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Maria Marchetti-Mercer

Professor of Psychology and Assistant Dean of Research: Faculty of Humanities, University of the Witwatersrand

Prof Maria Marchetti-Mercer is a professor of psychology at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) and currently serving as assistant dean of research for the Faculty of Humanities. She served as the head of the School of Human and Community Development at Wits from 2012 to 2016. Prior to that, she was the head of the Psychology Department at the University of Pretoria from 2001 to 2011.
She has been involved in the training of professional psychologists especially with regard to family therapy for nearly 30 years and her doctoral thesis was on the Milan School of family therapy. She has also received advanced post-graduate family therapy training in Italy.
Her current area of research focuses on the impact of migration on South African families and most recently the use of ICTs in African migrant families. Her new co-edited book, “Transnational Families in Africa: Migrants and the Role of Information Communication Technologies” has just been published. She also co-authored a book, “The Italian Diaspora in South Africa: Nostalgia, Identity, and Belonging in the Second and Third Generations" (Routledge) with A. Virga in 2023. She is a C1 NRF-rated researcher and has published widely both nationally and internationally in the field of migration and families, the training of professional psychologists, and family murder.
In 2008 she received an award from the Institute for School-Based Family Counseling and the University of San Francisco Center for Child and Family Development for outstanding international contributions to school-based family counselling presented at Brasenose College, Oxford University. She was awarded the Order of the Star of Italy in 2022 for her professional contributions from the president of Italy.


  • –present
    Professor of Psychology and Assistant Dean of Research: Faculty of Humanities , University of the Witwatersrand


  • 1993 
    University of Johannesburf (formerly R.A.U.), D Litt et Phil


Order of the Star of Italy