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Mandipa is a research analyst and policy consultant who contributes to enhancing equitable development and transformative justice. She engages in relatable content, and frameworks, that nuance global events and policies to ensure that socio-economic, human capacity building, and human rights issues, are mainstreamed on the African continent. Her broad research interests, mainly reflected in her publication record, unpack: the complexities of the continent’s political economy, the sustainable development strategies, the rule of law, institutional reform in (post –) authoritarian governments, as well as the demystification of systemic legacies of violence and trauma. Her experience spans across the following areas:

  • African Governance & Development
  • Trauma & Memory Analysis
  • Gender Justice
  • Youth Empowerment
  • Post-Conflict & Post-Authoritarian Transformation
  • Conflict, Peace & Security
  • Civil-Military Relations

Currently, Mandipa is a PhD Candidate at the African Studies Centre Leiden and a visiting researcher at the University of Edinburgh. Her research unpacks the political economy of urban governance at the intersection of Africa’s contested realities of development. The PhD project interlinks the aforementioned to the legacies, realities, and futures, of industrial development in her given case study. Prior to this, Mandipa’s research was housed at the University of Cape Town where she focused on militarised anti-development strategies at the intersection of social cohesion and prospects for lasting transitional justice efforts in Zimbabwe.


Adopting justice principles to catalyse positive change lies in amplifying people’s agency. This must be reflected in adherence to the rule of law, socio-economic justice, as well as contextually sound transitional justice efforts in post-conflict, and post-authoritarian states. Governance, and the institutions that support its functions, must be transparent and evoke active citizenry that holds leaders accountable. Clientelist governmental practices which illuminate disinvestment from societal progression on the African continent must be challenged.


It is the power of practically applicable knowledge that drives the relevance of research. As such, evidence based research remains a key component of the politics of knowledge management for policymakers and in academia. Research of this nature not only drives the awareness of lived realities, but guides data that is to be produced in the future to ensure sustainable livelihoods and progressive societies.


The progression of Africa is incomplete without equitable access to human capacity development opportunities granted to those within the continent’s borders. Realising Africa’s developmental potential lies in it’s ability to harness this. It must do so whilst mainstreaming it’s youth demographic, women, and informalised economy, along with a myriad of other communities – as value additions to sustainable economic futures for all.



Buttressing her understanding of humanism within a transitional justice, security governance, and institutional reform lens; Mandipa holds a second Master of Philosophy (MPhil) in Justice and Transformation from the University of Cape Town’s Political Studies Department. Her degree was awarded with distinction.


Mandipa has a Master of Science (MSc) degree in Violence, Conflict and Development (with Merit) from the School of Oriental and African Studies’ (SOAS) Department of Development Studies in London. Here, she was a 2017/18 Mo Ibrahim Scholar under the Governance for Development in Africa Initiative at SOAS’ Centre for African Studies (CAS).


Mandipa holds a Bachelor of Social Science Honours (BSocSci Hons) degree in Justice and Transformation from the University of Cape Town’s Political Studies Department in Cape Town.


Bachelor of Social Science (BSocSci) degree in International Relations, Business French and Gender Studies. Upon completion of the degree, Mandipa was admitted to the University of Cape Town’s Humanities Faculty Dean’s Merit List. Her major in Gender Studies was also conferred with distinction.



A collection of published and featured articles

Journal Outputs

▪  Ndlovu, M. 2017. ‘Fees Must Fall: A   nuanced observation of the University of  Cape Town, 2015–2016’. Agenda, pp.127- 137.  Read More


Interviews & Features

▪  Is That So? With Silantoi,  September 2021 ‘African Governance and Youth Involvement: Interview with Hon. Patience Masua, Ms Luanda Mpungose & Ms Mandipa Ndlovu’. Listen here

The South African  Institute of International Affairs,  July 2020 ‘ Africa’s diverging approaches to youth inclusion and participation’. Read More

African Studies Centre Leiden,  July 2020 ‘ Four International candidates awarded PhD studentships through University of Edinburgh – Leiden University partnership’. Read More

The Conversation, January 2019 ‘Education quality and the youth skills gap are marring progress in Africa’.  Read More

All Africa, November 2018 ‘Africa: Women and Children the Big Losers When Governance is Measured’.  Read More

Research Insight Reports

▪ Ndlovu, M. 2019. ‘Utilising Africa’s demographic capital – how African businesses could be benefiting from the inevitable’. African Business Futures. Institute for Futures Research: Stellenbosch University.

▪ Ndlovu M. 2016. ‘How can we create gender just work places?’ Institute for Justice and Reconciliation.

Opinion Pieces

▪  Ndlovu, M. 2020. Politicising inroads to Innovation. African Peer Review Mechanism Governance Link.

