Introducing Prof Tanusha Raniga, the Interim DST/NRF South African Research Chair in Welfare and Social Development

The CSDA is excited to welcome Prof Tanusha Raniga as the Interim DST/NRF South African Research Chair in Welfare and Social Development, and looks forward to working on a range of exciting new research projects with her. Here we introduce Prof Raniga and outline her research focus for 2023.

Professor Tanusha Raniga trained as a social policy analyst at the former University of Natal and did her doctorate on youth sexuality and HIV/AIDS at University of KwaZulu-Natal. She is a recipient of the National Association of South African Education Institutions Young Up and Coming Award and the University of KwaZulu-Natal Award for Outstanding Contribution to the School of Applied Human Sciences in the College of Humanities.

Dr Raniga has served as Treasurer and a Board Member of the Association for Association of South African Social Work Education Institutions (ASASWEI) and the Association for Schools of Social Work in Africa (ASSWA). She served as the Chair of the Editorial Board of the Southern African Journal for Social Work and Social Development and is a member of the Editorial Board for the International Journal of Social Policy and Social Work. 

She says: “As an academic I have always embraced that there is a close connectedness between teaching, research and community engagement and I was instrumental in implementing a student training unit in the community of Bhambayi in the province of Kwa Zulu-Natal. I also thoroughly enjoy teaching social policy to social work students.”

Prof Raniga’s research focus is social protection policy, feminisation of poverty and sustainable livelihoods. She has published widely in national and international journals and has presented at Social Work conferences.  She is the co-editor of the books titled: The Tensions between Culture and Human Rights: Emancipatory Social Work and Afrocentricity in a Global World.

2023 plans

As the successor to the esteemed international scholar, Prof Patel, my research agenda includes working closely with Prof Patel in phase two of the Communities of Practice (CoP) for Social Systems Strengthening for Better Child Well-being outcomes. The key aim of the CoP is to develop implementation solutions to improve child well-being outcomes via a CoP model composed of social work, health, education and mental health professionals and paraprofessionals in selected urban wards in Johannesburg and in rural Limpopo. As such various symposiums, webinars and teacher workshop attendance and engagement will be planned to enhance scientific engagement, advocacy and community education for the period June 2023 to June 2024.

My ongoing international research partnerships with Dortmund University, Midland’s State University, UKZN and UJ will be one of my primary research activities. This is a research and teaching partnership initiated in 2017 with Prof Michael Boecker from Dortmund University (Germany) and Dr Maud Mthembu (UKZN) funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) that wrapped up in December 2022. In the second phase of the partnership, Dr Mildred Mushunje of Midlands State University (Zimbabwe) will join the Research Team. Empirical research on topics related to the consequences of globalisation and implications for developmental social work practice in Germany and Africa is the focus of the partnership. The partnership intends to strengthen networks with academics and Masters and PhD students from the four universities who will have the opportunity to experience a week of robust academic debate and engagement from 24 to 28 July 2023, hosted by UJ.

I will also be leading research testing key developmental welfare ideas in practice through an inter-country study titled: ‘Psychosocial and Economic Impact of Covid-19 Pandemic on Women Entrepreneurs: A Comparative Analysis of South Africa and Nigeria’. I am currently collaborating with Dr Ezeokoli from Babcock University on this research.

In addition, I am the principal investigator of a study in rural KZN with Dr Maud Mthembu from UKZN as a collaborator. The study is titled “Single Mother Households, State Cash Transfers and The Economic Well-Being of Families During Covid Times: The Case of Mbazwana (Umkhanyakude District) KZN, South Africa.” The data collection with 16 households was completed in November 2022 and in 2023 the data analysis phase will be completed. We will begin writing papers for publication to be submitted to national and international journals between April 2023 to September 2023.

I am also a collaborator on a research partnership with Ecological Intelligence/ Siyakhana /Exxaro School Programme which is led by Professor Michael Rudolph who is the Director of the Centre for Ecological Intelligence at UJ. The data collection in Tshwane schools, in collaboration with Prof Kathija Yassim from the UJ Faculty of Education, will commence in March 2023 and run until September 2023.

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