ATHABILE XUBA has an interest in understanding the connections people have with the ocean. He has done research on the indigenous knowledge system and adaptive estuary management with a particular focus on the socio-cultural dynamics of the Sundays River Estuary.

Athabile has served at Nelson Mandela University for four years working for the Department of Student Housing, Living and Learning Programmes. He also holds a Bachelor of Education Degree in Mathematics and Sciences and Postgraduate Diploma in Maritime Studies. He is currently studying Masters in Maritime Management. 

LUNGUI CHARLES VONZA holds honours degree in anthropology and currently a Masters candidate at the Nelson Mandela University, department of Sociology and Anthropology.

My research interests are anchored on human-environment relationship (Environmental Anthropology) and the way of life of people. I enjoy working within community contexts, learning, and experiencing the natural way of life to understand their interpretation of the environment they live in and the world beyond.

I strongly believe that to understand the world, one must understand its population not from ethnocentric perspective but from the cultural relativism. This is because each environment creates its own population, and socio-cultural systems that are unique and which are passed down the generations creating complex web of the community heritage.

DR SHARON GABIE graduated with her PhD from the Department of Anthropology at Rhodes University, South Africa. Her research interest is among the First Nations people, the Khoe and San people of southern Africa, where she focussed her doctoral studies on 'particular claims to indigeneity' in South Africa post-1994. The theses is titled Izit? Hoe lyk hulle? Kom ons ǂXoa – A South African Khoe-San narrative’. In her doctoral work she marries identity politics and personhood at an individual and collective level with the political economy of particular territories, unpacking the relationship between citizens and the state at both the micro and macro levels.

Dr Gabie is an Applied Anthropologist among Khoe and San groups, and she is a lived experience advisor. In 2023, she joined the Chair of Ocean Cultures and Heritage at the Nelson Mandela University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa, as a postdoctoral fellow and research assistant for the Chair. In her current study, she investigates the role of the First Nations people, their intangible cultural heritage with the ocean and their involvement in the blue economy.

DR ELENA PEREZ-ALVARO is a Lecturer in Cultural and Natural Heritage at UNIR University, Spain, and a Research Associate at Nelson Mandela University, South Africa. She is also an Expert Member of the ICOMOS International Committee on Underwater Cultural Heritage, an Expert Member of the ICOMOS International Committee on Intangible Cultural Heritage, and part of the ICOMOS Sustainable Development Goals Working Group. Dr Perez-Alvaro is also Chair of the Underwater Heritage Working Group of UK Blue Shield. Her main research is a holistic multidisciplinary study creating links between aspects of heritage, identity, and society, the past, and the future.
She is the author of several articles in specialised journals and books in diverse fields. She has also published with Routledge the monography Underwater Cultural Heritage: Ethical Concepts and Practical Challenges. Watch my video explaining underwater cultural heritage.

EMMA JANE DICKSON-BOW is a PhD candidate at Rhodes University in the Department of Anthropology. She holds a master’s degree in Anthropology and an Honours degree in History from Rhodes University. Her passion lies with heritage and memory studies focusing on what has been remembered and what has been forgotten, over time and in the present. 

Emma’s research interests are in heritage and memory. Her work has focused on shipwreck heritage and social memory along the Eastern Cape’s coastal belt known as the ‘Sunshine Coast’ (East London to Port Elizabeth/Gqeberha). 

A passion of Emma’s is photography which she can be seen doing alongside research in the field. 

JENTRIX CHOCHY SAKWA currently pursuing a masters in anthropology at Nelson Mandela University a research focus on the role of traditional knowledge system in shaping the gendered ocean heritage in Lamu archipelago. This topic is intended to widen the understanding of not only tangible heritage but also explore further on common place heritage which tends to be ignored. Her research has been centred around Lamu, Kenya where she has conducted ethnographic research with the local communities. Her area of focus being marine and underwater cultural heritage encompassing ocean cultures and heritage. She greatly emphasizes the documentation of these heritages as they are facing threat of extinction due to modernisation. She is also a scuba diver with Open Water certification and her interests in underwater cultural heritage in Africa is among her competency. Additionally, she has been currently involved in three UNESCO training in UCH Africa region.

BAYANDA LAQWELA Holds a Bachelor of Social Work and a Master of Arts in Sociology; in addition, he is currently pursuing his doctoral studies in Sociology. His research is linked to the DSI-NRF South African Research Chair in Ocean Cultures and Heritage, under Prof Rose Boswell. 

His current PhD research explores the cultural services, provisioning services and accessibility to rural coasts/oceans as they contribute to the livelihood of rural people. His fieldwork takes place in the Wild Coast, particularly in Mpondoland communities.

