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Senior Researcher and Associate, Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection

Dr Heidi Brooks is the Senior Researcher in the Humanity Faculty at the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection (Mistra) and a Senior Research Associate of the Centre for Social Change at the University of Johannesburg.

Her research interests lie in politics and government in South Africa, South African political history, the study of democracy and democratic theory, and democratic policing. She has published a monograph with Palgrave Macmillan titled, The African National Congress and Participatory Democracy, as well as several peer-reviewed journal articles on the history of democratic thought in the ANC; the 1980s people’s power movement; participatory democracy in post-1994 South Africa; and conceptions of democracy in the South African Police Service.
Heidi has a background in both higher education, as a lecturer of political and international studies, and in project management for the public and private sectors.


  • 2019–present
    Senior research associate, University of Johannesburg
  • 2016–2019
    Postdoctoral research fellow, University of Johannesburg


  • 2015 
    University of the Witwatersrand, PhD
  • 2006 
    University of the Witwatersrand, Master of Arts
  • 2003 
    University of Leeds, United Kingdom, BA Honours


  • 2019
    Decolonising and Re-theorising the Meaning of Democracy: A South African perspective, The Sociological Review
  • 2019
    Democracy and its discontents: Protest from a police perspective, South African Crime Quarterly
  • 2018
    Popular power and vanguardism: The democratic deficit of people’s power, Politikon
  • 2018
    Differential interpretations in the discourse of ‘people’s power’: Unveiling intellectual heritage and normative democratic thought, African Studies
  • 2018
    Merging radical and liberal traditions: The Constitution Committee and the development of democratic thought in the African National Congress, 1986-1990, Journal of Southern African Studies
  • 2017
    The mass movement and public policy: Discourses of participatory democracy in post-1994 South Africa, Journal of Modern African Studies
  • 2004
    The dominant party system: Challenges for South Africa's second decade of democracy, Journal of African Elections

Grants and Contracts

  • 2012
    Study Abroad Scholarship
    Doctoral research
    Funding Source:
    Leverhulme Trust, United Kingdom