Change the world


Cultural activist, Dr Nokuzola Mndende has joined Nelson Mandela University's Department of Sociology and Anthropology as an Adjunct Professor. 

With an extensive career in the areas of African Culture, Feminist/Womanist theology, African Spirituality, and Indigenous Knowledge Systems, she complements the department’s academic project and its intended objectives to lead in Africa-Centred Knowledge Systems.

Her appointment will assist the Department in creating African Sociology and Anthropology undergraduate modules; creating better links with communities in the region; helping in teaching across the Faculty and advising on postgraduate supervision.  

Dr Mndende received her PhD in 2002 from the University of Cape Town, specialising in African Traditional Religion.  She is a qualified diviner/Spirit medium (iGqirha).  Dr Mndende thus straddles between two systems of thought as uGqirha (Dr) and iGqirha (qualified diviner) and uses the combination of these two systems to educate and consult for the national government, media houses, and legal fraternity on issues regarding indigenous institutions of health, gender, and religious systems.  

Currently she produces Ibuzwa Kwabaphambili (Ask the Elderly), a radio programme on Umhlobo Wenene FM, that won the Liberty National Radio Award in 2017.

She is a first representative of African Religion of the Religious Broadcasting Panel of the SABC and presenter of African indigenous theology at Umhlobo Wenene FM. Dr Mndende was also a member of Parliament in the South African National Assembly between 1999 and 2003, and a member of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Religion in Education.

She is a part-time Commissioner to the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities and member of the advisory team that drafted the National Curriculum Statement (syllabus) on Religious Studies. She is an author and co-author of more than 15 journal articles, book chapters and children’s storybooks.

Dr Mndende is an institution of knowledge in her own right, a living archive that will benefit the University and the Faculty of Humanities at large.  The Department of Sociology and Anthropology looks forward to this new collaboration, says Dr Babalwa Magoqwana, department head of Sociology and Anthropology. 

“The experience and scholarship that Dr Mndende brings will undoubtedly contribute to the intellectualisation of African knowledge systems, including African languages, while “revitalising the humanities” at Mandela University.  

Contact information
Dr Babalwa Magoqwana
Interim Director for Centre for Women and Gender Studies