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Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Cape Town

Xolela Mangcu is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Cape Town. He is the author and co-author of seven books, including the recently published, Biko: A Biography (Tafelberg, 2012), To the Brink: The State of Democracy in South Africa (UKZN Press 2008), The Meaning of Mandela (essays by Wole Soyinka, Cornel West, Henry Louis Gates Jr.), (HSRC Press, 2005). A collection of his columns over the past twenty years – Arrogance of Power: Twenty Years of Disenchantment is being published by Tafelberg Press (2014), and he is in the process of completing his book, Harold Washington’s Chicago.

Mangcu was for a long time a regular columnist for the Business Day, the Weekender and the Sunday Independent, and currently writes a bi-weekly column for the Sowetan. He was also the Founder of the Platform for Public Deliberation and Founding Executive Director of the Steve Biko Foundation.

He has held fellowships at the Brookings Institution, Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the Rockefeller Foundation

Mangcu obtained his Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from Cornell University. He also holds MSc in (Development Planning) and BA (Sociology) degrees from Wits University.

The Sunday Times has described him as “possibly the most prolific public intellectual in South Africa.”


  • –present
    Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Cape Town