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Graduate students and post doctoral research fellows

Boladé Hamed Banougnin

Postdoctoral Research Fellow: UKRI GCRF Accelerating Achievement for Africa’s Adolescents (Accelerate) Hub

Boladé is a Demographer and UKRI GCRF Accelerate Hub Postdoctoral research fellow at the Centre for Social Science Research, University of Cape Town. He is a demographer with work experience of about seven years in design and data collection, data processing, analysis, interpretation, and dissemination. He graduated with a Ph.D. in Reproductive Health Science in 2019 at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. He is working on many research projects related sexual and reproductive health outcomes and SDG mapping among adolescents living with HIV using the Mzantsi Wakho et the HEY BABI data. 


Contact details:

Email: bolade.banougnin@acceleratehub.org

Office: Room 4.29 Centre for Social Science Research, Leslie Social Science Building

Bolade’s CV is available here

Silinganisiwe Dzumbunu

Doctoral Student: - UKRI GCRF Accelerating Achievement for Africa's Adolescents Hub (Accelerate) Hub

Silinganisiwe Dzumbunu

Silinganisiwe is a doctoral student with the University of Cape Town’s Centre for Actuarial Research and one of the Accelerate Hub’s Early Career Researchers. Her research focuses on empowerment of adolescents and reproductive experiences over the life-course.  She holds a MPhil degree in Demography from the University of Cape Town and a BSc (Honours) degree in Operations Research and Statistics from the National University of Science and Technology, Zimbabwe. Her research interests include adolescents sexual and fertility behaviour and gender equality.




Contact details:

Email: dzmsil001@myuct.ac.za   

Office: Room 6.51 Centre for Actuarial Research, Leslie Social Science  Building

Silinganisiwe’s CV is available here.

Lesley Gittings

Postdoctoral Researcher:UKRI GCRF Accelerating Achievement for Africa’s Adolescents (Accelerate) Hub

Lesley GittingsLesley is a postdoctoral researcher with the Accelerate Hub, where she leads the Teen Advisory Groups project.  She is interested in how participatory methods can support the meaningful involvement of adolescents and young people in research, policy and programming. She is also a qualitative co-Investigator with  the HEY BABY study of adolescent parents. Lesley holds a PhD from the University of Cape Town’s School of Public Health and Family Medicine, where her research explored and documented the health practices of adolescent boys and young men living with HIV. She holds a Master’s degree in Public Policy and Administration from the University of Cape Town and a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) from the University of Ottawa in Canada.




Contact details:


Latest publications

Gittings, L., Toska, E., Medley, M., Cluver, L., Logie, C., Ralayo, N., Chen, J., Mbithi, J. (In press). ‘Now my life is stuck!’: Experiences of adolescents and young people during COVID-19 lockdown in South Africa. Global Public Health.

Gittings, L., Mbula, S., Kom, P., Hodes, R., Colvin, C. (In press). ‘If you are found taking medicine, you will be called names and considered less of a man.’: Young men’s engagement with HIV treatment and care during ulwaluko (traditional initiation/circumcision) in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. SAHARA-J: Journal of Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS.

Logie, C., Okumu, M., Musoke, D., Hakiza, R., Mwima, S., Kyambadde, P., Abela, H., Gittings, L., Mbuagbaw, L., Baral, S. (In press). ‘Intersecting stigma and HIV testing practices among urban refugee and displaced adolescents and youth in Kampala, Uganda: qualitative findings’. Journal of the International AIDS Society. 

Gittings, L., and Grimwood, A. (2020). ‘We need other men to stand up and start the journey’ engaging men as HIV community health workers - a gender transformative approach? Journal of Culture, Health and Sexuality. DOI: 10.1080/13691058.2019.1700306.

