South Africa is my field-site and adoptive home of 15 years. Since my work is about the national social welfare program, I make my research immediately available to those it most effects. I have done so through expert testimony, policy advice, investigative journalism, and documentary film-making. My current public projects include:
I am partnering with the Black Sash, Wanga Zembe from the Medical Research Council and Engenas Senona from the Department of Social Development. Together, we have interviewed over 100 government officials, social grantees, and paralegal fieldworks to understand the opportunities and challenges of delivering social welfare during a global health crisis.
Digital payment of Social Grants
Through collaborations with the Black Sash, I investigated the material workings of Net1's digital payment infrastructure. The Black Sash legal team used the evidence I gathered to litigate against predatory financial practices at the Constitutional Court. These collaborations helped transform grant payment from private to public control.
I have also partnered with the Black Sash, Deborah James from the London School of Economics, and David Neves from the University of the Western Cape to explore the proliferation of payday loans to social grantees. We found even after grant payment moved to the Post Office, social grants are still used as collateral for credit.
Land and Housing
Before graduate school, I worked for seven years with South African civil Society organisations Much of my research was about land and hosing with the Development Action Group and Shack Dwellers International. With this organisations, I supported social movements of Black women demanding secure, dignified housing in the city.