I am currently an Honorary Research Associate in the School of Law, UKZN, and a
member of the recently launched Navi Pillay Research Group which has a focus on
justice and human rights. I am a qualified social worker and have an M Soc Sci (cum laude) in anthropology
awarded for my research on African marriage and divorce. Work experience as a social
worker includes marriage counseling (FAMSA in Durban) and the position of Principal
(part-time) of a children’s home in Durban.
After lecturing in anthropology at the University of Natal in Durban for twenty years I
retired, as a senior lecturer and Programme Director Anthropology, at the end of 2002,
having taught a variety of courses, including on research methodology, to undergraduate
and postgraduate students. I contributed to a number of interdisciplinary courses at the
university, including Women’s Studies. My lecturing duties also included undergraduate
and post-graduate courses at the then University of Natal Medical School, and I served
for fourteen years on the Biomedical Research Ethics Committee of the University of
KwaZulu-Natal. I was also a member and, at one stage chairperson, of the Bioethics
Reference Group at the University between 1994 and 2004, when it ceased to function.
I have been engaged in research in this region since 1979. The focus of this research has
included marriage and divorce, informal sector activities relating to the sale of liquor,
traditional leaders, the role of customs and culture in contemporary society and the
meaning of ethnic identity, and policing. I also served on the Research Committee on
Farm Violence appointed by the national Minister of Safety and Security in the early
2000s, and wrote a large section of the report (which was on the SAPS web site, and may
still be). From 2005-2008 I was a member of the Council of PSIRA, the body which
regulates the private security industry.
I have also been involved in research into, and documentation of, political violence in
KwaZulu-Natal since the mid-1980s and have, since 1989, produced regular summaries
of this violence which are known (since 1991) as the Natal (now KZN) Monitor (now
available on the Internet – www.violencemonitor.com ). For the past few years these
violence monitoring activities have included a great deal of interventionist human rights
work directed at improving the working of the criminal justice system, particularly
insofar as policing is concerned.
I am consulted, on a regular basis, by media (press, radio, and television), both South
African and overseas. I have given numerous conference papers at national and
international conferences, and have published articles (academic and popular media), not
only on violence and human rights, but also on subjects such as marriage, family and
bridewealth, informal sector activities, religion, culture, ethnicity, and politics.
Since retiring from teaching I have continued, and expanded, my research and
interventionist work on violence and human rights abuses, including through an increased
focus on land-related issues and medical rights in KZN and I am a founding member of
the Medical Rights Advocacy Network based in Durban which has researched
and reported on, among other things, forensic mortuary services and the recent oncology
crisis in Durban, and also does interventionist work on behalf of patients and medical