Cluver, L., Doubt, J., the Teen Advisory Groups South Africa, Wessels, I., Asnong, C., Malunga, S., Mauchline, K., Vale, B., Medley, S., Toska, E., Orkin, K., Dunkley, Y., Meinck, F., Myeketsi, N., Lasa, S., Rupert, C., Boyes, M., Pantelic, M., Sherr, L., Gittings, L., Hodes, R., Kuo, C., Chetty, A., Thabeng, M. (2020) Power to participants: methodological and ethical reflections from a decade of adolescent advisory groups in South Africa, AIDS Care, DOI: 10.1080/09540121.2020.1845289

Hodes, R., and Gittings, L. (2019). ‘Kasi curriculum’ What young men teach and learn about sex in a South African Township. Journal of Sex Education. 19(4): 436-454. DOI: 10.1080/14681811.2019.1606792.

Gittings, L. (2017). ‘He can’t say a man’s stuff to a woman…’:  perspectives on the preferences of men living with HIV for gender concordant care workers in Cape Town, South Africa. Journal of Men and Masculinities. DOI: 10.1177/1097184X17732607.

Gittings, L. (2016). ‘When you visit a man you should prepare yourself’: male community care worker approaches to working with men living with HIV in Cape Town, South Africa. Journal of Culture, Health and Sexuality. 18(8):936-950. DOI: 10.1080/13691058.2016.1150513.

Toska, E., Gittings, L., Hodes, R., Cluver, L., Govender, K., Chademana KE, Guiterrez, V. (2016). Resourcing resilience: social protection for HIV prevention amongst children and adolescents in Eastern and Southern Africa. African Journal of AIDS Research. 15:2, 123-140. DOI: 10.2989/16085906.2016.1194299.

Hodes, R., Toska, E., Gittings, L. (2016). Babies for Bling - are teenage girls having babies to access grants?. HIV Nursing Matters. 7(9): 22-25. 

Refereed book chapters

Gittings, L., Hodes, R., Colvin, C. and Zungu, M. (2020). Things less spoken: HIV research with adolescent boys and young men – implications for theory, policy and practice. In Govender, K and Poku, N.K. (Eds.), Adolescence and HIV Prevention in Africa: Emerging Evidence and Intervention Strategies. Abingdon: Routledge. 

Zungu, N., Toska, E., Gittings, L.,  and Hodes, R. (2020).  Positive Prevention among Adolescents Living with HIV and AIDS in Eastern and Southern Africa: Is Social Protection a Missing Piece of the Puzzle? In Govender, K and Poku, N.K. (Eds.), Adolescence and HIV Prevention in Africa: Emerging Evidence and Intervention Strategies. Abingdon: Routledge.


Hlengiwe Sacolo Gwebu

Postdoctoral Research Fellow: UKRI GCRF Accelerating Achievement for Africa’s Adolescents (Accelerate) Hub

Hlengiwe Sacolo Gwebu

Hlengiwe is a research member of the “Parenting for Lifelong Health Scale-Up of Parenting Evaluation Research” (PLH-SUPER) study, a research collaboration between the WHO, UNICEF, and the Universities of Bangor, Cape Town, Oxford, and Stellenbosch. The project’s focus is on reducing violence against children and improving child wellbeing. She holds a Master of Science degree in Public Health from Taipei Medical University where her research utilized structural equation modeling to study high risk sexual behaviors for HIV among in-school youth. Hlengiwe completed her PhD in Public Health at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in 2019. Her work focused on the prevention and control of schistosomiasis among children in South Africa. 



Contact details:

Email: hnsacolo@gmail.com;  hlengiwe.gwebu@uct.ac.za

Hlengiwe CV is available here

Latest publications

Sacolo-Gwebu, H., Chimbari, M. & Kalinda C. 2019. Prevalence and risk factors of schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminthiases among preschool aged children (1–5 years) in rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa: A cross-sectional study. Infectious Diseases of Poverty. 8(1), 47. DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1186/s40249-019-0561-5

Sacolo-Gwebu, H., Chimbari, M. & Kalinda, C. 2019.  Knowledge, attitudes and practices on schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminths among caregivers in Ingwavuma area in uMkhanyakude district, South Africa. BMC Infectious Diseases. 19, 734. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12879-019-4253-3

Kufre Okop 

Postdoctoral Research Fellow: UKRI GCRF Accelerating Achievement for Africa’s Adolescents (Accelerate Hub)


Kufre is a public health researcher and monitoring and evaluation specialist with over 16 years-work experience in collaborative research, project planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation.Kufre completed his Ph.D. at the University of Western Cape.



