Political Science
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Elias Phaahla (MA and PhD in Political Science)

Elias Phaahla obtained both his MA and PhD in Political Science from the University of Stellenbosch. Working under the guidance of Prof Janis van deWesthuizen, Elias explored the welfare trajectories of countries in the global South with specific reference to South Africa and Mauritius. He completed his doctoral studies in 2014 and he is currently with the Helen Suzman Foundation in Johannesburg, where he is working as a Researcher. He will be joining UNISA's Institute for African Renaissance Studies starting from the 1st of October 2015 to begin his Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in the same field.

 Michael Ferendino (BA International Studies)

Michael is currently the Group Chief Risk Officer for AECI Limited in Johannesburg. Prior to this he headed up Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) and Business Continuity Management (BCM) for Rand Refinery, which was a natural progression from his role as an ERM consultant for Marsh (incorporating Alexander Forbes RiskServices). He is also an Executive Committee member of the Institute of Risk Management South Africa's (IRMSA) Risk Intelligence Committee which informs the risk fraternity and corporate South Africa about internal and external risks affecting the country.

Michael completed his Masters degree in International Studies from the University of Stellenbosch in 2012. This is where he realised the crucial role that a solid political and economic risk understanding plays in evaluating the full spectrum of risks faced by corporations with a strong international presence. Being able to integrate his external risks background with extensive knowledge of internal business risks makes him well versed in all aspects of Enterprise Risk Management.

 His key risk-related achievements include writing and presenting the first ever South African Risk report ('South Africa Risks 2015') with world-renowned strategic futurist and scenario planner, Clem Sunter. Michael was also the winner of the South African 'Up and Coming Risk Manager of the Year' award at the South African Risk Management Awards Ceremony which took place in October 2013. This award is for Risk Managers with between 5 and 10 years of risk experience and is only one of two individual awards at the annual ceremony.


Daniel Zmak (BA in International Studies)

After finishing his BA degree in International Studies at Stellenbosch University in 2009, Daniel spent a year in South Korea teaching English.  He now lives in Greenwich Village NYC - just around the corner from Washington Square Park - where he works in sales for a business-to-business conferencing company.


Marina Reyskens (BA Honours in Political Science)

Marina completed her undergraduate B.A. (International Studies) and B.A. Honours (Political Science) at Stellenbosch University. During the second semester of 2011 she went on an exchange at l'Institut d'études politiques (Sciences-Po) in Paris, France. After completing her thesis on piracy in Somalia and Southeast Asia, she graduated with an M.A. (International Studies) in March 2012. She is currently an Intern at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) in Cape Town, with the Arms ManagemenProgramme. So far, she has worked on a publication entitled: "Negotiating an Arms Trade Treaty: A Toolkit for African States" - which was launched at the UN in New York in July 2012. Other research work includes the link between piracy and the international arms trade, as well as the feasibility of using ICTs in humanitarian work - with specific focus on disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) in Uganda and South Sudan.


Amore Rossouw (BA Honours in Political Science)

Amore has in the short time since graduating with Honours in Political Science in December 2011, gained experience in the Local Government Sector, the South African Parliament, and in the NGO sector.

Local Government experience occurred while completing an internship with a company that works at the private-public interface in the City of Cape Town. Amore received much exposure to the South African Parliament while concurrently completing an internship with a Parliamentary Monitoring, Political Consultancy and Lobbying Company. While completing the latter internship she obtained first-hand experience in the South African Parliament and was greatly exposed to the MPs of both the ruling party as well as opposition parties.

 Currently Amore is in the NGO sector working at the FW de Klerk Foundation. She works predominantly for their Centre for Constitutional Rights. Amore is gaining much experience attuned to Law and Constitutional Rights. Having her work published and being able to make a difference - no matter how small, has made working in the NGO sector has been the most rewarding thus far.


Matthew Haden (BA International Studies)

Matthew graduated (cum laude) in 2010 with a BA in International Studies at Stellenbosch University - achieving a triple major in French, Political Science and History.

After graduating from Stellenbosch, Matthew went on to do his Masters in Development Studies at the University of Cambridge.  He is currently working with the United Nations International Organization for Migration in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.  He also does consulting work and paper writing for different businesses and development networks looking to work in developing countries.


