School of Social Sciences

Fikile Vilakazi

Fikile Vilakazi


DisciplinePublic Policy


Contact Number 031-260-2433

CampusHoward College Campus

Office Address ZG 152, MTB Building

Last Updated 4 years ago

Degrees Held

  • Masters (Development Studies)

Research Interests

  • Indigenous Knowledge Systems ( Traditional Medicines, Language, Culture, Religion, Intergenerational Knowledge, Oral H/er/istories, Indigenous Knowledge Development, African Rituals and Dance)
  • Gender and Sexuality (/Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex; Adolescence and Teenage Sexuality; Forced Marriages; Love, Sex, Pleasure and Desire; Sexuality and Gender-Based Violence; Deviance, Bondage, Dominance and Submission; Freedom, Power and Slavery; Sex Tourism, Sexual Trafficking and Sex Work; Self Determination, Role-play; Objectivity, Subjectivity and Fluidities.
  • Feminist theories; Power; Critical Social Constructivism; Constructionism; Post-modern theories, Post-colonial theories, African Renaissance theories, African philosophies.
  • State and society
  • Policies, regulation and legislative processes in society

Teaching Interests

  • Public Policy, Development Theories, Economic and Social Development, Sociology, Gender and Sexuality Studies. 

Awards and Honors

  • Golden Key Award – International Golden Key Society for being nominated as one of the top 15% student achievers at the University of the Western Cape in 2013;
  • Erasmus Mundus European – South African mobility scholarship for academic excellence and financial need, 2014 – 2015;
  • National Research Foundation grant awarded for academic excellence,
    University of the Western Cape, 2013;
  • Lesbian women entrepreneurship award – Africa award from IBM,
    South Africa – 2010 (under my directorship) for the Coalition of African
  • Human Rights and Feminist Leadership Award (under my directorship) at the Coalition of African Lesbians from Astraea International Lesbian Foundation for Justice, New York – 2008;
  • Kagiso Trust Bursary Fund awarded for academic excellence, University of
    the Western Cape, 1994 – 1996


  • I have supervised 10 MA students and 5 honours students
    in 2016. I have graduated 5 honours students and 1 Masters Student in 2016. 

Community Engagement

  • Contributed to the National Youth Policy, the National Youth Service Programme and the Youth Employment Summit of South Africa with the assistance of Umsobomvu Youth Fund in the early 2000s in my capacity as Training and Advocacy Officer for the Joint Enrichment Project between 2002 and 2004. The Joint Enrichment Project was a youth project of the South African Council of Churches and the Southern African Catholics Bishops Conference. We partnered with organizations like the South African Graduates Development Association [SAGDA] and Black Sash.
  • Contributed largely to the Same Sex Marriage Law development process in South Africa between the years 2004 and 2006. I was part of the leadership that led a media and community campaign that resulted in the passing of the Civil Union Act of 2006 which remains a landmark decision in Africa with South Africa being the only country that permits marriages and civil unions between people of the same sex and same gender.  I did this community engagement under the auspices of three non-governmental organizations namely: The Lesbian and Gay Equality Project, The Forum for the Empowerment of Women and the OUT LGBTI Well-being.
  • I have worked with survivors of sexuality and gender-based violence; homophobic violence and xenophobic violence as a human rights defender and advocacy analyst pushing for justice and freedom from all forms of violences and hate crimes in South Africa. This is work that I did under the auspices of the Forum for the Empowerment of Women, the Equality Project, OUT LGBTI Wellbeing and the Coalition of African Lesbians. I became and ally and a member to the South African Anti-Hate Crimes Forum, the Sexual Offences Act National Working Group and other interested individual’s voices that pushed for the passing of the hate Speech Bill then in South Africa. I had the privilege through this work to engage with organizations like the Centre for the Study of Violence [CSVR], Tshwaranang Legal Advocacy Centre and People Opposing Women Abuse [POWA], Child Line and the Legal Resource Centre amongst many others.
  • In the years 2007 – 2012, I escalated my community engagement mentioned above to the African continent and internationally. I did my activism largely through the Coalition of African Lesbians. In this period I have directly engaged with survivors of homophobic, sexuality and gender based violence in Africa, particularly African lesbian women, bisexual women and trans-diverse people. I led a delegation to the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights and the United Nations Human Rights Council to specifically push for African regional policies and International policies respectively that seek to end violence that occurs on the grounds of sexuality and gender in Africa and globally. It is through this level of community engagement that I was exposed to the international community. I had an opportunity to engage with regional and international organizations like the International Planned Parenthood Association, the Women’s Global Centre, Akina Mama waAfrika in Uganda, Isis Wice, African Sex Workers Alliance [ASWA] in Kenya, Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe, Sexual Minorities Uganda [SMUG], Lesbian, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana [LeGaBiBo], The Women’s Leadership Centre Namibia, Tanzania Lesbian Association, Kenya Lesbian and Gay Network, Ghana Lesbians and Gay Association, International Centre for Reproductive Health and Rights in Nigeria, the African Feminist Froum and many more. I also got to work very closely with various government departments mainly as an advocacy voice, analyst and public opinionist.
  • Since 2011, I have been involved with the community of traditional healers in South Africa from a personal perspective as a traditional healer myself. My aim is to contribute to the protection and preservation of indigenous knowledge systems in South Africa, regionally and globally with particular interest on traditional medicines, natural resources like mountains and rivers, oral cultures, indigenous languages, indigenous knowledges and African ways of knowing.
  • I continue currently to engage with this form of community service and activism at the level of my life as an academic. I voluntarily sit in various research working groups of some of the organizations mentioned above namely: The Coalition of African Lesbians and Gender Dynamix. I voluntarily serve as an advisory board member of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission [IGLHRC]. I am also a member of uNdabezitha, Majoye Traditional Healers Association of South Africa.

Research Projects

  • Experiences of autonomy for women who are criminalized on the basis of gender, sexuality and HIV/AIDS in South Africa, Coalition of African Lesbians, 2014
  • Post-modern traditional healing systems: an inquiry into the meaning of indigeneity in professionalizing traditional healing in South Africa’, 2014 – current, University of Jyvaskyla, Finland, Department of Social Science and Philosophy. A doctoral mini-thesis
  • Assessing Africa’s policy environment requirements to end violence on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity as presented in Resolution 275 of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights adopted in Angola in 2014’; 2016 – current, University of kwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, Gender Studies. A doctoral thesis.
  • Disrupting the domain of an instructional paradigm through power cantered pedagogy: an alternative approach to teaching and learning, forthcoming – University of kwaZulu-Natal, Teaching and Learning Grant (planned)
  • Assessing the challenges and successes of cohort supervision through post-graduate workshops/seminars for Masters and PhD students in the IPA Cluster, forthcoming, University of kwaZulu-Natal, Collaborative Teaching and Learning Grant (planned).