I have a Bachelors of Political Science and a BA(Hons) in International Relations from the University of Pretoria in South Africa where I graduated first in my class with the Politika Award for the best political science student. While completing my second degree, I started working at the Institute for Security Studies, Africa’s largest independent research institute, where my work focused on researching human security challenges and preventing violent extremism in Africa. Based on research fieldwork, I published peer-reviewed articles and advised various governments, particularly in East Africa, on how to successfully combat violent extremism. I also advised various foreign governments and donors on how to maximise their impact and effectively intervene in conflict situations in Africa.
Based on my research, I came to realise that in many cases the causes of political violence were often deeply systemic governance issues with weak institutions plagued by corruption undermining effective responses to conflict and fueling state fragility. Consequently, I enrolled in a MA specialising in governance and political development at the University of Nottingham where I obtained my degree with distinction under the supervision of Dr Fernando Casal Bértoa.
I've continued my research on the development of state institutions and governance at the the University of Sussex where my PhD is funded by the University's highly competitive Chancellor’s International Research Scholarship. My doctoral thesis examines the relationship between the development of the state and political parties to understand the effects of uneven political development on governance and the stability of political systems in developing countries. This includes understanding how political parties use corrupt practices to access state resources for maintaining party organisations and the effect that this has on governance and the development of effective state institutions. My research is supervised by Dr Rekha Diwakar and Prof Paul Webb. My research interests include state-building, the development of political institutions, anti-corruption, the use of technology in governance, and preventing fragility and conflict.