Nobukhosi Ngwenya is the University of Cape Town-University of Basel Postdoctoral Research Fellow based at the African Centre of Cities. As part of this fellowship, Ngwenya is involved in teaching on the Master of Sustainable Urbanism (MSU) programme. She also assists Prof Edgar Pieterse on the Master of Sustainable Urban Practice (MSUP).

Ngwenya research interests are centred on urban morphology, with a particular focus on community-led planning, development and transformation of human settlements in South Africa. As an urban planner and community development practitioner, Nobukhosi has worked extensively with communities and community organisations providing innovative solutions to some of the most pressing challenges faced by residents living in informal settlements.

Ngwenya also has extensive experience developing stakeholder engagement frameworks for projects being implemented in several countries on the continent. Nobukhosi’s research focuses on the drivers of change within Cape Town’s human settlements fabric. Particular attention is paid to the strategies used by informal land occupiers to claim, and sustain their claims, to vacant and/or under-utilised land and buildings in the city. In so doing, her research examines the interconnections between the land question and questions of identity, citizenship and belonging historically and in the present. Her current research reflects on these findings in relation to questions around the positioning of the housing question in just transition debates.

She hold the following degrees: a Bachelor of Social Science (BSocSci) with majors in Psychology and Sociology (UCT); a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Development Studies (UCT); a Master of Philosophy (MPhil) in Development Studies (UCT); a Master of City and Regional Planning (UCT), and; a Doctor of Philosophy with specialisation in Planning. 


Book Chapters

  • Ngwenya, N. & von Lieres, B. (2021). Silent Citizens and Resistant Texts: Reading Hidden Narratives. In F. Anciano & J. Wheeler, (Eds.), Political Values & Narratives of Resistance: Social Justice and the Fractured Promises of Post-Colonial States. Oxon & NY: Routledge.

Journal Articles 

  • Ngwenya, N. (2022). Rhodes has Fallen, Now the Work Begins. In K. McClymont, (Ed.), Interface: The Fall of Statues? Contested Heritage, Public Space and Urban Planning, Planning Theory & Practice.
  • Ngwenya, N. & Cirolia, L. (2020). Conflicts between and within: The ‘Conflicting Rationalities’ of Informal Occupation in South Africa, Planning Theory & Practice.  
  • Cirolia, L., Ngwenya, N., Christianson, B. & Scheba, S. (2020). Retrofitting, Repurposing, and Re-placing: A Multi-Media Exploration of Vertical Occupation in Cape Town, South Africa, plaNext.

Conference Papers

  • Ngwenya, N. (2021). ‘Unlearning within the Canon: A Critical Reflection on Navigating ’Western’ Theory’s Eurocentricism in the Global South’, Dislocating Urban Studies: Rethinking, Shifting Practice, Online, 18-19 February.
  • Ngwenya, N. (2021b). Redefining Housing in Cape Town for a Post-Pandemic World, Royal Geographic Society-Institute of British Geographers Annual International Conference, 31 August – 3 September.
  • Ngwenya, N. (2021c). Representing Occupation Practices in Cape Town, South Africa: An Initial Reflection, Royal Geographic Society-Institute of British Geographers Annual International Conference, 31 August – 3 September.
  • Ngwenya, N. (2021d). The Politics of Possibilities in Cape Town’s Empty Buildings: The Case of Woodstock Hospital, Cape Town, “Emptiness: Ways of Seeing” Conference, Online, 29 September – 1 October.

Reports/Working Papers/Policy Briefs

Other Outputs