His other research interests are in youth-subcultures and has co-authored a paper on the subject. 

NOLUYOLO J GOQOZA-QWESHA holds a Master of Social Science Degree from Rhodes University and is currently pursuing a PhD with the Department of Sociology.  

My current PHD research is on the analysis of cultural practises within the three seaports of Eastern Cape (Port of Ngqura, Port of East London and Port of Gqeberha). I have wide research interests on the politics of gender, sociology of labour markets, and political economy with particular reference to the neoliberal restructuring of state owned enterprises. 

TERRY ADAMS, is a PhD Anthropology candidate at Nelson Mandela University.

Presently, her doctoral research project is entitled 'An Investigation of The Conceptualisation and Practices of Organ Donation in The Catholic Church in Port Elizabeth, South Africa'. This study seeks to explore how factors, such as beliefs and practices in the Church, especially surrounding death, the body, disfigurement, and burial rites influence parishioners' acceptance or objection to organ donation.

Her broader research interests include medical anthropology, forensic anthropology, social anthropology, and cultural diversity in Southern Africa.

DR PEDRO POMBO is Assistant Professor at Goa University and Associated Researcher at the Centre for Research on Slavery and Indentured, University of Mauritius. He received his PhD in Anthropology from ISCTE-IUL, Lisbon (2015) after graduating in 1998 in Decorative Arts and Design.

Pedro researches traces of Afro-Asian circulations through aesthetic and anthropological approaches, focusing on archival and material traces, heritages, visual landscapes and memories in the Indian Ocean. He is co-author of the documentary on Goans in Tanzania, “The Club”, with the film-maker Nalini Elvino de Sousa (2021).

He is an associated researcher with the Project Regions2050, WiSER, Wits University, South Africa and a 2021 Fellow of The Africa Multiple Cluster of Excellence, Bayreuth University, Germany.

DR JESSICA LEIGH THORNTON is a research anthropologist and Postdoctoral Fellow at Nelson Mandela University investigating the anthropological subject of food heritage and the various flows of food culture that present themselves as foodways in culture. She is currently involved in various projects under the the NRF Research Chair in Ocean Cultures and Heritage, engaging with multi-layers of stakeholders. She has conducted field research on the cultural value of the ocean in South Africa and Lamu, Kenya.

She was also a post-doctoral grantee of the National Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Pretoria. Her work focused on the experiences of crime, punishment and rehabilitation of female offenders.

In 2015 and 2016, she served as project manager for a SAPS research project on gangsterism and for a LOTTO funded project entitled ‘Moments in Time: Field Guides to Heritage in the Eastern Cape Province’.

DR ZANELE HARTMANN  is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow under the DSI-NRF SARCHI Chair in Ocean Cultures and Heritage at the Nelson Mandela University.

She is researching coastal blue spaces and human well-being. She is a natural and social scientist. She also has extensive work experience in environmental management.

She has worked for government, parastatals and the private sector. Her research interest is motivated by her belief that people and nature are interconnected. 

PRINCE KUDAKWASHE BOSHA holds a Master’s Degree in Heritage Studies from the University of Zimbabwe and an Honours Degree in Archaeology, Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies from the Midlands State University in Zimbabwe. Currently Prince is pursuing a PhD with the Department of Anthropology. 

His current PhD research at Nelson Mandela University explores the politics of liberation heritage, legitimacy and identity. He is interested in analysing heritage management systems in South Africa. He believes cultural heritage has always had an impact on the development of the world we live in, its ability to add an automatic sense of unity and belonging within a group and allow a people to understand previous generations and the history of the world around them. Thus he has a deep desire to learn about cultures, their sustainable management and how cultural heritage can contribute to the sustainable management of environments. 

His research interests expands beyond cultural heritage management, going deeper into the politics of heritage management and liberation war heritage.


PEGGY DAKA holds a master's degree in Heritage Studies (University of Zimbabwe, 2021) and a Bachelor of Arts Honours Degree in Museum Studies from (Great Zimbabwe University, 2016).

Humanistic cultural sustainability models grounded on community values such as ubuntu/unhu, could help develop a relational approach to cultural sustainability, hence it imperative to safeguard heritage in a culturally specific and appropriate way. She is passionate about safeguarding Intangible cultural heritage (ICH) through identification, inventory and documentation for the purpose of the future generations.

Her research interests are to safeguard African cultural heritage such as traditional dances as they are threatened by different factors that could lead to the extinction of such knowledge. Hence it is important to safeguard ICH in order to transmit it as stipulated in the UNESCO Convention of 2003 on safeguarding the ICH of humanity.


