Image: Stats SA

I am a PhD student in the Department of Political Studies at the University of Cape Town (UCT) and a graduate researcher at the Institute of Democracy, Citizenship and Public Policy in Africa (IDCPPA). My research focuses primarily on political parties and judicial politics in Africa.

I study Comparative Politics and Political Behavior, focusing on Sub-Saharan Africa. In particular, I am interested in the challenges of how citizens engage with political parties and government bureaucracies. My dissertation examines the role of political parties as “Conveyor Belts of Information” shaping citizens’ satisfaction with basic service delivery in Africa. My research has been supported by the IDCPPA and the Program on Governance and Local Development (University of Gothenburg).

A second stream of research assesses judicial power in Africa and implications for citizens’ perception of the courts on the one hand, and the quality of elections on the other. Parts of this research have been supported by the Norwegian Embassy and the Social Justice Initiative via the Democratic Governance and Rights Unit at UCT.

Most recent work

Climate Change Literacy in Africa, with Nicholas Simpson, Talbot Andrews, Chris Lennard, Romaric Odoulami, Birgitt Ouweneel, Anna Steynor, and Christopher Trisos, 2021, Nature Climate Change | Publisher’s version | Open Access version | in The Conversation.

Abstract: Climate change literacy encompasses being aware of both climate change and its anthropogenic cause, and thus underpins informed mitigation and adaptation responses. However, climate change literacy rates and their predictors remain poorly understood across the Global South. Here analysis of Africa’s largest representative public opinion survey shows climate change literacy ranges from 23 to 66% of the population across 33 countries, with larger variation at subnational scales (for example, 5–71% among states in Nigeria). Strong positive predictors of climate change literacy are education and mobility, but poverty decreases climate change literacy, and country-level climate change literacy rates are, on average, 12.8% lower for women than men. Perceived drought experiences and historical trends in precipitation are also important predictors. These results highlight where interventions can target specific regions and demographics to increase climate change literacy and help ensure that responses are informed by better understanding of current and future climate change.

Party footprints in Africa: Measuring local party presence across the continent, with Sarah J. Lockwood & Robert Mattes, 2021, Party Politics.

Abstract: The conventional view of Africa’s political parties holds that they are organizationally weak, with little presence at the grass roots. Yet, few studies are based on systematically collected data about more than a handful of parties or countries at any given point. In this paper, we attempt to remedy this situation, by focusing on one crucial aspect of party organization – the local presence that enables political parties to engage with and mobilize voters during and between elections – and developing the first systematic, survey-based measure of the extent of this presence across 35 countries. We draw on a wide variety of data to demonstrate the validity and reliability of this new index, and in the process showcase its ability to be calculated at a number of different levels. Finally, we illustrate its utility by applying it to a key substantive question in the literature.

This article is part of a symposium on Party Structures and Organization Building in Africa published in Party Politics and co-edited by Sarah J. Lockwood, Robert Mattes and myself.

The symposium also features articles by Aikande Kwayu (“Determinants of a Political Party’s Social Media Strategy: A Comparative Analysis of Tanzania’s Opposition Political Parties’ Twitter Practices“), Dan Paget (“Lone Organizers: Opposition Party Building in Hostile Places in Tanzania“), Consolata Sully (“Democracy within Parties: Electoral Consequences of Candidate Selection Methods in Tanzania“), and Shana Warren, “Democratizing Candidate Selection: Controlled Turnover in Botswana’s Bulela Ditswe Primaries”.