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Meet Our Team

The Children's Institute is made up of a multi-disciplinary team of research and support staff and supplemented by a pool of contract research assistants and postgrad students and three Honorary Professors. Staff members have qualifications in public health, psychology, sociology, information sciences, law, public policy and development, political science, and social work. Their experience covers statistical analysis of large administrative datasets and household survey data; social and legal research; ECD policy and programming; local and indigenous knowledge; and participatory methodologies for doing research with vulnerable children. The Children's Institute is committed to building a cohort of researchers skilled in the area of child-centred and policy-oriented research, and staff supervise post-graduate students from a range of disciplines.


Shanaaz Mathews 

Expertise: Children & violence, child protection, child abuse, gender policy, gender-based violence, evidence-based programming


Katharine Hall

Expertise: Social policy, child poverty & inequality,social grants, households & mobility, indicators
 +27 21 650 1441

Lizette Berry

Expertise: Social policy, early childhood development, child protection; child poverty
 +27 21 650 1462

Lucy Jamieson

Expertise: Child rights; participatory democracy; governance; law reform & policy development; child protection
 +27 21 650 1466

Paula Proudlock

Expertise: Child rights; legislative review; law reform,democracy and governance; socio-economic rights for children
 +27 21 650 1442


Mbonisi Nyathi

Mbonisi Nyathi

Expertise: Administrative law and constitutional law
 +27 21 650 7391

Neziswa Titi

Expertise: African-centred Psychology, child-centric research, children's rights and advocacy
 +27 21 650 1331

Malibongwe Gwele

Malibongwe Gwele

Expertise: early childhood development, ECD policy and programming, local and indigenous knowledge, perspectives and practices in the early years, monitoring and evaluation research.
 +27 21 650 1181

Lauren October

Lauren October

Expertise: xenophobia, youth violence, gender-based violence and masculinity, school violence and intersections of violence against women and children.
 +27 21 650 3792


Sityhilelo Gwenxane

Sityhilelo Gwenxane

Expertise:Gang desistance, child violence, psychology of child & perpetrator violence, mental disorders and child suicide risk
 +27 21 650 1473


Post vacant


Lori Lake

Expertise: Knowledge translation, materials development, teaching and children’s rights
 +27 21 650 1465



Zelda Warrin
 +27 21 650 1473


Zerina Matthews
 +27 21 650 1468



Isabbel Cooper
 +27 21 650 1467


Kevin Ernstzen
+27 21 650 3890



Ria Reis 
Medical University of Leiden and University of Amsterdam

Expertise: Children & violence, child protection, child abuse, gender policy, gender-based violence, evidence-based programming


Tara Collins
Associate Professor, School of Child and Youth Care, Faculty of Community Services, Ryerson University
Expertise: Child rights, human rights, child and youth participation, monitoring


Lorraine van Blerk

Lorraine van Blerk
Professor of Human Geography, School of Social Sciences, University of Dundee

Expertise: Social justice, (in)equalities and poverty reduction; refugee livelihoods; co-produced research and participatory methodologies; children, youth and families.



Zulfah Albertyn-Blanchard

Zulfah Albertyn-Blanchard  
Study Title: The spatial distribution of injury mortality of children in the western geographic service area, City of Cape Town (2011-2015), The PhD research project will contribute to the development of increased understanding into injury morality during childhood, an underexplored area in developing country contexts. The project will contribute a novel approach: spatial mapping of road traffic injuries for the district that will allow for evidence-based intervention development beyond public health.

Natasha Hendricks

Natasha Hendricks
Study Title: The Intergenerational Impact of Child Sexual Abuse among Mothers in South Africa To explore and understand mothers’ childhood and experience(s) of CSA and how they have conceptualised it to affect their mothering and to explore mother/child relationship dynamics in terms of positive/negative parenting practices and methods of discipline. relationship dynamics and parenting practices and methods of discipline - and to explore the children’s increased risk for violence exposure

Natasha Rhode

Natasha Rhode
Study Title: Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths in a peri-urban setting in South Africa -Aiming to improve survival post discharge This study aims to describe the profile of SUDIs occurring outside of health facilities in the Cape Town Metro West area who are admitted to Salt River Mortuary over a three-year period from 1st January 2014 to 31st December 2016 and to develop a follow up programme post discharge for the at risk infant mother dyad.


Theuns Jacobs
Study Title: A descriptive analysis of health service utilization of at-home natural deaths among children younger than five in 2018 in the Metro West, Cape Town.

The study aims to describe health service utilisation from the Child Death Review data and its association to environmental factors, population characteristics, and health behaviour. The study will also describe pathways to care through an analysis of  health seeking behaviour of at-risk households and factors associated with delays in health care seeking.

Themba Matoetoe
Study Title: Stalking prevalence among nursing students in Lesotho

The study investigates the prevalence of stalking among a sample of students and its consequences in Lesotho

Sashen Naidoo
Study Title: An exploratory study on the therapeutic alliance between  student support officers and students presenting with substance abuse challenges at a higher education institution in Cape Town