Tendayi Sithole

Associate professor of African politics, University of South Africa (Unisa)

The title “associate professor of African politics” conjures up the image of a middle-aged someone who has been involved in academics for decades. But Tendayi Sithole, who holds this title at the department of politics at Unisa, is just 32 years old.

“I was promoted to associate professor in 2016 as a result of good mentorship under Professor Sabelo Ndlovu-Gatsheni and Professor Mabogo More,” says Sithole. But he also admits that that being promoted to such a rank came through dedication, discipline, devotion and determination.

Sithole completed his degrees in a very short space of time. He holds a master’s degree in politics, which he acquired cum laude in 2012, and a doctorate in African politics (2014). He completed a BA majoring in communication and politics in 2008. He found political science intriguing and was attracted to political theory and philosophy, and this interest took him away from media studies.

“I am now more interested than ever before as there are knowledge systems from Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean worlds that call for decolonisation of political science and other fields in the humanities and social sciences,” he says.

Sithole’s research interests are black radical thought, Africana existential phenomenology, decoloniality, critical race theory and literary studies. His forthcoming book Steve Biko: Decolonial Meditations of Black Consciousness will be published by Lexington Books. He has also completed a manuscript Meditation in Black: Essays from the Limits of Being, and his current research is for a book project on the philosophical thought of Sylvia Wynter.

Sithole has contributed numerous chapters to edited books and has published journal articles both locally and internationally. He is also a founding member of Africa Decolonial Research Network, and is currently Unisa’s disciplinary chair for African politics and a chair in the departmental ethics review committee.

Still, he wants to study further. “I want to be an advanced student, because a professor should help other students to grow. I want to advance scholarship in decoloniality with the collective of scholars who are doing so from various walks of life.” — Fatima Asmal