Julian Jonker

Julian Jonker is a modern-day Renaissance thinker. From law and philosophy to Afrobeat music, his quest for knowledge is boundless. His goal, he says, “is to understand a particular facet of human life — the public sphere — rather than a particular academic field.” Jonker studied law at the University of Cape Town before completing his MPhil on the slave burial grounds unearthed at Prestwich Place. Later, as part of an effort to understand his background as a Capetonian, he joined the District Six Museum as a researcher. In 2007 Jonker turned his energies to the UCT law school where he established a programme to bolster the academic skills of talented students from sub-standard schools. Now at the University of California, Berkeley, Jonker is completing a PhD that hopes to answer the question: “What do we value in a democracy?” He’ll return to Cape Town to continue refining his speciality: “Reading, writing about, and thinking about ideas”.

— Ian Macleod