Mandipa is an analyst and academic whose policy contributions, research, and advocacy work, contribute to equitable African development and transformative justice in Africa. Her broader research interests, reflected in her publication record, seek to understand the complexities of sustainable human capacity development strategies for African youth, the rule of law, institutional reform in (post –) authoritarian governments, as well as systemic legacies of violence and trauma, on the continent. 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, she is a PhD researcher at Leiden University. Here, she is focused on the political economy of urbanisation futures which intersect legacies of counter-urbanisation policies that stalled development in various African contexts. Prior to this, her 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. Through her contributions, Mandipa seeks to create relatable content that nuances global events and policies to ensure that various socio-economic, human capacity building, and human rights issues, are mainstreamed on the African continent.


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

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.

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.

Opinion Pieces Cont.

▪ 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 

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


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

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

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

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

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


 MY blog


Commentary Concerning Africa

Reflections on the International Day of the African Child

Reflections on the International Day of the African Child Today we are reminded that though traditionally, ‘youthfulness’, as a concept, is expungable; the structural legacies of systemic violence formed against the African child linger long after one has exited the...

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Africa Day

Africa Day May 25th, Africa Day, is a day that calls on Africans to celebrate the gains, and reflect on the shortcomings, in realising a prosperous future on our beautiful continent. The tenacity and ingenuity the African people have shown during COVID-19, has...

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