Research and Innovation

Professor Rushiella Nolundi Songca
Professor Rushiella Nolundi SongcaDeputy Vice-Chancellor: Academic Affairs &
LLD (Pretoria) LLM (Georgetown), LLM & LLB (UKZN), BA Law (Lesotho); Email:; +27 66 342 7417

Professor Rushiella Nolundi Songca (WSU) is a founding member and member of the Editorial Board of the International Journal of African Renaissance Studies (Multi-, Inter- and Transdisciplinarity), and an admitted Advocate of the High Court of South Africa. She has taught at various universities, among them: the then University of Durban-Westville, University of Natal, University of Transkei, University of Limpopo and University of South Africa. She has been involved in different projects in different capacities, served on various committees and bodies, and also served (briefly) in the Presidency during the Thabo Mbeki administration. Professor Songca was a Guest Editor for the Agenda: Empowering Women for Gender Equity - Land, Violence and Womxn’s Bodies: A luta continua, vitoria e certa? 2018 32(4) issue - and also served as a reviewer for the NRF. Professor Songca’s understanding of the South African Legal System is notable. She has made submissions to South African Law Commission, and wrote technical reports for, among others, the Parliament of South Africa, the Public Protector, the Human Rights Commission, and the House of Traditional Leaders. Her area of research is Children’s Rights. She is a NRF C-rated researcher.
Professor Wilson Akpan
Professor Wilson AkpanSenior Director: Research &
PhD (Rhodes), MSc (Ibadan), BSc Hons (Calabar)
+27 (0) 47 502 2044; Skype: wakpan

