Slide 1



Slide 1 - copy



Slide 1 - copy - copy




Mandipa is a governance researcher and development policy analyst whose research and consulting experience extends to working with governments, think tanks, intergovernmental organisations, and within academia. As a multipotentialite, she uses her networks and knowledge, to connect multi-sectoral, and multi-level stakeholders, across regions for impactful change on the African continent. To this end, Mandipa serves on the youth sub-committee of the Ibrahim Index Advisory Council for the Mo Ibrahim Foundation which works to assess the effectiveness of the Ibrahim Index for African Governance (IIAG).

Mandipa is also a doctoral researcher at Leiden University where her research is focused on the political economy of urban governance and its developmental futures in Africa. Moreover, Mandipa is visiting researcher at the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for African Studies and an adjunct lecturer at the Netherlands Defence Academy in The Hague. Her broader research interests and publication record cover:

  • African Governance & Development
  • Civil-Military Relations
  • Trauma & Memory Analysis
  • Futures Forecasting
  • Post-Conflict & Authoritarian State Transformation
  • Peace & Security


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

▪  African Peer Review Mechanism, September 2019 ‘Journey on Good Governance’. Watch here

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 

World Health Organization (WHO) & ARUP Insights 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

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

 MY blog


Commentary Concerning Africa

Day of the African Child 2021

The realisation of an Africa fit for children must reflect the foundational push towards equity. A principle on which the Day of the African Child was premised through the 1976 Soweto Uprising. As it stands, the Continental Education Strategy for Africa is due to...

read more

Africa Day 2021

Investment in the prosperity of Africa requires dedication to, and the capacitation of, its people. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that our voices, innovation, and lived experiences, not only matter, but are interconnected. The prosperity of one has to be...

read more

COVID-19 in Africa: Multifaceted impact on Africa’s youth

Originally published by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation. The Foundation carried out its first Now Generation Network (NGN) Survey from 12-25 June. Participants further unpack the findings from the Survey in relation to the impact of COVID-19 in Africa and the continent’s...

read more