Busisiwe Ntsele

Busisiwe Ntsele has a solid academic background in sociology and human rights law. She began her academic career as a Ba LAW student at the University of Swaziland (UNISWA). She then enrolled in an Honours Degree while also conducting research as a research assistant at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa. During her years as a research assistant, she developed a passion for engaging young people, which earned her the award for best sociology tutor at UJ (2012). In 2013, she continued her studies with a master’s degree in International Human Rights Law at the University of Witwatersrand (WITS). In 2015, while on her way to a PhD degree, she took a research and advocacy position at the Institute for Reconciliation & Social Justice at the University of the Free State (UFS). In 2016, she continued lecturing on third-year sociological subjects and honours courses at UFS. That same year, she applied for and received the Desmond Tutu Doctoral Fellowship fellowship. This was a joint PhD program with the Free University in Amsterdam and UFS.

Role at Refugee Academy:

I am currently studying engaged scholarly research and draw strength from RA’s work in navigating my own research and finding a home away from home for research.
I am increasingly excited to learn how academics can use their scholarly expertise to solve pressing social problems. My own research uses stories to demonstrate the importance of working with communities to co-create inclusive and diverse ways of living and contributing to science. The stories I collected during my fieldwork inspired her to use her PhD trajectory to find ways to become an engaged scientist and create ripple effects using small gains, no matter how small changes may be, but if they contribute to the common good and social justice, that’s a big win for disadvantaged groups.

Importance of my role in RA and personal ambition:

Coming from a small African village called Ticantfwini, I am excited to be part of The Refugee Academy because I am learning how to make this PhD relevant to the common good. Using the voices in my studies and R.A.’s work has given me a sense of agency to connect and engage with communities. I want to intentionally become the change I want to see and not be seen as a vulnerable black girl, but a girl who pursues dreams and remains resilient to change the narrative by dismantling injustice, whatever small contribution I can make.

Connections to my work and life:
Instead of always hearing stories about disadvantaged groups told from a victim mentality, Refugee Academy creates and tells these stories from a powerful perspective that is mutually inclusive and diverse.
I hope my research journey is mutually beneficial, not only by sharing my findings academically but also by bringing forward the voices of the communities I have worked with. The Refugee Academy has created a safe space for me to personally tell my story as an engaged researcher.
This space gave me a voice to reflect on how I found my healing in fieldwork with communities.

Refugee Academy- related projects :
– Engaged Scholarship and Narratives of Change

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