School of Social Sciences

Joseph Rudigi Rukema

Joseph Rudigi Rukema

Associate Professor



Contact Number 031-260-2440

CampusHoward College Campus

Office Address MTB, Level 1. Room: F121A

Last Updated 6 days ago

Degrees Held

  • PhD Social Policy Studies
  • Masters in Conflict Resolution and Peace Studies
  • BA (Honours) in Public Policy
  • (3 years Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Economic History and Development).

Research Interests

  • Social entrepreneurship
  • Climate change and adaptation
  • Natural disaster (Prevention, Management and social change)
  • Conflict Resolution and Peace Building
  • Migration
  • Political violence
  • African indigenous knowledge systems
  • Rural development
  • Regional integration
  • Terrorism and insurgency

Teaching Interests

  • I successfully taught and developed modules at both under and postgraduate levels. My teaching satisfies both the needs of general education of students and my own conviction. I developed and taught the following modules:


Student Supervision

Community Involvement

  • Out of passion for social entrepreneurship and the spirit of community development,  I initiated numerous community projects. In order to achieve my passion, the first step was to reflect on the approach to knowledge production including teaching, learning and research. I suggested a model through which entrepreneurship and community development can be achieved.  The model’s call is to redefine the traditional role of the transmission of the theoretical and practical knowledge in different fields of study of Humanities and Social Sciences. The emphasis of the model is placed on dimension of applicability and action, and the possibility of transferability to various situations and contexts.
  • To test the model, I initiated numerous, projects, including conducting seminars, talks, reflecting on teaching, learning and research approach and how to convert these into community development projects.
  • In 2015 when I was employed at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) as permanent senior lecturer, I was privileged to teach a third-year module titled: Social Issues: Theories and Practices. This module focuses on gender construction with particular focus to gender-based violence. I and students agreed that the module should have a theoretical and practical component.  After successful completion of the theoretical part, I together with the students agreed that gender violence is a challenge faced by the South African society and the world as whole. Together with the students, we designed a project named: United against Gender Based Violence. The aims of the project were to design strategies to address gender-based violence in schools and in the broader society.  I assisted students to draft the organization’s business plan, setting up an organizational structure. The organization operated as a student organization. It functioned for 2 years. Given that it was a student-led organization, most of them left after completing their degree. I hope to revive the organization with the hope of a more sustainable approach.
  • In 2014, I was invited by University of Lay Adventists of Kigali as visiting scholar, during my visit, I developed and taught the module titled “introduction to environmental philosophy), after successful completion of the module, I and the student agreed that climate change and disaster are real challenges. Together with students initiated a student non-profit association (Advocacy for Disaster Risk Reduction and Environmental Sustainability (ADDRES). I assisted student develop project business, plan, drafting the constitution and formally registered the organization. Since then, the project has made impact. It organised numerous community projects, awareness and sensitization campaigns, conferences and seminars on natural disasters and environmental sustainability.
  • In 2013, out of passion for entrepreneurship and community development, I founded a community Higher Learning Institution “Sub-Saharan Africa University / Universite de l’Afrique Sub-Saharienne (Democratic Republic of Congo). Currently, it is employing 1012 people (
  • I, initiated the project, and organized members of the community to own the project. I was responsible for setting up the structure, making the application for registration and accreditation of the University, I oversaw the design and implementation of academic programs, and setting up administrative and scientific structures as well as the development of policies governing the institution. I fundraised for the functioning of the University, I mobilized funding for the construction of university infrastructure.
  • In 2022, I conducted a study among both South Africans and foreign informal mechanics, hairdressers and construction workers in Durban, South Africa. The findings show that 90% of the participants have acquired skills through informal learning, from friends, relatives or from established businesses and organizations. The study also revealed that the majority of the respondents are self-employed, using the very skills acquired through informal learning. Learning from the findings of the study, I initiated a non-profit organisation “African Centre of Informal Learning and Entrepreneurship”. It is now register as a non-profit organisation. The aim of the organisation is to facilitate the acquisition of skills through informal learning by linking knowledge seekers with established business with the intent to transfer skills and create jobs. 
  • In 2004, in Durban, South Africa, I established a Language Centre registered as a private company.
  • The vision of the center was to promote unity through diversity by transferring language skills. The center offers lessons in Local and International languages. It provided job opportunities and facilitated the acquisition of practical communication skills in different languages. The impact is that a host people from vulnerable groups including refugees benefited English skills and many of them were able to further their education and secure employment.
  • I have interdisciplinary academic training, global teaching, management, and research agenda expertise and these are evidenced in my teaching records across the African continent coupled with international publications. I have developed excellent networking skills and this is translated into a number of visits to the following universities as visiting scholar: Morgan State University (USA), Independent University of Kigali (Rwanda), Kampala University (Uganda), University of Lay Adventists of Kigali” (UNILAK) (Rwanda), University of Rwanda (Rwanda), Chandigarh University (India), Daruu Salam University (Somalia), Universite de Goma (Democratic Republic of Congo), Institut Superieure de development (Democratic Republic of Congo). 
  •   My network initiatives include organizing collaborative publications among scholars across the African continent, which culminated in six books publications. This was done in the framework of bringing African scholars to exchange knowledge through collaborative publications.
  • I have attended international conferences to present thematic, working and position papers. I am the former Associate Editor of East African Journal of Science and Technology. Currently I’m the associate editor of Anthropology and Ethnology Open Access Journal (AEOAJ). I am regular Proposal reviewer and panel member of the National Research Foundation NRF, regular reviewer of numerous Journals. I organised numerous conferences across the African continent, and delivered keynote speeches. Furthermore, I travelled to 24 countries and I speak 12 languages.
  • Part of my community services include, serving in the church (Emmanuel Cathedral, Durban) as Minister of Hospitality for over 22 years, member of the board of Governors at Holy Family College, Durban, South Africa. I have a vast experience and knowledge in project management and budgeting. I have an in-depth understanding of project management that entails issues such as budgeting, risk and change management, and stakeholder analysis.
  •  I further undertook leadership courses to broaden and increase my capacity to lead. This was improved by a series of seminars that I attended.

Teaching Expertise

  • Sociology
  • Social entrepreneurship
  • Community development
  • Climate change and adaptation
  • Natural Disasters
  • Conflict Resolution