Alexa du Plessis

Alexa du Plessis, a former SU Politics student is now a Foresight Researcher, for Fast Future Research, a boutique consulting company. Fast Future specialises in scenario building, and future planning for organizations and companies - a powerful way to anticipate change and be ready for what the future holds. Alexa lives in London and enjoys travelling both for work and pleasure.  She hopes to bring her understanding of scenario planning and foresight work to conflict mediation and peace building in the future, and return to work in Africa.

Alexa completed her undergraduate and honours in International Relations through the Politics Department at Stellenbosch University, majoring in Politics and English and graduating with a B+. She maintained an academic focus on conflict in Africa and went on to complete a MLitt in Peace and Conflict Studies under Roger McGinty and Ian Taylor at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, graduating with a first class pass. While at St Andrews, she spent tie in Rwanda for her dissertation on post-conflict Rwanda as a developmental state, and in Bosnia and Herzegovina conducting field work for her paper on grassroots peace building in the Balkans.

Alexa's passion is for Africa, and she has spent time living and working in Malawi at the Krizevac Project, and backpacked through East Africa, enjoying the natural beauty the region has to offer as well as the happy people and diverse cultures. She has also worked for ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainable Development, and a short stint at Organization Development Africa, a management consulting company in Cape Town.


André Siebrits (MA International Studies)

I completed my BA International Studies, BA Hons. Political Science, and MA International Studies degrees at Stellenbosch University, and during my time there I was provided with a thorough and balanced education, for which I cannot thank the university and its dedicated staff enough, in particular the lecturers at the Department of Political Science. The MA International Studies degree in particular enabled me to successfully apply to the Australian National University in Canberra (the highest ranked research university in the southern hemisphere), where I am currently working on a PhD in International Relations at the School of Social Sciences. It also enabled me to win two hard to come by scholarships, the ANU International PhD Student Scholarship and the Australian Government International Postgraduate Research Scholarship, which enable me to fund my studies. I am focusing on World-Systems Analysis and the work of Immanuel Wallerstein in particular, and I am building on the knowledge I gained at Stellenbosch in this field. To anyone who is considering Stellenbosch University as the venue for their tertiary education, I can speak from experience and highly recommend this excellent institution. An education there will open the doors to the rest of the world, and enable you to become an informed and empowered global citizen.


Renee Matteson (BA International Studies)

Renee completed her BA International Studies in 2007.  She is currently working on her MA in International Peace and Conflict Resolution with an African concentration at American University in Washington, DC.  She will graduate in May of 2011.  In addition to her studies, Renee is an intern at the Fund for Peace.  This organization is best known for publishing the annual Failed State Index in Foreign Policy magazine.  Renee works in the conflict assessment division, as well as focusing on early warning assessment.  She is currently working on the Universal Network of Local Knowledge (UNLOCK) project, which focuses on using local information to document trends regarding different aspects of state failure.  Renee also writes country profiles, focusing on how state failure has changed in the last year in a given country.


Evelien Storme (MA International Studies)

Evelien currently works as the Head of the International Section for Westminster Explained (the training division of The House Magazine, which is the weekly magazine for the Houses of Parliament in the United Kingdom). Besides monitoring political trends and policies; it also supports government departments and organisations from the wider public sector in becoming more efficient in the work they do. Evelien is charged with developing bespoke learning programmes for international governments and other organisations. Depending on the learning needs we identify during our consultancy work with a particular client, we design programmes on policy making, the Westminster model, parliamentary scrutiny or even on skills like negotiating, lobbying and working together with stakeholders. Recently, she worked with a Chinese delegation on anti-corruption and also had members of the Iraqi government over to London for a programme on Good Governance and Parliamentary Scrutiny. She has also started working on the European Union with both member and accession states. What she likes most about her job is the combination of working in a political-international environment, learning a lot about good governance and developing a taste for business acumen in the process. Stellenbosch prepared me very well for this international encounter and it is great to complement the academic background with the skills you pick up by actually doing it!


Luzelle Yon (MPhil Political Management)

Luzelle completed a BA International Studies and MPhil (Political Studies) degrees in 2005 and 2007, respectively. After completing her studies, Luzelle worked at a research-focused management consultancy in Cape Town, where most of her work involved nation-building project coordination at the South African Parliament. She currently works for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) office in Cape Town. She also serves on the Board of Trustees for the Media24 Rachel's Angels Trust, a black economic and leadership empowerment programme that partners with students at Stellenbosch University and selected disadvantaged schools in the Western Cape province.


