Ordinary Academicians

Mpilenhle Pearl Sithole


Mpilenhle Pearl Sithole

Date of birth 06 December 1972

Place Pietermaritzburg, South Africa (Africa)

Nomination 06 July 2021

Field Anthropology; Community Development

Title University Manager – Campus Vice-Principal: Academic and Research

  • Biography
  • Publications

Most important awards, prizes and academies
2011 Winner of the Distinguished Young Woman in Science Award: Social Science – Awarded by the Department of Science and Technology; 2020-21 Panel member for the Council of Higher Education’s National Review of Doctoral Degree; 2017 to 2020 Member of the Ministerial Transformation Oversight Committee for Higher Education; 2015-17 Council Member – Msunduzi-Ncome Museum, Pietermaritzburg; 2014-15 Associate Editor for South African Journal of Science (Humanities) for the ASSAf; 2011-17 Project Committee member on ‘An investigation on the Practice of Ukuthwala’ for the South African Law Reform Commission; 2010-13 Council Member – Iziko Museums of South Africa; 2009-14 Member of The Independent Commission for the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers, appointed by the President in July 2009 – Chairperson of Committee for Local Government and Traditional Leadership matters; 2009-10 Research Associate, School of Anthropology, Gender and Historical Studies, University of KwaZulu-Natal; 2008-12 Panel on the Status of Humanities in South Africa – Organised by the Academy of Science in South Africa (ASSAf); 2008-10 Panel on Establishment of an academic institute to deal with diversity issues at the University of the Free State; 2007-09 Part of the Panel of Experts advising on the formulation of Intangible Heritage Policy in South Africa, Hosted and Chaired by Department of Arts and Culture; 2007-09 Member of Council for the South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA) – Part of EXCO and ad hoc committees and task teams as part of fulfilling the mandate of the National Heritage Resources Agency (NHRA) and other related legislation; 2007-08 Chairperson of Research Advisory Group of the Learning, Monitoring and Research Facility (LMRF) – supporting LED initiatives in KwaZulu-Natal; 2006-07 Chairperson of Board – Centre for Public Participation (CPP), Durban – oversight role to an NGO looking at community participation issues and examination of forms of accountability in development; 2005-08 Member of the External Reference Group (ERG) for the Ethekwini Municipality’s Area Based Management Programme – forum to which projects of Area-Based Management were presented to outside stakeholders for comment; 2004-10 Deputy Chairperson – KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Planning and Development Commission (PPDC), Department of Local Government, Housing and Traditional Affairs - Part of responsibilities include steering research projects on: IKS (indigenous knowledge and land use systems); Capacity issues in Local Government; Examination of integrated in planning; Women in Development with specific focus on rural areas; 2003-05 Research Board Member – Centre for Civil Society, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Howard College – assessment of research proposal for funding; 2001-03 Member of Scientific Committee for Global Change (National Research Foundation); 2000-01 Research Advisory Board, Africa Institute of South Africa, Pretoria; 1999-2006 Serving on the Committee of the Association for Anthropology in Southern Africa, now known as Anthropology Southern Africa (ASA). Secretary of ASA Council since 2004-06; 1994 onwards Member, Association for Anthropology in Southern Africa; 1989 Secretary, Church Youth Society; 1988-89 Chairperson, Folweni School Debating Society.

Summary of scientific research
Professor Mpilo Pearl Sithole is a social anthropologist by training, and has interest on issues of: governance; gender and development; the politics of knowledge production; and social inequality. She has worked with various academic and research institutions in South Africa; and she has delved into public service, consulting, and civil society as well. Her writings include a book titled Unequal Peers: The Politics of Discourse Management in the Social Sciences (2009), and a number of journal articles on governance, development, and knowledge production – including recently, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on developmentalism. In 2011 she was recognised by the South African Department of Science and Technology with a Women in Science Award – for her sterling work as a social scientist.

Main publications
Sithole, M.P. (2020) ‘Land in South Africa: A Permanent Question; thanks to History, Law and Economics’ in Kariuki, P.; Reddy, P.S.; Wissink, H. (eds) The Covid-19 Pandemic in South Africa: A Review of selected Local Governance and Policy Responses, Vol 2, pp. 256-268; Sithole, M.P. (2020) ‘Is Decoloniality Possible: A Noble Mission, A Frustrated Strategy’ Msunduzi Journal: A Journal of the Msunduzi and Ncome Museums Vol 9, 2020 pp. 16-21; Sithole, M.P. (2016) ‘Engendered Spaces of Power: Women in Political Parties, Traditional Leadership and Government’ in Plaatjies, D., Chitiga-Mabugu, M., Hongoro, C., Meyiwa, T., Nkondo, M. & Nyamnjoh, F. (eds) State of the NationWho is in Charge? HSRC Press, Cape Town; Sithole, M.P. (2014) ‘Care and Social Cohesion in South Africa: Political Engineering versus Dealing with Social Discordance’ in Reddy, V., Meyer, S., Shefer, T. & Meyiwa, T. Care in Context: Transnational Gender Perspectives, South Africa, HSRC Press; Sithole, M.P. 2013 ‘Gender, Research and Knowledge Production: The Struggle Ahead’ in Alternation – Engaging New Analytical Perspectives on Gender in the African Context, Vol 20. No. 2, pp. 10-26; Sithole, M.P. (2009) Unequal Peers: The Politics of Discourse Management in the Social Sciences, South Africa, Africa Institute.

Professional Address

University of the Free State
Qwaqwa Campus
Private Bag X13
Phuthaditjaba, 9866
South Africa