Contact details:

Email : kufre.okop@uct.ac.za

Office: Room 4.28 Centre for Social Science Research, Leslie Social Science Building,

University of Cape Town

Kufre’s CV is available here

Latest publications

Odunitan-Wayas, F. A., Hamann, N., Okop, K.J., Sinyanya, N. A., et al. 2020. A citizen science approach to determine perceived barriers and promoters of physical activity in a low-income South African community. Global Public Health. 0,1–14. DOI:10.1080/17441692.2020.1712449.

Okop, K. J., Ndayi, K., Tsolekile, L., Sanders, D., Puoane, T. 2019.  Low intake of commonly available fruits and vegetables in socio-economically disadvantaged communities of South Africa: Influence of affordability and sugary drinks intake. BMC Public Health. 19(1), 940.

Okop, K. J., Puoane, T., Levitt, N., S. 2019. Weight underestimation and body size dissatisfaction among black African adults with obesity: Implications for health promotion. African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine. 11(1), a2022.



Wylene Saal

Postdoctoral Research Fellow: UKRI GCRF Accelerating Achievement for Africa’s Adolescents (Accelerate) Hub

Wylene Saal

Wylene is a quantitative investigator on the HEY BABY study, a large-scale study of the lives of adolescent mothers and their children. She holds a PhD in Research Psychology from the University of Stellenbosch, focusing on common mental disorders (i.e. major depression, generalized anxiety disorder, and alcohol use disorder) among people seeking HIV testing in the Western Cape. Her research interests include adolescent mental health, HIV, research methodology and health psychology. She is currently investigating patterns of disclosure, stigma and sexual health practices among adolescent girls and young women living with HIV in the Mzantsi Wakho and HEY BABY studies.



Contact details:

Email: wylene.saal@uct.ac.za

Office: Room 4.28, Centre for Social Science Research, Leslie Social Science  Building

Wylene’s CV is available here

Latest publications

Bantjes, J., Saal, W., Lochner, C., Roos, J., Auerbach, R.P., Mortier, P., Bruffaerts, R., Kessler, R.C. & Stein, D. J.  2020.  Inequality and mental healthcare utilisation among first-year university students in South Africa. International Journal of Mental Health Systems. 14(5). DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s13033-020-0339-y

Saal, W.L., Kagee, S.A. & Bantjes, J. 2020. Gender differences in the utility of the alcohol use disorder identification test in screening for alcohol use disorder among HIV test seekers in South Africa. AIDS and Behavior. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10461-019-02772-6

Bantjes, J., Breet, E., Saal, W., Lochner, C., Roos, J., Mortier, P., Auerbach, R.P., Bruffaerts, R., Kessler, R.C. & Stein, D.J. 2019. Epidemiology of non-fatal suicidal behavior among first-year university students in South Africa. Death Studies. DOI:10.1080/07481187.2019.1701143

Banjes, J., Lochner, C., Saal, W.L., Roos, J., Taljaard, L. Page, D., Auerbach, R.P., Mortier, P., Bruffaerts, R., Kessler, R.C. & Stein, D.J. 2019. Prevalence and sociodemographic correlates of common mental disorders among first-year university students in post-apartheid South Africa. South African Medical Journal. 19(1), DOI: 10.1186/s12889-019-7218-y

Banjes, J., Kagee, S.A. & Saal, W.L. 2019. The utility of the Hopkins Symptom Checklist as a screening instrument for common mental disorders among persons seeking HIV testing. AIDS and Behaviour. 24(2), 629-636.  DOI: 10.1007/s10461-019-02524-6

Saal, W.L., Kagee, S.A., & Bantjes, J. 2019. Evaluation of the Beck Anxiety Inventory in predicting generalized anxiety disorder among individuals seeking HIV testing in the Western Cape, South Africa. South African Journal of Psychiatry. 25(0), 1336. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajpsychiatry.v25i0.1336