Simon Freemantle (MA International Studies)

Simon completed his Masters in International Studies, half of which was completed on exchange at the University of Amsterdam. Straight after graduating he joined the research and strategy firm Emerging Market Focus, working on the Africa team and concentrating on the environment of business in Sub-Saharan African states for SA firms and multinationals interested in market entry. In 2007 he helped start consulting firm Frontier Advisory, where he headed the Africa research team and focused, amongst other factors, on Africa's political and economic environment relevant to the private sector, developments in African capital markets, private equity opportunities and business development. Since April 2009 he is working for Standard Bank in Kenya (CFC Stanbic) as the East African economist for the Group Economics Research Division.


Nomkosi Mhlanga (BA International Studies)

I am currently in Geneva, Switzerland attempting at cracking the working world of international relations. I am working with the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (The IFRC), the largest humanitarian organisation to date which provides relief to the most vulnerable in times of natural disasters. The earthquake Sichuan was the Federation biggest 'job', which was quite tricky as the government did not want external aid so as to ensure that they wouldn't owe any Governments anything. Governments like these make humanitarian work very difficult, which is one of the many things that one learns from working in the humanitarian field. I am an intern in their international relations department and my responsibilities involve running the events calendar (searching for international events that are of humanitarian interest to the Red Cross), attending meetings and conferences on international issues and challenges at the UN, Inter-parliamentary Union, UNHCR, ILO, IOM amongst others. It has been great and as been a real eye opener into the actual happenings of state and non-state interaction on the global platform. It is also very interesting when it comes to adopting resolutions to see which states stick together in terms of the votes. It is often a clear divide between developed and developing countries. Having studied the degree that I did (BA International Studies 2005-2007) has been the essential foundation to the work I have been exposed to here which ranges from human rights, female genital mutilation to international humanitarian law and much more. Geneva also has a tremendous amount to offer for graduates of International Relations, in terms of further education, internship programmes and employment. Knowing as many languages as possible is also a great asset in the world of international relations and being here has helped me tremendously in polishing off my French before I tackle Spanish, as another one of the official United Nations languages.


Walter Lotze (MA International Studies)

I did my undergrad in Stellenbosch from 2002 - 2004; BA International Relations. I then did an exchange through the Department with Sodertorns Hogskola in Stockholm, Sweden from January - June 2005, and returned to finish my Honours in Political Science with the Department that year. In 2006 I completed my Masters in Political Science with the Department. Through the Department I also obtained a scholarship to commence with my PhD studies in International Relations in St Andrews, Scotland. In 2007 I completed my residency year in St Andrews for the PhD. In January 2008 I was appointed as a Senior Programme Officer with the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD), based in South Africa, where I work on peacekeeping and peacebuilding in African conflict zones. I currently am with ACCORD, and am completing my PhD with the University of St Andrews. Stellenbosch provided me with the skills to analyse and be critical of what is going on in the world around me, and to challenge and provide my own solutions. Knowledge cannot be taught, but you can be given the skills with which to seek it, to understand it, to challenge it, and to redefine it. I guess that is what my time as a Matie in the PolSci Department gave me. 


 The following is a representative sample of where some of our alumni are currently employed. All of them either have an honours or a masters degree or both in International Studies and Political Science

