Political Scientist Dr Bhaso Ndzendze has been named the new head of department (HOD) within the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Johannesburg (UJ), effective from 01 June 2021.
Dr Ndzendze, who is also a senior lecturer in the department, is renowned for his pioneering work on the convergence of global trade, international politics and technologies. He has written an array of journal articles for internationally leading journals. He is a recipient of numerous awards and recognitions, including being among the Mail & Guardian Young 200 in 2019. At 25 years old, Dr Ndzendze is the youngest HOD at UJ and amongst the youngest to head a higher education department in the country.
Dr Ndzendze previously served in a number of roles, including most recently as the Research Director in the UJ Centre for Africa-China Studies (CACS). He also oversaw courses on technology dynamics in international relations, international law in international relations, political history, and Africa-China relations. He has authored and co-authored three books on artificial intelligence, the BRICS association and Africa-China relations.
UJ’s Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Prof Tshilidzi Marwala says he hopes that Dr Ndzendze’s meteoric rise as an academic and researcher would inspire other young students to achieve more.
“We have in recent years watched in awe as Ndzendze swiftly moved up the University’s ranks through hard work and dedication. He has firmly established himself as brilliant researcher and educator volumes,” says Prof Marwala.
“Dr Ndzendze is a deft academic and a wise and generous colleague who believes in collaborative work. It gives me great comfort to know that the department of Politics and International Relations will remain in such capable hands.”
A dynamic scholar and academic, Dr Ndzendze is modest about his appointment. “I believe that one is only as good as their last achievements. I see this new role as an opportunity to mentor more scholars who can, through impactful research and academic work, contribute towards efforts to solve the problems in our country and on the African continent, and even other parts of the world,” he says.
Dr Ndzendze’s opinions have appeared as articles, and he has delivered keynote addresses in numerous platforms. He is optimistic about the road ahead.
“We’re in the middle of a global pandemic and economic challenges, and at a point where the imperative for racial and social justice is really strong. In a polarised world fraught with problems such as racial prejudice, the wanton abuse of power and resources and social ills, the Department of Politics and International Relations has an important role to play through research-based knowledge and expertise. In some ways, the years leading up to the pandemic have been good years for UJ from the side of scientific discovery, and our impact on the world.”
He credits the many students and colleagues he has worked closely with for his success, especially his predecessor in the department, Prof Suzy Graham.
“I have had the privilege of working with some amazing people. Through them, I’ve learned about leadership with compassion. I am impressed by the number of things that Prof Graham has done and has left in good shape. I will always be grateful for that, and plan to carry on with the many things that work well, while also continually improving what we do and how we do it, as needs and demands shift.”
Dr Ndzendze was born and raised in Umtata, in Eastern Cape. He completed his Ph.D. in International Relations at the University of the Witwatersrand (2020), with his dissertation examining the interaction of institutional, democratic, economic, and systematic variables for security outcomes in interstate wars among East African countries in the late twentieth century. His research and supervision areas include global trade, democracy, international conflicts, and technology.
“As an international University of choice, anchored in Africa, dynamically shaping the future, UJ is one of the top places in the continent for doing cutting-edge science, and we will continue to maintain that eminence. At the same time, we also have to push on issues of diversity, issues of racial and social justice, and of work-life balance,” says Dr Ndzendze.