Dr. Thulisile Mphambukeli is currently a senior lecturer at the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University of the Free State (UFS), South Africa. She obtained a Bachelor in Theology at Faith Bible College, a Bachelor of Community and Development Studies and Master of Town and Regional Planning at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, and a PhD in Urban and Regional Planning from UFS. She was a Fellow of The World Academy of Sciences in Italy (hosted at University of Konstanz, Germany) and a University of the Free State Rector’s Prestige Scholar. Dr. Mphambukeli is an alumnus of the Brown International Advance Research Institute (BIARI) at Brown University, USA, and the Public Affairs Research Institute, University of Witwatersrand. She is a recipient of many research grants and awards, such as the BRICS Think Tank Academic Forum Grant, NRF Knowledge Interchange and Collaboration (KIC) Individual Travel Grant (South Africa), the Herrenhausen Conference Travel Grant (Germany), and BRICS Think Tank Academic Forum Seed Funding (South Africa). She has published extensively in local and international journals.
Some of Dr. Mphambukeli’s recent publications include, “Migration, Marginalisation and Oppression in Mangaung,” (with Nel V.J) in Contested Belonging: The Political Economy of Crisis, Identity, and Migration in Postcolonial Southern African (Springer, 2017), and “A Thriving Coal Mining City in Crisis? The governance and spatial planning challenges at Witbank, South Africa” in Land Use Policy (2017).
Rights to the city and security have remained elusive for a number of people, especially immigrants (Yiftachel, 2011) in urban informal settlements of South Africa. As the urbanscape of inequality fraught with insecurity, racism and classism widens, immigrant informal settlers' everyday life is engulfed by covert and overt forms of violent crime, including politically charged service protests and xenophobia (De Visser and Powell, 2012). In these settlements, where mob justice has taken over formal policing, urban immigrant informal settlers navigate these everyday emergencies through both conventional and unconventional coping strategies that have strong implications for the incorporation of social justice and peacebuilding in post-apartheid South Africa. But, many scholars and policy makers are largely focusing on inequalities at the echelon of South African society (Du Plessis and Landman, 2002; Pieterse and van Donk, 2008). Consequently, less is known of the ways in which these informal dwellers strategise, adapt to and adjust the security architecture of their crime-ridden urbanscape as well as the implications of these negotiations, adaptations and adjustments for the incorporation of social justice in planning and peacebuilding in post-apartheid South Africa. What further complicates the situation is that security study generally, and in South Africa particularly, is silent about the situated everyday experiences of immigrant informal settlers' as they navigate and strategize to access security (Ranasinghe, 2012; Goldstein, 2010). For instance, less is known about 'vernacular security' – the stories that immigrant informal settlers tell about how they understand and experience (in) security in the context of everyday life (Lister and Jarvis, 2013). Also, the blurred boundary between the 'normal citizen' and those considered 'illegal' immigrants by those who claim to be South African citizens and the bureaucrats also contributes to the quagmire.