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Dr Lorato Mokwena is an academic that holds a PhD in Linguistics. She is the founder of Dit is ‘n Noord-Kaap ding (It is a Northern Cape) thing colloquium – an annual gathering that focuses on the Northern Cape – her people, their environment and their socio-cultural practices.

She is a social semiotician whose research focuses on the linguistic landscape of sparsely populated areas. Dr Mokwena is specifically interested in: the relation between (toponymic) inscriptions and orality; the prevalence of multilingualism in toponymic ambiguity and plural toponymies; and the spatial navigation practices in sparsely populated environments.
Dr Mokwena is the producer of the Broken String - a documentary film that offers a sombre reflection of past and current injustices endured by the Bushman in South Africa.

She is a co-editor of The Routledge Handbook of Language and the Global South/s and currently serves as a Linguistics’ lecturer at the University of the Western Cape. As a researcher, her publication profile includes book chapters and journal articles in various international and national peer-reviewed journals.

Lorato periodically shares some of her research findings in local newspapers in a bid to ensure that her research is accessible beyond the academic corridors. As a researcher she strives to contribute towards research that is accessible, socially inclusive and responsive.

Lorato is the author of 'Giving birth to death' – an online series that narrates the experience of giving birth to a stillborn child. It provides readers with a personal account of how a grieving mother grappled with the loss of her son.


  • –present
    Lecturer, University of the Western Cape


  • 2018 
    University of the Western Cape , PhD