Professor Wilson Akpan, a Ford Foundation Scholar and social justice advocate, is the Head of the Directorate of Research Development and Innovation. He is a well-published and globally cited research social scientist, public commentator and former two-term President of the South African Sociological Association (SASA). He has previously served as Acting Dean of Research, Deputy Dean for Research and Internationalisation (Social Sciences and Humanities), and Director of School of Social Sciences at Fort Hare University – where he won the Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Research (Senior Category). A member of the South African National Research Output Review Panel, Akpan has an abiding interest in researching and publishing on social-ecological systems and sustainability, health and wellness, and knowledge futures. He is keenly interested in how different knowledge systems interface in the articulation and shaping of responses to society's challenges, including challenges of managing research and innovation in the higher education sphere. He has (guest-)edited and contributed to books and journal special issues on the themes of environment, natural resources, indigenous knowledge, community engagement, population dynamics, international higher education, and popular culture.
Professor Lawrence Sithole
Professor Lawrence SitholeDirector: Postgraduate
BOptom (UL), MOptom (UL), Dlitt et Phil (Health Studies) (Unisa);
+27 (0) 47 502 2189/1947
Professor Lawrence Sithole possesses invaluable experience that emanates from previous and current engagements with various stakeholders within South Africa and abroad. He is currently a member of the Health Professions Council of South Africa’s Board for Optometry and Dispensing Opticians for the period 2020-2025, having been recently appointed by the Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize. Professor Sithole has extensive managerial experience that spans over a period of 10 years. He started his academic career as a tutor at the University of Limpopo and later went on to be a lecturer at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Thereafter, he went on to manage research capacity building programmes at the University of South Africa and has also served as a Deputy Director for Research and Niche Areas at Tshwane University of Technology. Professor Sithole served in the South African Optometric Association (SAOA) as the first chairperson of the SAOA Research Ethics Committee and was responsible for its establishment. He was also responsible for drafting Clinical Standards of Optometric Practice at the SAOA and Isoleso respectively. In addition, he managed his own private optometric practice under the name of Dr HL Sithole for a period of 6 years (2013-2018). He is an established researcher who has been invited to review numerous research manuscripts in both local and international scientific journals. He has published extensively in clinical optometry, environmental optometry and public health and has went on to present his research findings in various local and international conferences. Professor Sithole continues to examine postgraduate theses and dissertations from various universities within South Africa as well as supervising postgraduate students from various disciplines including nursing, medicine, physiotherapy, among others. With this experience and exposure, he is able to engage on strategic matters by way of either administering performance management systems, drafting or implementing strategic outcomes.
Dr Clarah Dapira
Dr Clarah DapiraManager: Research & Postgraduate Support (Mthatha Campus)
PhD (UFH), MSoc (UFH), BSoc Hons (UFH), BA (UFH) +27 (0) 47 502 1950; Skype: dapiraclarah Dr C Dapira is currently working as a Manager for Research and Postgraduate support at Walter Sisulu University, Mthatha Campus. She is responsible for managing, coordinating and reporting on all activities pertaining research administration and postgraduate support. Her oversight areas include research output, grants, staff and postgraduate research capacity-building, postdoctoral fellowships, research ethics, and research information management. Her portfolio also includes liaising with internal (university) stakeholders and external grant-making, standards-setting and research management organisations and networks.
Dr Tarisai Chikungwa-Everson
Dr Tarisai Chikungwa-EversonResearch & Postgraduate Support (Buffalo City)
PhD (IPS) (UFH), MCom (IPS) (UFH), BSoc Sci (HRM) Hons (UFH) BSoc Sci (HRM); +27 (0) 43 708 9321; Skype: tchikungwa-everson Dr T Chikungwa-Everson serves as the Manager: Research and Postgraduate Support at Walter Sisulu University - Buffalo City Campus. She is responsible for managing, coordinating and reporting on all activities pertaining to research and postgraduate support in the Directorate of Research Development and Innovation on the Buffalo City Campus. She also provides oversight, supervisory and coordination support in relation to specific activity areas in the Research Office Central service unit in the Directorate’s Institutional Office, and interacts with internal and external stakeholders on matters pertaining research standards-setting, funding, ethics and knowledge dissemination.
Professor Bongani D Bantwini
Professor Bongani D BantwiniC2 NRF-rated
PhD, MSc (Urbana-Champaign), BEd Hons, BEd (UPE),; +27 (0) 78 952 3719;
Skype: Bongani.bantwini
Professor Bantwini, a C2 NRF-rated researcher, has over 20 years’ working experience in the education field and has taught at various universities both in the USA and South Africa. A former Fulbright Scholar at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA, he has taught at various schooling levels, primary, secondary and high school. He has also held positions with other organisations including science councils, NGOs and consultation positions. He has single and co-authored publications in national and international refereed journals and continues to contribute in his field. Most of his work has been presented in local, national and international conferences. He serves as a reviewer for various blind peer-review national and international journals, reviews for conferences and serves in several professional organisations. As part of ongoing scholarship, he serves in two editorial journal boards, served as editor for science conference papers. He is also serves as Member of Board of Director in three organisations that focuses on Science and technology and education broadly.
Dr. Ncebakazi Galada
Dr. Ncebakazi Galada Technology Transfer
PhD (UWC), MSc (UWC), BSc Hons (UWC), MBA (Stellenbosch) +27 (0) 47 502 2959; Skype: Ncebs G Dr Galada is currently working as the Technology Transfer Manager at Walter Sisulu University. Her portfolio involves, among other things, support for WSU researchers, innovators and entrepreneurs in the identification, development, protection and commercialisation of innovation products and intellectual property stemming from WSU research outputs. She also serves as a Steering Committee member of the Eastern Cape Regional Innovation Networking Platform.
Ms Vuyokazi Nibe
Ms Vuyokazi NibeIntellectual Property
MSc (WSU); +27 (0) 47 502 1948 Ms Vuyokazi Nibe has previously worked as a Technician with the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries & Forestry (Aquaculture projects) and as a Laboratory Assistant at Walter Sisulu University. She is one of the first staff members to join the OTT after its establishment. Ms Nibe currently serves as the Intellectual Property Administrator and provides administration support for the operations of the OTT and its stakeholders.
Mrs Nomafu Sigodi
Mrs Nomafu SigodiSenior Administrator: Grants and Research
PGD, HRM (Unisa), ND, HRM (NMMU), Cert. in Project Management (Damelin), +27 (0) 47 502 2647 Ms Nomafu Sigodi is responsible for administrative support to the Directorate. Her areas of administrative responsibility include research output, grants, research-associated study activities, research events organising, and researcher training.
Mr Yonela Mzingeli
Mr Yonela MzingeliResearch Finance
BCom Accounting (WSU); +27 (0) 47 502 2043 Mr Mzingeli is currently working as Research Finance Officer within the Directorate. His portfolio involves assisting researchers and postgraduate students with the administration of the financial support from internal and external research grants such as University Capacity Development Grant, TIA Seed Fund and Council-approved grants. He also provides financial administration support for the entire Directorate, and thus serves as a link between the Directorate, Finance Department of the University and grant beneficiaries.
Mr Lusanda Gwebelele
Mr Lusanda GwebelelePostgraduate Administrative
BTech Public Management (WSU), ND Commercial Practice (WSU),
+27 (0) 47 502 1947/2189, Skype: Gwebs-Zikhali
Mr L Gwebelele has previously acted as Higher Education Management Information System (HEMIS) Officer in Institutional Research & Planning Directorate, WSU. He currently serves as Postgraduate Administrative Assistant, responsible for key administrative services that support postgraduate students and supervisors. These include quality assurance, postgraduate students funding, supervisor-development programmes, and supervision support. Mr Gwebelele’s portfolio also includes interfacing with prospective postgraduate students.
Mr Sibonelo Lwandle
Mr Sibonelo LwandlePostgraduate Laboratory
ND IT (DUT); +27 (0) 47 502 2141
Mr Lwandle holds a National Diploma in Information Technology (Software Development) from the Durban University of Technology. Currently, he is working as a Lab Technician at the postgraduate laboratory. He provides assistance to postgraduate students regarding research-related software.
Mr Zukisa Pato
Mr Zukisa PatoTemporary Senior
ND Office Mgt Tech (WSU), Certificate, Business Management (Esayidi College); +27 (0) 47 502 2044
Mr Zukisa Pato holds a National Diploma in Office Management and Technology from Walter Sisulu University and Certificate in Business Management from Esayidi College. He has worked as an Assistant Administrator at the Department of Education. Though working as Temporary Senior Secretary, Mr Pato provides administration support to the Directorate and the entire research community at WSU.