▪  Ndlovu, M. 2020. COVID-19 in Africa: Multifaceted impact on Africa’s youth. Mo Ibrahim Foundation. 

▪  Ndlovu, M. 2020. The Politics of Selective condemnation: “Silencing the guns” in Zimbabwe during a pandemic. Daily Maverick.

  Ndlovu, M. 2019. Fadzayi Mahere’s move to the MDC Alliance could rejuvenate the party. Daily Maverick.

Opinion Pieces Cont.

Ndlovu, M. 2018. Trauma Revisited – understanding the impact of Zimbabwe’s post-electoral violence. Daily Maverick.

Ndlovu, M. 2018. Reigning men: Where are all the women in this new Zimbabwe? African Arguments.

▪ Ndlovu, M. 2018. Mugabe Resurfaces: The Implications of Mnangagwa’s Predecessor Speaking Out. Daily Maverick. 

Ndlovu, M. 2017. Is There a Future of Sustainable Peace and Human Rights for Zimbabwe?  Huffington Post.

▪ Ndlovu, M. & Vraagom, F. 2016. Intersecting Oppression: Locating Gender within #FeesMustFall. Daily Maverick.



A selection of notable meetings 

WHO X ARUP Public Roundtable Discussion 1: Imagining the Future of COVID-19 and other infectious threats

Panellist contributing to the session entitled ‘Imagining the future: Conversations on the COVID-19 pandemic and other infectious threats’ under the World Health Organization (WHO) foresight roundtable discussion series which builds on the work undertaken by Arup Foresight. The development of four scenarios illustrate plausible, consistent futures for the future of the COVID-19 pandemic in the next 3 to 5 years. My interventions highlighted the need for vaccine equity, R&D financing, the multilayered impacts of capacitating healthcare systems, and healthy institutions with citizens as key stakeholders.

Fellow Panellists: Dr. Renz Argao (Coordinator, Religions for Peace International Youth Committee) | Dr. Andrea Hinwood (Chief Scientist, United Nations Environment Programme) | Prof. Alice Roberts (Professor of Public Engagement in Science, University of Birmingham) | Mr. Owen Tudor (Deputy General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation)

Moderator: Mr. Josef Hargrave (Director and Global Foresight Leader, Arup Group)

Location: Virtual | Date: 4 November 2021


Workshop on Accelerating the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda and AU Agenda 2063 in Africa

Panellist contributing to the session entitled ‘Mobilising Partnerships and Stakeholder for 2030 Agenda implementation and COVID-19 recovery’ under the symposium theme Building Resilient Institutions for the SDGs in the time of COVID-19. The workshop was co-organised by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs and the African Peer Review Mechanism. My contributions advocated for centering and strengthening of Africa’s data bank in realising the efficacy of our institutions for the implementation and advancement of Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda. This is the only way to build resilient institutions

Keynote(s): Ambassador Mohamed Khalil (Secretary General, Egyptian Agency for Partnership for Development) | Mr. David Moinina Sengeh (Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, Sierra Leone & Member of the UN Committee of Experts on Public Administration (CEPA))

Fellow Panellists: Mr. Moussa Kondo (Country Director, Accountability Lab Mali) | Ms. Julia Muia (Programme Officer, African Association for Public Administration and Management) | Mr. Rishy Bukoree (Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mauritius)

Moderator: Ms. Saras Jagwanth (Inter-Regional Adviser, Division for Public Institutions and Digital Government, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs) 

Location: Cape Town, South Africa | Date: 29 October 2021

5th Edition of the African Transitional Justice Forum

Moderator on the session ‘Youth and TJ: Harnessing Africa’s demographic dividend for participation and engagement in transitional justice processes’. The session unpacked legal frameworks and mechanisms which underpin institutional reform; noted policy interventions and provisions for youth at continental level; stressed the need to prioritise mental health and intergenerational trauma in impacting lasting peace processes; and the need to address corruption in perpetuating socio-economic instability in Africa. The forum is delivered annually in partnership between the African Union (AU) and the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR).

Panellists: Mr. John Ikubaje Gbodi (AUC-PAPS) | Mr. Steven Harageib (Office of the First Lady of Namibia) | Mr. Usani Odum (Human Rights Lawyer, African Court)

Location: Virtual | Date: 22 October 2021

2nd African Peer Review Mechanism Youth Symposium

1) Panellist contributing to the session entitled ‘Lessons from the APRM Republic of Namibia Targeted Review on Youth Unemployment’ under the symposium theme Strengthening youth participation in APRM governance processes: Towards Universal Accession by 2023. I noted that “targeted reviews – specifically ones on youth unemployment – need to be prioritised if we are to gather contextualised, in depth data needed to address Africa’s challenges. This will help in probing solutions driven approaches and encourage cultures of evidence-based accountability on the continent”. I further stressed that “recommending institutional reform is futile without the political will to support it”.

