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Dr Hlengiwe Ndhlovu
Contact Information
Phone Number(s):
Research Interests
Gender and feminism
Local national and regional politics
Urban and political geographies
Urban and political anthropology
Poverty and inequality studies
Public governance and service delivery
Local governance democracy and elections
Collective action: social movements and protests
Citizenship identity and belonging
Labour studies
Classical/sociological theories
Research methodologies and methods
Comparative politics

Dr Hlengiwe Ndhlovu

Senior Lecturer

PhD, MA, BA Hons, BA (all Wits)
Organisational Unit
Wits School of Governance

Hlengiwe Ndlovu, a senior lecturer, holds a PhD in Sociology from the University of the Witwatersrand, in the Department of Sociology.

She completed her Masters, BA with honors and a Bachelor of Arts at the University of the Witwatersrand, majoring in Sociology, Industrial Sociology and International Relations. Before joining WSG, Ndlovu was a senior lecturer at the University of Free State where she lectured in the Department of Sociology.

Previously, Ndlovu completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Centre for Women and Gender Studies at Nelson Mandela University. She then joined the Centre for Social Change at the University of Johannesburg – initially as a postdoctoral fellow, then as a research associate where she is one of the principal investigators working on a collaborative research project on “democracy from below.”

Before completing her doctoral studies, Ndlovu lectured classical sociological theory and research methods at the University of the Western Cape’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology. She was also a sessional lecturer for Sociology Department at the University of the Witwatersrand lecturing the Researching Social Life module at Wits Plus. She has guest lectured at Eberhard Karl’s University of Tubingen English Department; School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies, University of the Witwatersrand and the WGS.

Her PhD thesis grappled with state/society relations, questions of gender representation in the local state and the everyday reproduction of the urban space as a form of democratic citizenship. Her research and publications are concerned with three areas: gender equality, democracy from below, local governance and social movements, collective actions and change. Among other publications, Hlengiwe has written on the role of women in the #FeesMustFall movement, histories of participation of women in community protests and the precarity of women during the Covid-19 pandemic. She is also the co-editor of Rioting and Writing: Diaries of the Wits #Fallists, (2017) – a edited book documenting the experiences of student activists during the #FeesMustFall protests.


Outside the academic space, Hlengiwe is a Board Member at the Soul City Institute where she also sits on the Auditing, Finance and Risk Committee. As part of her academic citizenship, she facilitates an online module in Gender Relations and Women Emancipation for Members of Parliament at the O.R. Tambo School of Leadership. In 2020, she was named Mail & Guardian’s Top 50 South African Influential Women under the category of ‘The Guiding Women.’ In 2017, she received the Canon Collins Trust Social Impact Award for her project Reading for Tomorrow, which promotes reading African literature among primary and high school children. Hlengiwe is a political analyst commenting on issues of gender, protests, governance and service delivery and local and national politics.