Families and Societies Research Unit


Elena Moore

Elena is Director of the FaSRU and a Senior Research Fellow. Her interests lie in the field of personal life, kinship, gender, intergenerational relations, divorce, family law and policy, feminist theories, biographical methods and mixed methods. She recently published a book called Divorce, Families and Emotion Work and is co-author of a book on Customary Marriage, Divorce and Intestate Succession in South Africa.

Kirsty Button

Kirsty holds an Honours and Masters degree in Sociology from the University of Cape Town. She is currently working towards the completion of her PhD in Sociology, also at the University of Cape Town. In having developed interests in intergenerational relationships, ageing and social policy, Kirsty’s PhD focuses on the negotiation of care and the use of the Old Age Grant in intergenerational relationships in contemporary South Africa. 

Nicole Daniels

Nicole has been involved in research with the African Gender Institute and the School of Public Health at UCT. Her research interests centre on issues relating to women. Currently positioned more broadly in the Sociology of birth, her research focuses on home birth in the greater Cape Town area. As a mother of two, she is especially interested in narrativity and the means through which we speak of and author our human experiences.

Isaac Chinyoka

Isaac is a researcher and doctoral student in the CSSR, working on variations in social assistance programmes for families and children in selected southern African countries. His thesis is an analysis of why some countries in this region make social protection provision for children and adults, and others not.

Stanford Mahati

Stanford is a migration researcher for the CSSR. He is conducting research on the project on “the functioning and consequences of transnational child raising arrangements in South and North: Angolan, Nigerian and Ghanaian migrant parents living in South Africa and the Netherlands”. He has worked in South Africa and Zimbabwe for over ten years collecting and analysing data. An Ebelin and Gerd Bucerius “Settling Into Motion” Fellow, he specialized in the field of childhood studies and child migration.

Nonzuzo Mbokazi

Nonzuzo is a sociologist, holding a Master of Social Science in Sociology from Rhodes University. She is currently pursuing a PhD with the Department of Sociology at the University of Cape Town. Her doctoral research is focused on low income working mothers and childcare state policy. Nonzuzo has a strong interest in public policy as she is of the view that sociology can help to better understand how institutional inertia affects public policy initiatives, which are so pertinent to a developing country such as South Africa. Nonzuzo Mbokazi is also a researcher with the Mzantsi Wakho study at the AIDS and Society Research Unit.

Lwando Scott

Lwando  is currently a PhD candidate in Sociology at the University of Cape Town. His doctoral research is on same-sex marriage in South Africa. In 2013/14 he was a research fellow with the Fox International Fellowship program at Yale University. He was an Assistant Lecturer for Diversity Literacy at the University of Cape Town (2011, 2012). In the winter of 2015 he was involved with the SHAWCO international student volunteer winter program. He has interned at the Desmond Tutu Aids Foundation (2011), and the Institute for Security Studies (2007). Lwando’s work, academic and otherwise, is centered around advancing queer politics in South Africa.

Susan Holland-Muter

Susan has been active in women’s and LGBTI struggles in South Africa and Colombia as a feminist political activist and researcher. She is currently a PhD student in Sociology. Her work focuses on the politics of gender, sexuality, race and place in Cape Town, exploring lesbians’ everyday negotiations of the city through a number of inter-related spheres. These include perceptions and experiences of Cape Town as being both the gay capital of South Africa as well as the centre of racism and inequity; secondly, perceptions and experiences of families of origin and families of choice and lastly, the politics of love and desire.

Martha Kavhai

Martha holds an Honours degree in Social Anthropology from UCT. She is currently studying towards her Master’s in Sociology. Her research interests center on understanding how people end up living on the streets in South Africa. She is currently focusing on understanding black South African mothers’ pathways into street homelessness, focusing on the family as a site of conflict

Jill Chidisha Samukimba

Jill is currently pursuing her MPhil in Development Studies at the University of Cape Town. She specializes in the sociology of the family. Her research interests range from personal lives, families, child care, customary law, women empowerment, justice and gender transformation. Her current research is on intlawulo and father involvement where she explores the influence of the customary practice of Inhlawulo or ‘paying damages’ on fathers’ involvement in their children’s lives.  