Keynote: Ambassador Wilfried Emvula (Chairperson of the National Governing Council, APRM Namibia) 

Fellow Panellists: Mr. Festus Hangula (APRM Namibia Secretariat) | Ms. Caren Wakoli (Executive Director, Emerging Leaders Foundation) 

Moderator: Mr. Seth Mulli (Chief Executive Officer, Youth Bridge Trust) 

Location: Nairobi, Kenya | Date: 26 September 2021

2) Moderator on the session ‘Best Practices from the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Republic on South Africa in participation in their review processes’. Research and development funding whilst capacitating those already doing the work on the ground is key. Participants expressed clear knowledge and vested insights on what needs to be done. Now is the time to lobby for action.

Presenters: Mr. Chukwuemeka Michael (APRM Youth Vanguard, Republic of Nigeria) | Ms. Yolakazi Mfuto (APRM Youth Network Member, Republic of South Africa)

Respondents: Mr. Thulani Tshefuta (National Governing Council Chairperson, APRM South Africa) | Ambassador Wilfried Emvula (Chairperson of the National Governing Council, APRM Namibia) | Mr. Cyrus NkusiGovernance for Rwanda 

Location: Nairobi, Kenya | Date: 26 September 2021


4th Annual African Governance Seminar Series (AGOSS)

Delivered in partnership between the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) and the Wits School of Governance (WSG), AGOSS is an annual seminar series whose objective is to provide an interactive platform for debate and analysis of trends of development and governance in Africa with the goal of enhancing responsive governance. My co-author Mrs. Victoria Manya and I presented our paper ‘Tracing Governance Preparedness & Preconditions for Economic Growth in Africa’. We focused on the need to further invest in our data bank on the continent to plan for future shocks; identified the role of SMEs and the tech ecosystem warned against the multilayered spillover effects of limited preparedness; and highlighted tangible pitfalls that hinder growth

Location: Nairobi, Kenya | Date: 25 September 2021

African Peer Review Mechanism Consolidated Launch of the Africa Governance Report

Panellist contributing to the discussion on constitutionalism and the rule of law. My contributions focused on the role of youth, academia and gendered representation in promoting human securities in Africa.

Fellow Panellists: Judge Shaheda Peeroo (African Union Administrative Tribunal) | Mr. Adam Alqali (Journalist and Editor of African Newspage)

Moderator: Ms. Lindiwe Khumalo (Advisor on Policy Coherence to the Chairperson, African Union Commission)

Nairobi, Kenya | Date: 9-10 December 2019

African Philanthropy Forum Thematic Meeting

Moderator for the African Philanthropy Forum’s Thematic Meeting on African Youth and Migration at the Mo Ibrahim Governance Weekend. The meeting provided a platform for philanthropists and critical stakeholders to examine the root causes of mass irregular immigration, proffer actionable solutions to curb the issue and highlight the potential ripple effect of providing opportunities for Africa’s youth to reverse the migration trend.

Panellists: Ms Oley Dibba-Wadda (Director of Director, Human Capital, Youth and Skills Development, African Development Bank) | Mr Carl Manlan (Chief Operating Officer, EcoBank Foundation)

Location: Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire | Date: 7 April 2019

Mo Ibrahim Foundation Now Generation Network Webinar on COVID-19 in Africa

Panellist contributing to a webinar discussion on realities of young and mid-level career African citizens during COVID-19. My contributions focussed on food insecurity, socio-economic precarity, and gender injustice.

Fellow Panellists: Mr Carl Manlan (COO, EcoBank Foundation) | Ms Natasha Kimani (Academy Associate, Chatham House) | Ms Hanan Taifour (Mo Ibrahim Fellow, International Trade Centre) | Mr Nasi Rwigema (Mo Ibrahim Scholar, London Business School) 

Conversation Moderators: Mme Graça Machel | Mr Jay Naidoo | Dr Jendayi E. Frazer

Chief Moderator: Dr Mo Ibrahim

Location: Virtual | Date: 8 July 2020


1st African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) Youth Symposium

1. Panellist contributing to the high-level discussions on constitutionalism and the rule of law.

Fellow Panellists: Hon. Khayar Oumar Defallah (Chairperson of the APRM Committee of Focal Points) | Hon. Dr Ali Abdelramane Haggar (APR Panel Member) | Amb. Salah Hammad (Head, African Governance Architecture (AGA) Secretariat, African Union Commission)

Moderator: Professor Migai Akech (Governance Expert, APRM)
Location: N’Djamena, Republic of Chad | Date: 1-2 July 2019

2.Panellist contributing to the discussions on intergenerational dialogue on leadership in Africa as well as the high-level on constitutionalism and the rule of law. 

