I am an anthropologist and approach research using a social justice paradigm that aims to challenge us to look at the way research is predominantly conducted, on communities and not often with or led by communities. I am employed as a senior research specialist in the Identity and Belonging unit at the Human and Social Capabilities division of the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC). I have worked in my research programme to advance research with key populations since 2004. My scientific contributions have been multifaceted including, co-authoring 31 peer reviewed articles, 3 chapters in peer reviewed books, 5 in non-peer reviewed publications and 11 client reports. I have managed ground-breaking HIV surveillance studies with key populations in South Africa, Ghana and Lesotho. My particular contribution is in the area of HIV surveillance amongst key populations, including gay and bisexual men and transgender women.
The Botshelo Ba Trans Study was the firstever study of its kind in Southern Africa to document the burden of HIV suffered by transgender women in South Africa. The study also explored qualitatively how transgender women actually live their lives thus providing a depth understanding of the HIV risks of transgender women, and more generally to threats including violence, stigma and substance use. The participatory approach incorporated by myself raised this study above many others conducted in the field. I actively went out and worked with transgender women, drawing representatives into the research team, employing members of the community and finally involving these team members in the writing of the academic papers. My doctoral work looked at the performance of local same sex cultures and explored questions of citizenship and belonging in the `coloured? townships of Cape Town. I was awarded my PhD in Anthropology at the University of the Western Cape, in August 2018