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Home » Prof Bhaso Ndzendze

Head of Department and Associate Professor
Name: Bhaso Ndzendze
Location: B ring 234 Auckland Park Kingsway Campus
Department of Politics and International Relations Staff, Rated Researchers  Staff Members

Contact Details:
Tel: 011 559 2896


About Prof Bhaso Ndzendze

Associate Professor of Politics and International Relations

Vice-Dean of Internationalisation, Faculty of Humanities

Head of the Department of Politics and International Relations, Faculty of Humanities

Lead Researcher: 4IR and Digital Policy Research Unit (4DPRU), Faculty of Humanities



The key question driving Prof Ndzendze’s work is “What are the practical and theoretical challenges and opportunities presented by territorial disputes towards Africa’s trade?”

Ndzendze’s NRF-rated research work and postgraduate supervision examines the interaction between trade and territorial disputes – both continental and global (extra-continental) – and Africa’s trade. His work also examines how states use technologies to assert their territorial sovereignty and project power, and how, in turn, state power spawns newer technologies. His work contributes to International Relations Theory through applying and testing Regime type analysis, the Democratic peace thesis, Henderson’s Inverted legitimacy and Type II Neoclassical realism. He also works within Dependency and Hegemonic stability theories.




  • ‘China’s Belt and Road Initiative: Linkages with the African Union’s Agenda 2063 in Historical Perspective,’ Transnational Corporations Review, 11(1): 38-49, 2019.
  • ‘Is there a Reverse Correlation in Growth of Japanese and Chinese Exports to Africa? Evidence from South Africa, Kenya and Uganda, 2007-2017’, Tamkang Journal of International Affairs, 23(2): 39-80, 2019.
  • ‘Realpolitik in the Africa–One China Nexus, 2001-2008: The Cases of Chad and Malawi’, Studia Europea, 2(1): 53-80, 2019.
  • ‘Inversely Correlated? Comparing EU-27 and Chinese Exports to South Africa, 2007-2018’, 28(1), The European Foreign Affairs Review, 2020.
  • ‘Domestic Audiences and Economic Opportunity Cost: African Democratisation as a Determinant in the Recognition of China over Taiwan, 2001–2018,’ Journal of Asian and African Studies56(3), 2020.
  • ‘South Africa-Russia Trade Relations in the Mbeki-Putin Years, 1999-2008,’ Southern African Strategic Review, 43(1), 79-102.
  • ‘Declarations of Intent: Themes of Interstate War in African National Anthems,’ International Journal of African Renaissance Studies – Multi-, Inter- and Transdisciplinarity (17)2.
  • ‘A Differentiated Courtship: A Regime Type Analysis of Russia’s Southern African (Arms) Trade,’ South African Journal of International Affairs. Forthcoming 2022.
  • ‘Are South African political parties thinking about the future in local governance? Assessing the 2021 LGE manifestos for responses to technological, climate and demographic changes,’ Politikon, 49(4).




The BRICS Order: Assertive or Complementing the West? Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan. 2021.

Artificial Intelligence and Emerging Technologies in International Relations. Singapore: World Scientific Press. 2021.


The Political Economy of Sino-South African Trade and Regional Competition. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan. 2022.


Artificial Intelligence and International Relations Theories. Cham, Switzerland: Springer. 2023.

Perspectives on Africa-China Infrastructural and Industrial Cooperation: Empirical Findings and Conceptual Implications. New York: Springer. 2023.



  • ‘Autochthonous Routes to Democracy,’ in The BRICS Order: Assertive or Complementing the West?. Palgrave Macmillan: London. 2021.
  • ‘Strains in Sino-Indian Relations: Wither the BRICS?,’ in The BRICS Order: Assertive or Complementing the West?. Palgrave Macmillan: London. 2021.
  • with Tshilidzi Marwala, ‘South Africa and the Fourth Industrial Revolution’ in The Oxford Handbook of the South African Economy, edited by Fiona Tregenna, Arkebe Oqubay, and Imraan Valodia. Oxford University Press. 2021.
  • ‘ESwatini-Taiwan Relations: Domestic Audience Costs and China’s Irrelevance?’ in China and Taiwan in Africa: The Struggle for Diplomatic Recognition and Hegemony, edited by Sabella O. Abidde. Springer. 2022. With Nomzamo Gondwe,
  • ‘China vs Taiwan in Africa: The Role of Electoral Competitiveness,’ Africa-China-Taiwan Relations, 1949-2020, edited by Sabella O. Abidde. Lexington Press. 2022.
  • ‘Assessing China’s “New Assertiveness” in Historical Context,’ Critical Reflections on Asian Disputes, edited by Moises de Souza. E-IR Publishers. 2022.
  • ‘BRICS Countries’ Competitiveness in the 4IR: Findings from Three World Economic Forum Indicators,’ in The Political Economy of Intra-BRICS Cooperation. 2022. Palgrave Macmillan.
  • ‘Putting Africa First in the Analysis of Africa-China Cooperation – A Conceptual and Policy Conundrum,’ in Perspectives on Africa-China Infrastructural and Industrial Cooperation. Springer.
  • ‘China-Ethiopia Relations: Comprehensive Economic Cooperation (2000–2019),’ in Perspectives on Africa-China: Infrastructural and Industrial Cooperation. Springer.
  • ‘Made in Uganda by China’: Chinese Industrial Parks in Uganda,’ in Perspectives on Africa-China: Infrastructural and Industrial Cooperation. Springer.
  • ‘An appraisal of the AU’s Peace and Security Council, 2003-2022,’ in The Quest for Unity: An Appraisal of Regional Integration in Africa, p. 203-224. Jacana.