Zandile Ndebele

Zandile, holds a Master’s Degree (LLM) in Taxation from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Commercial Law with a specialisation in tax law under the Faculty of Law at the University of Cape Town.  Her PhD research topic is inter-disciplinary, focusing on exploring the tax burden on the black middle-class household. Her research aim is to contribute to the discussion on intergenerational wealth creation and transfer within the black middle-class household in South Africa. 

Fatima Essop

Fatima, obtained her BA LLB and Master’s in Public Law from the University of Cape Town. She practiced as an attorney in public interest litigation, at both the Legal Resources Centre, a non-profit public interest law clinic as well as at the Women’s Legal Centre, a public interest NPO, which focuses on gender advocacy and litigation.  In 2003, she joined the Cape Bar as an Advocate of the High Court of South Africa where she practiced in various areas of law, including administrative law, constitutional law, environmental law, tort law, contractual law and family law.   In 2013, she registered for a full-time degree in Islamic law and Arabic at the Islamic Peace College of South Africa, the only accredited tertiary Islamic institution in South Africa.  She graduated cum laude in 2016 and in 2017 registered for her PhD in UCT’s Law Faculty, where her research focuses on the intersection between South African and Islamic laws of succession.  As part of her PhD research, she is undertaking empirical research on the inheritance practices of Muslim families in the Cape.  She is currently a lecturer in the Private Law Department at UCT.

Vayda Megannon 

Vayda, holds a first class pass Honours degree in Development Studies from UCT. She is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Justice and Transformation from UCT, funded by the National Research Foundation Chair in Customary Law, Human Rights and Indigenous Values. Her research focuses on succession within Muslim families, more specifically the experiences of wives who have been widowed. Vayda has interned at the Human Sciences Research Council, in the Democracy, Governance and Service Delivery Department and at The Smile Foundation

Kagiso Annette Maphalle

Kagiso is a PhD candidate under the NRF Chair in Customary Law, Indigenous Values and Human Rights at the University of Cape Town. Her thesis is on Children’s Rights in Woman-to-Woman Customary Marriages in South Africa.  She is an Advocate of the High Court of South Africa, and has worked for the Commission for Gender Equality, NRF Chair in Customary Law, Indigenous Values and Human Rights, Centre for Law and Society, University of the Western Cape, and the Parliamentary Monitoring Group. She holds an LLB degree from the University of Venda, and an MPhil in African Customary Law and Women’s Rights  from the University of Cape Town.  She is the founder of the Kagiso Maphalle Foundation which empowers rural communities through educational workshops on human rights and customary law. Kagiso is a Mandela Washington 2018 Fellow

Tendai Mutembedza

Tendai is a PhD Candidate in Psychology with research interests in critical psychology, gendered violence, gender and sexuality and research around family life and relationships. He holds a Master's degree in Psychology from the University of Cape Town. His doctoral project seeks to understand masculinity and practices related to child and early marriages.

Nyasha Mcbride Mpani

Nyasha, holds a Bachelor of Social Science Honours degree in Sociology from the Great Zimbabwe University. I am currently studying towards a Master in Philosophy Development Studies. I am currently focusing on investigating the challenges faced and coping mechanisms implored by families,women and children in Cyclone Idai affected area of Chimanini,Zimbabwe.

Zeenat Samodien

Zeenat is a full time honours student in the department of Sociology at the University of Cape Town. She holds a Bachelor of Social Science Degree in Gender studies, Religious studies and Sociology. Her current research at honours level focuses on the non-recognition of Muslim marriages in South Africa. Zeenat is particularly interested in how women party to Muslim marriages experience this non-recognition.

Simamnkele Dingiswayo

Simamnkele is currently an Honours student specialising in Development Studies at the University of Cape Town. Her Honours project is on the relational dynamics of power when bringing children into a marriage. In 2016, she became the member of the Golden Key International Honour Society. During this time, she was also a Student Assistant in the Sociology Department. She is currently tutoring SOC 1005S : Individual and Society in the Humanities faculty. Simamnkele's vision is to bring a positive contribution in the socio-economic issues that the country is battling with.