RINA SIYENGWA worked as a researcher at the University of York (UK) looking at the motivation of the public to become involved in monitoring the environment in terms of air quality and other pollution issues.

Rina is an environmental scientist by background and has experience working for the National Commission on Research Science and Technology (NCRST) in Namibia as a Science and Technology Officer, responsible for the identification and implementation of science projects in the country. She also worked as a Standards Officer at the Namibia Standards Institute (NSI) facilitating standards development in the fields of environmental management and climate change.

She holds a BSc in the field of Environmental Biology from the University of Namibia and a master's in the field of Social Change and Development - majoring in Sustainable Development. Her current research at Mandela University will look at an assessment of issues affecting the ability of Small-Scale Marine-Based Resource users to operate sustainably in the Erongo Region of Namibia.


SAGANDIRA JOYLEEN L A passionate social scientist with a background in Archaeology, Heritage studies and Anthropology. I have experience working on projects that focuses on interpreting and preserving cultural sites including collaborating with local communities and other stakeholders to ensure that their voices are included in the documentation ,conservation and interpretation process. Currently doing PhD in Anthropology at Nelson Mandela University under the SARChi Chair Ocean and Heritage Cultures specifically doing a research on the impacts of corridor development in Lamu Island on intangible cultural heritage conservation and gender focuses on the impacts of corridor development on intangible cultural heritage and gender dynamics within affected communities. I aim to document these changes and explore strategies for mitigating the negative consequences of corridor development on intangible cultural heritage and gender equality. My work contributes to ongoing discussions within anthropology and development studies on the importance of safeguarding cultural diversity and promoting social equity in the face of rapid economic and infrastructural growth.

DR MUNASHE MATAMBO is an emerging public interest environmental lawyer and policy analyst, and a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Nelson Mandela University investigating the role of international customary law and culture in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction and the extent to which national governments should have a say on the use of Exclusive Economic Zones.


JENNALEE GOEDA is 23 years old from the small town of Humansdorp in the Eastern Cape. She is a major in English Home Language and Afrikaans Home Language. Her love for languages has grown since she was a high school student. She is currently working as a research assistant under the NRF Chair for Ocean  Cultures and Heritage. 

Since becoming part of the NRF research team, she has developed a new love for the ocean, believing that it gives life and that we should be open to the life and vibrations that it gives.

Jennalee is a nature lover and in her free time, loves to write poetry.


LAETITIA BOSCH has been creating images for the past 18 years.  During that time, she has gained experience in many aspects of photography.  Her images have graced the covers of various local publications.

Laetitia grew up on a farm and that is where her love for nature developed.  Having lived at the coast for nearly 30 years, her appreciation of the ocean was a natural progression from the life on a farm.

Laetitia is very passionate in all that she does and with her energetic personality, is an ideal mix for working with people from all walks of life.

Besides photography, she is a keen runner and cyclist.  Anything outdoors is a where her heart is.

Other interest include anthropology, travel and reading.


DOMINIQUE SANTOS is a Senior Lecturer in Anthropology at Rhodes University and Course Co-Ordinator for the Postgraduate Diploma in Heritage Management. Her scholarly work explores the intersections of music, play, dreaming and heritage practices with intimate experiences of the self, space and social change. 

She is interested in the place of dreaming and indigenous knowledge systems as speculative methodology when working with life stories, archives and heritage sites.  Her anthropological trajectory has been, following Sylvia Wynter, informed by a commitment to ‘unsettle the coloniality of being’, connecting the university as a public and intellectual space with the wider community and natural world it is part of. 

To this end, she has worked with children,organisations in underserved communities and public organisations on projects to occupy space playfully, establish sustainable food systems rooted in the recovery of self-esteem and joy, and re-think monuments and collections, supporting creative interventions that permit alternative modes of experiencing space, self and society to emerge.  Dominique combines academic inquiry with award-winning community engagement and artistic practice to generate conditions for collaborative anthropological approaches in community, heritage, public and exhibition spaces that effect social change for the greater good.


FRANCOIS DU PLESSIS is a photographer by profession and worked as Mandela University's official photographer for 12 years before moving into academia. Francois now lectures in Photography and Videography. Fields of research include video analysis of sport technique.

He has a passion for the ocean and as a qualified Scientific Commercial Diver, has been actively involved in conservation efforts for a number of years.

Being part of the One Ocean Hub has given him the opportunity to be involved in finding out more about the ocean and the people who rely on the ocean.