  • Abrahams, Kelly - Social Science Coordinator, Stellenbosch University
  • Alvarenga, Daniel - Journalist, Reuters
  • Azarch, Anna - PhD Candidate, Energy Research Centre, University of Cape Town
  • Bailey, Heindri - Owner, Managing for Excellence
  • Benkenstein, Alex -  Senior Researcher, South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA)
  • Bertelsmann-Scott, Talitha - Consultant, BSC
  • Baumann, Chiara - District implementation, City of Cape Town
  • Bubenzer, Friederike - Senior Project Leader, Great Horn Desk and Transitional Justice Fellowship Programme, Institute for Justice and reconciliation
  • Burden, Kevin - Lead Data Analyst, Man
  • Cameron, Christopher - Executive Lead, Deloitte Consulting
  • Corkin, Lucy - Class of Programme, Rand Merchant Bank
  • Dobson, Lesley - International Relations Advisor, Greenfield Management Solutions
  • Du Preez, Mari-Lise - Programme Manager, South African Institute of International Affairs
  • Dunkin, Cameron - Director of Resource Development and Operations, CAP/AIDS Network
  • Esterhuyse, Harrie - Research Analyst and Deputy Editor, Centre for Chinese Studies, Stellenbosch University
  • Emmertsen, Maj - Praktikant, Royal Danish Embassy
  • Ferendinos, Michael - Risk and Assurance Co-ordinator, Rand Refinery Limited
  • Flaatten, Nils - Chief Executive Officer, Wesgro
  • Freysen, Rouxle - Researcher and Media, City of Cape Town
  • Goulding, Lynne - Arup Foresight, Innovation and Incubation (FII), Arup
  • Greyling, Minette - Operations Program Manager: Financial Service and Resources, Accenture
  • Hanke, Nora - Chairperson of the South African Western Cape Chapter, Young Water Professionals
  • Hansen, Camilla - Solvang Advisor, Norad
  • Hodzi, Obert - Governance Officer, Humanist Institute for Co-operation with Developing Countries (HIVOS)
  • Holager, Emma - Visa and Consular Officer - MFA, Royal Norwegian Embassy in Kampala, Uganda
  • Holtz, Brigitte - Regional Finance & Operations Manager, CIMA South Africa
  • Jennings, Will - Faculty Associate at the Howard Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy, University of Tennessee
  • Jessen, Lone - Higher Executive Officer, Norwegian Ministry of Trade and Industry
  • Kamphuis, Anneke - Consultant, Bain & Company
  • Karlsen, Stian Tvede - Research Assistant for The Democratic Alliance
  • Kriel, Hennie - Subeditor: Night Office at Die Burger (Media24)
  • Kearsey, Stuart - Analyst, U.S. Embassy, Pretoria
  • Labuschagne, Bernice - Personal Assistant, Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning
  • Lawack, Marvin - 3rd Secretary: Political, South African High Commission in Mozambique
  • Leslie, Mike - Consultant, Palmer Development Group
  • Lutz, Barend - Political Risk Analyst, Red24
  • Martinsen, Mari - Consultant Renewable Energy, Royal Norwegian Embassy, Accra
  • Masiko, Nomathamsanqa - Intern (Conflict management & peace building division), Institute for Security Studies (ISS)
  • Mechnig, Christopher - Team Leader, AV, Main SortierService GmbH
  • Moen, Siri - HR Consultant at Aker Solutions
  • Msukwa, Chimwemwe - Independent Consultant, Lilongwe, Malawi
  • Nedrebø, Øystein - Lecturer (BA Peace and Conflict Studies), Bjørknes College
  • Orr, Thomas - Commercial Manager, African Parks Network
  • Oswald, Rikus - Resourcing Analyst, Anglo American
  • Pettersson, Heidi - Assistant Editor (International Affairs), Chatham House
  • Pringle, Catherine - Advisor / Consultant, Sustainability Pty Ltd
  • Qobo, Mzukisi - Political Risk Consultant, Strategy Advisor, Business Day Columnist, University of Pretoria
  • Røen, Tomas Alfred - Lecturer of International Relations, Bjørknes University College
  • Rothkegel, Lisa - Project Officer, Democratic Alliance
  • Sandve, Oyvind - Sales Manager, Marine Aluminium AS
  • Solberg, Eirik - Sales, Enter Forsikring
  • Stander, Genevieve - Student Assistant/Coder, Manifesto Research Group/Comparative Manifestos Project (MRG/CMP)
  • Steenekamp, Cindy Lee - Manager: Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences, Stellenbosch University
  • Storø, Christine - Valgkomiteen/Election committee, Landsrådet for Norges barne- ogngdomsorganisasjoner (LNU)
  • Taylor, Esmari - Research Admin Assistant, University of Cape Town
  • Van Jaarsveld, Aldri - Manager/Partner, Black Khaki Advertising
  • Van Schalkwyk, Gina - Communications Advisor, USAID Southern Africa Trade Hub
  • Voortman, James - Policy Manager, Australian Automobile Association
  • Wenhold, Marece - Director: Integrated Programme Management, Department of Rural Development and Land Reform
  • Wessels, Ricardo - Analyst, Private​