a wide range of topics including African knowledge systems, race and class, migration, collective behaviour and masculinity. We are committed to conducting research that not only advances knowledge in the field of Sociology, but also contributes to social justice and well-being in society. Please peruse our Research and Annual Reports to learn more about our researchers and their publications.

Rated researchers

Prof Sethulego Matebesi
C2 rated researcher

Prof Katinka de Wet
 C2 rated researcher

Dr Divane Nzima 
Y2 rated researcher

Award winning researchers

Dr Mosa Phadi
Winner of the 2022 Humanities Excellence
Award: Early Career Research

Dr Pedro Mzileni
Second position in the HSRC & USAf 2022/2023
Social Sciences and Humanities Award

Meet PhD candidate Siphelele Mahlaba

Siphelele Nadia Mahlaba is a PhD candidate at the University of the Free State, Department of Sociology. She is also an Academic Facilitator under the Office of the Dean, Faculty of Humanities at the University of the Free State, where she teaches Social Science Research at the Undergraduate level.

Her study delves into the experiences and viewpoints of married women under customary marriage in the Kingdom of Eswatini. It aims to understand their perceptions of the practice, the dynamics of gender violence and agency within customary marriages. The motivation behind this study stems from recognising the importance of understanding the experiences and perspectives of women married under customary marriage in the Kingdom of Eswatini. By investigating the experiences of women subjected to gender violence within customary marriages, the study aims to contribute to efforts aimed at promoting gender equality, women's rights, and the elimination of violence against women as outlined in the Sustainable Development Goals.

In March 2023, Siphelele was appointed as a BRICS Research Project Development Fellow for the 2023/2024 term. The fellowship provides a platform for scholars, researchers and professionals from BRICS nations to engage in research activities that explore opportunities for cooperation, address common challenges and contribute to the sustainable development & advancement of the BRICS nations through conferences, workshops and seminars.  In June 2023, she was selected to participate in the YALI RLC SA Online Programme Cohort under Civic Leadership. This programme is designed to empower young African Leaders and equip them with skills, networks and necessary resources to create positive change in their communities and across the continent. It also encourages young leaders to actively engage in their communities and contribute to sustainable development. 

She is committed to the progression of knowledge and effecting constructive change in the domains of gender and development, social policy and migration studies. Due to her exceptional proficiency in research and her adeptness in collaborating with diverse groups, she is well-positioned to make noteworthy contributions in her field and positively impact the future of society. 


T: +27 51 401 2240 or

Marizanne Cloete: +27 51 401 2592

Neliswa Emeni-Tientcheu: +27 51 401 2536
Juanita Hlongwane: +27 51 401 3269

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