  • A discovery of the determinants of African countries’ diplomatic switches from Taiwan to Mainland China by locating democracy (electoral accountability) as a source of bottom-up pressure in the making of foreign policy in the 2000s to the 2010s.
  • Historicising China’s “new” global assertiveness towards territorial disputes by locating it in the loss of Mongolia in 1912 and failed return of Shandong in 1919, culminating in the May Fourth Movement.
  • Identifying lack of “scramble for Africa” in economic realistic terms by demonstrating lack of inverse correlations in African trade with major powers (China, the European Union, Japan, and the United States).
  • Discovered the problem of information asymmetry in legitimacy appraisals during escalations of interstate disputes among East African countries.
  • A model of how artificial intelligence has reshaped state logics in foreign policy and security considerations (democratic peace and economic independence).
  • A study of the implications of the US-China trade war (2018-2020) for the City of Johannesburg.
  • Made recommendations to policymakers and private sector actors on digital opportunities presented by the US-China (Huawei-Google) trade war (especially search engines).
  • A model of the seized and missed opportunities by African countries towards agricultural trade amid the US-China trade war.
  • First to identify the occupation of ministerial portfolios by prime ministers and presidents (heads of executive) as key determinant in policy effectiveness.


Over the 2020-2030 timeframe, Bhaso and his students are working on the following major questions.

  1. What is the impact of intra-African territorial disputes on the African Continental Free Trade Area?
  2. What are the dynamics and impact of West and East Asian territorial disputes on global trade?
  3. What is the relationship between territorial disputes and South Africa’s economic and foreign policies?
  4. What is the impact of territorial disputes on infrastructure development and Internet cables?
  5. What are the implicit and explicit contributions of territorial disputes in IR theory?


  • Mail and Guardian
  • The Conversation
  • The Daily Maverick
  • The Thinker
  • Thought Leader
  • Ubuntu Magazine

Bhaso also actively blogs about ongoing international developments in his personal capacity at and under the African War Lab (



  • 4IR and Humanities in South Africa (supported by the NIHSS)
  • African Territorial Disputes (supported by the NRF)
  • Africa-China Infrastructural and Industrial Cooperation: Empirical Findings and Conceptual Implications (with the China-Africa Joint Research and Exchange Programme)
  • Africa and BRICS Plus (with APRI in Berlin)
  • Good Governance, Participatory Democracy, and Social Justice (supported by the Ford Foundation)
  • Executive Powers in South Africa’s Constitution (supported by the URC)
  • Africa in the Age of the Thucydides Trap: Searching for global leadership and strategic thought (supported by Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection – MISTRA)
  • Political Science in South African Indigenous Languages (supported by the DHET-UCDP)



  • In Introduction to International Political Economy (POL1BB1), Ndzendze takes first year students through the structures underpinning global trade and competing theoretical lenses for understanding them.
  • In Africa’s Defining Moments (POL2C), Ndzendze introduces second-year students to key episodes and actors in the escalation, outbreak and legacies of border conflicts in second independence (‘postcolonial’) Africa.
  • In Militarisation of African Politics (POL3D), Ndzendze and the cohort of third year students go through the various facets and determinants of militarisation of politics, and analyse coups, the role of the African Union and international players.
  • In Politics Reading Module: The International Political Economy of Africa-China Relations, Ndzendze and the cohort of Honours students examine the history and contemporary trajectories of Africa-China relations, locating the lessons in the geopolitical context of East Asia and the broader ‘Indo-Pacific’.
  • In Key Issues in International Relations (POL8X27), Ndzendze and the cohort of Honours students empirically and theoretically examine transnational issues facing the global community and flesh out models for when, why and how states cooperate and/or conflict on these.


  • Deputy Editor in Chief: Journal of Contemporary African Studies
  • Advisory Council Member: Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (CASAC)