Sally Matthews

Name: Sally Matthews
Phone: + 27 (0) 46 603 8353
Qualifications: BA, MA (Pretoria), PhD (Birmingham)

Associate Professor 


I joined the department in 2006 and have played various roles in the department since then. I have an MA in Political Science from the University of Pretoria, South Africa, and a PhD in African Studies from the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom.


I mostly teach introductory courses in political studies and courses on African Politics and African Political Economy.

I have prepared an online teaching portfolio outlining my teaching philosophy and giving further details about my teaching. This portfolio was prepared in fulfilment of my studies towards a Postgraduate Diploma in Higher Education. The portfolio is available here.

All my teaching material is available to Rhodes students on RUconnected. I am happy to share teaching resources and ideas with colleagues and students from elsewhere. If you are interested in knowing more about my teaching, please contact me directly. 


I have published on a range of topics: development (particularly post-development theory), the politics of NGO work, service-learning and community engagement, higher education transformation and decolonisation, and race and privilege. These seemingly eclectic research interests are loosely held together by a general preoccupation with the question of whether and how the relatively privileged can contribute to struggles for social justice. 

I currently serve on the editorial boards of the Journal of Contemporary Studies and of Studies in Social Justice

More about my research can be found on my ResearchGate page. My Orcid ID is


These are my recent publications (since 2015). Please consult my ResearchGate or my Google Scholar page for earlier publications.

Matthews, S. (2024). Recreating knowledge about Africa in the shadow of the colonial library. In Africa Beyond Inventions: Essays in Honour of V.Y. Mudimbe, edited by Zubairu Wai. New York: Palgrave MacMillan.

Bell, J. & Matthews, S. (2024) Fairtrade Wine in South Africa: Does Fairtrade Labelling Guarantee Social Upgrading for Farmworkers?, Journal of Southern African Studies, DOI: 10.1080/03057070.2023.2340846.

Matthews, S. (2023) Listening to and Representing the Interests of the Poor: Some Thoughts on Deveaux’s ‘Poverty, Solidarity, and Poor-Led Social Movements’. Journal of Global Ethics, 19:3, 225-234, DOI: 10.1080/17449626.2023.2272376.

Matthews, S. (2023) Rethinking the Comparative Politics Curriculum in a South African Classroom. Critical Studies in Teaching and Learning (CriSTaL). 11(2): 30-47. DOI: 10.14426/cristal.v11i2.691

Matthews, S. (2023) Constructing Knowledge about Africa in a South African University Classroom: Living Creatively with the Colonial Library. In Decolonizing African Studies Pedagogies: Knowledge Production, Epistemic Imperialism and Black Agency, edited by N. Andrews & E. Khalema. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Bell, J. & Matthews, S. (2022) Dependency, Paternalism & The Financial Control of Women on South African Wine Farms. Gender Questions 10 (2):16 pages.

Onokwai, J.C. & Matthews, S. (2022) A Case Study of Country Ownership Over Donor Aid: The Global Fund and the Ghanaian Country Coordinating Mechanism, Journal of Developing Societies. DOI: 10.1177/0169796X221085748. 

Mataruse, P.S. and Matthews, S. (2022) Commercialising the struggle: the organisational and ideological effects of democracy assistance on opposition activism in Zimbabwe, Review of African Political Economy,

Matthews, S. (2022) Moving from postcolonial critiques of development towards alternatives to development in Africa. Neoliberalism and Unequal Development: Alternatives and Transitions in Europe, Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa, edited by Fernando López Castellano, Carmen Lizárraga and Roser Manzanera Ruiz. London: Routledge.

Matthews, S. (2021) Decolonising while white: confronting race in a South African classroom, Teaching in Higher Education, DOI: 10.1080/13562517.2021.1914571.

Matthews, S. (2020) A Review of the South African Political Studies Curriculum in the Light of Current Debates on Decolonising the Curriculum. Politikon, 47:3, 321-341. 

Matthews, S. (2019) Partnerships and Power: Community Partners’ Experiences of Service-Learning, Africanus, 49(1):1-18. 

Matthews, S. (2019) ‘Decolonising University Curricula: Reflections on an Institutional Curriculum Review Process’. In L.Quinn (ed) Reimagining Curriculum: Spaces for Disruption. African Sun Media:  Stellenbosch. 

Matthews, S. (2018) 'Alternatives to Development in Africa'. In Recentering Africa in International Relations: Beyond Lack, Peripherality, and Failure, edited by M. Iniguez de Heredia and Z. Wai. Palgrave.

Matthews, S. (2018) Confronting the Colonial Library: Teaching Political Studies Amidst Calls for a Decolonised Curriculum, Politikon, 45:1, 48-65, DOI: 10.1080/02589346.2018.1418204.

Matthews, S. (2018) Review of On Their Own: Women, Urbanization, and the Right to the City in South Africa, by Allison Goebel, International Feminist Journal of Politics, 20:1, 105-106, DOI: 10.1080/14616742.2017.1400210. 

Matthews, S. (ed.) (2017) NGOs and Social Justice in South Africa and Beyond. Durban: UKZN Press.

Matthews, S. (2017) Colonised minds? Post-development theory and the desirability of development in Africa, Third World Quarterly, 38(12): 2650-2663. Available here.

Matthews, S. (2017)  Privilege, Poverty and Pedagogy: reflections on the introduction of a service-learning component into a postgraduate political studies course. Educational Research for Social Change, 6(2):45-59. Available here.

Matthews, S. (2016) Review of Aram Ziai’s Development Discourse and Global History: From Colonialism to the Sustainable Development Goals. Journal of Development Studies, 52(6):912-914.

Matthews, S. (2016) Reflections on Teaching Africa in South Africa, Politics 36(4): 467–481. Available here.

Tabensky, P. and Matthews, S. (eds) (2015) Being At Home: Race, Institutional Culture And Transformation At South African Higher Education Institutions, Durban: UKZN Press.

Msomi, Z. and Matthews, S. (2015) Protecting indigenous knowledge using intellectual property rights law: the Masakhane Pelargonium case. Africanus 45(1):71-86. Available here.

Matthews, S. (2015) Shifting White Identities in South Africa: White Africans and the Struggle for Racial Justice. Phronimon 16(2):112-129. Available here.

Matthews, S. (2015) Privilege, Solidarity and Social Justice Struggles in South Africa: a view from Grahamstown. Transformation: critical perspectives on southern Africa, issue 88. Available here. 

Last Modified: Thu, 27 Jun 2024 10:49:02 SAST