Fellow Panellists: Amb. Salah Hammad (Head, African Governance Architecture (AGA) Secretariat, African Union Commission) | Ms Grace Jerry (Mandela Washington Fellow & Inclusive Friends Association) | Mr Ba Bocar (Broadband Commission for Digital Development & UNESCO)

Moderator: Mr. Souleymane Bah (Lille Business School, Program Manager)
Location: N’Djamena, Republic of Chad | Date: 1-2 July 2019

Afrobarometer SDG Scorecards Southern Africa Regional Launch

Panellist contributing to the conversation tracking progress towards sustainable development goals in Southern Africa. The panel spotlighted the following Southern African countries: Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. My contributions stressed the need to address Africa’s youth unemployment crisis, as well as strengthen trust in our institutions by tackling widespread cultures of clientelism and prebendalism head-on. Notably, the fact that SDGs are interconnected and progress or regression on one goal affects others was also highlighted.

Fellow Panellists: Dr Malebogo Bakwena (Head of Department of Economics, University if Botswana) | Mr. Seabata Motsamai (Executive Director, Lesotho Council of NGOs) | Ms Taimi Itembu (Public and Government Affairs Officer, ExxonMobil Namibia)

Moderator: Ms Gugu Nonjinge, (Senior Advocacy Officer, Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation)

Location: Virtual | Date: 31 August 2021

Panellist contributing to the high-level forum on the session entitled ‘Lessons from the pandemic: an urgent call to


Zimbabwe after the Mugabe era

Panellist contributing to the political and socio-historic legacies affecting the removal former President Robert Mugabe from power in November 2017.

Fellow Panellists: Dr Blessing-Miles Tendi (Associate Professor, Department of International Development, University of Oxford) | Professor Julia Gallagher (Professor in African Politics, SOAS) | Professor Kenneth Mufuka (co-author, ‘Life and Times of Robert Mugabe 1980-2017: Dream Betrayed’)

Moderator: Professor Stephen Chan, OBE (Professor of World Politics, SOAS)

Location: London, United Kingdom | Date: 19 February 2018

Oxford-Africa Conference

Panellist contributing to the discussion on the challenges and prospects toempowering Africa’s women in a call to catalysing action and reject rhetoric.

Fellow Panellists: Professor Amina Mama (Director of the Women and Gender Studies Program, UC Davis) | Ms Mbalenhle Matandela (Rhodes Scholar, University of Oxford)

Moderator: Ms Natasha Kimani (Chatham House Academy Fellow, Africa Programme)

Location: Oxford, United Kingdom | Date: 18-19 May 2018


Ibrahim Governance Weekend High Level Forum

Panellist contributing to the high-level forum on the session entitled ‘Lessons from the pandemic: an urgent call to
strengthen African health capacities’. My contributions stressed that we need to deal with health in a multifaceted way as its effects are widespread. Urgent concerns I suggested to be addressed: (i) The generation of timely and reliable
data (ii) Vaccine hesitancy (iii) Challenges with the disinvestment in infrastructure (iv) Strengthening our institutions
focussed on food insecurity, socio-economic precarity, and gender injustice.

Keynote: Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus (Director-General, World Health Organisation)

Fellow Panellists: Dr John Nkengasong (Director, Africa CDC) | H.E. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (Former President of
Liberia) | Professor Agnes Binagwaho (Vice Chair, Africa Europe Foundation Health Strategy Group) | Gayle Smith
(Coordinator for Global COVID Response, US State Department) | Reeta Roy (CEO, Mastercard Foundation)

Moderator: Dr Jendayi E. Frazer (Board Member, Mo Ibrahim Foundation).

Location: Virtual | Date: 3 June 2021

Link | Highlights

Ibrahim Index of African Governance Launch

Panellist contributing to the discussion reflecting on governance performance on the African continent and in South Africa. Contributions highlighted the need to focus on youth unemployment, education, reproductive health and labour rights as well as inclusive gendered political participation.

Fellow Panellists: Mr Jay Naidoo (Board Member, Mo Ibrahim Foundation) | Mr Kimi Makwetu (Auditor-General of the Republic of South Africa) | Dr Somadoda Fikeni (UNISA)

Moderator: Professor Eddy Maloka (Chief Executive Officer, African Peer Review Mechanism)

Location: Pretoria, South Africa | Date: 2 November 2018

Link 1  | Link 2

 MY blog


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