Political Science
Welcome to Stellenbosch University

Dr Nicola de Jager


BA Hons (University of Stellenbosch); MA (University of Stellenbosch); PhD (University of Pretoria)

Teachi​​ng specialisation

Southern African politics; South African politics; comparative politics and democracy.

Research in​​terests

South African politics; comparative southern African politics; political culture; religion and political development; dominant party systems; democracy; liberation movements.


Nicola de Jager (PhD in Political Science, University of Pretoria) is a senior lecturer at the Department of Political Science, Co-Editor-in-Chief of Commonwealth and Comparative Politics and Research Associate of the Transformation Research Unit (TRU). TRU is a research unit focused on projects dealing with transformations from autocracy to democracy and the reverse, conditions for the persistence of democracy, and the quality of government. Nicola has edited two books: South African Politics published by Oxford University Press and Friend or Foe? Dominant party systems in southern Africa (co-editor Prof. Pierre du Toit) published by UCT Press and the UNU Press. She has published in a number of peer-reviewed journals, including Democratization, Taiwan Journal of Democracy and the Journal of Contemporary African Studies on topics of religion and politics, democratisation, South African politics and southern African politics. She became a nationally rated researcher (NRF-rated) in 2014.

Find out more


Current r​​esearch projects

Understanding the influence of Christianity and democratic development, with a focus on South Africa's democratic development.



De Jager, N. (ed.) 2015. South African Politics: An Introduction. Cape Town: Oxford University Press Southern Africa.

De Jager, N. and Du Toit, P. (eds.) 2013.  Friend or Foe? Dominant party systems in Southern Africa: Insights from the developing world. United Nations University Press and UCT Press.

Articles in Refereed Journals 

De Jager, N. and De Jager, P. 2019. ‘Evaluating the potential of Protestant Christianity to stimulate democracy and good governance in sub-Saharan Africa through the valuing of the individual,’ Democratization, 26 (2): 225-246.

De Jager, N. 2017. ‘Protestantism as Conducive and Syncretism as a Hindrance to South Africa’s Democratic Development,’ Taiwan Journal of Democracy, 13 (1): 13-33.

Van Beek, U. and de Jager, N. 2017. ‘South Africa in the regional context: The elusiveness of democratic consolidation,’ Taiwan Journal of Democracy, 13 (1):163-173.

De Jager, N. and Sebudubudu, D. 2017. ‘Towards understanding Botswana and South Africa's ambivalence to liberal democracy,’ Journal of Contemporary African Studies, 35 (1):15-33.

De Jager, N. and Steenekamp, C.L. 2016. 'The changing political culture of the African National Congress,' Democratization, 23 (5): 919-939. 

De Jager, N. and Musuva, C. 2016. 'The influx of Zimbabweans into South Africa: a crisis of governance that spills over'. Africa Insight, 8(1): 15-30. 

Hågensen, L. and de Jager, N. 2016. 'Xenophobic attacks in South Africa: The case of De Doorns 2009'. Strategic Review, 38 (1): 107-125. 

Du Toit, P. and de Jager, N. 2014. 'South Africa's Dominant-Party System in Comparative Perspective'. Taiwan Journal of Democracy, 10 (2): 93-113. 

De Jager, N. and Meintjes, C.H. 2013. 'Winners, losers and the playing field in southern Africa's 'democratic darlings': Botswana and South Africa compared. Politikon, 40(2): 233-253. 

Hodzi, O., Hartwell, L. and de Jager, N. 2012. 'Unconditional aid: Assessing the impact of China's developmental assistance to Zimbabwe'. South Africa Journal of International Affairs, 19(1): 79-103. 

Hopstock, N. and de Jager, N. 2011. 'Understanding xenophobia in South Africa'. Strategic Review for Southern Africa, XXXIII (1):120-139. 

De Jager, N. 2009. 'No 'New'ANC?' Politikon, 36 (2): 275-288. 


Book Chapters 

De Jager, N. and Steenekamp, C. 2018. ‘Political Radicalism: Responding to the Legitimacy Gap in South Africa’. In Van Beek, U. (editor) Democracy under threat: A crisis of legitimacy? Palgrave

De Jager, N. and Parkin, A. 2017. ‘Whither the ANC’s dominance? Declining dominance, rising hegemony’. In Thuynsma, H. (editor) Political Parties. Johannesburg: HSRC and KAS.

De Jager, N. and Adams-Jack, U. 2017. Stellenbosch University’s ‘born-frees’: Responsibly engaged. In Lambrechts, D. and Fourie, P. Modern state development, capacity and institutions. Stellenbosch: SUNMedia.

De Jager, N. and Taylor, I. 2015. 'Democratic contestation in Botswana'. In Metelits, C. and Matti, S. (editors) Democratic contestation on the margins: regimes in small African Countries. New York: Lexington Books. 

De Jager, N. 2013. 'South Africa: A democracy in the balance' in De Jager, N. and Du Toit, P. Friend or Foe? Dominant party systems in Southern Africa: Insights from the developing world. Tokyo, New York & Paris: United Nations University Press and Cape Town: UCT Press. 

Du Toit, P. and De Jager, N. 2013. 'Conclusion: Resources and the politics of dominant party systems' in De Jager, N. and Du Toit, P. Friend or Foe? Dominant party systems in Southern Africa: Insights from the developing world. Tokyo, New York & Paris: United Nations University Press and Cape Town: UCT Press. 

De Jager, N. 2010. 'Democracy in South Africa's Dominant Party System' in Lawson, K. (editor) Political Parties and Democracy. Santa Barbara, CA and Oxford, UK: Praeger.

Opinion Pieces in the Popular Media

 'State companies can't help development if the state is a partisan player', The Conversation

'In free speech debates, consider Christianity's history of liberalism'The Conversation

'Analysis: SA's national elections since 1994', Eyewit​​ness News

'Why elections in Botswana and South Africa can be 'free' but not 'fair', Democracy in Africa

‘South Africa is in danger of becoming a radicalised society- again’, The Conversation

Fellowships and Awards

Fellow of the African-Oxford Program, University of Oxford (2018)

Rector’s Award for General performance (2014)

NRF Rated Researcher (since 2014)

Andrew Mellon Foundation Early Researcher Career Programme (MERC) (2011 -2013)

ERASMUS MUNDUS Action 2 SAPIENT scholarship (2011)

Golden Key Society (since 2010)