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Home » Dr Gcobani Qambela

Senior Lec​turer
Name: Gcobani Qambela
Location: D Ring 503 Auckland Park Kingsway Campus
Anthropology and Development Studies Staff  Staff Members

Contact Details:
Tel: 011 559 2876


About Dr Gcobani Qambela


​I joined the UJ Anthropology and Development Studies department in July 2018. My research, broadly, intersects the Anthropology of Masculinities, Sexual and Reproductive Health, and the Anthropology of Childhoods and Youth. My doctoral work focused on the lives of young Xhosa men living in a rural and peri-urbanising context. Through my doctoral work, I developed what I call the Anthropology of Boyhoods. Prior to joining UJ, I taught at Rhodes University, North West University, as well for international universities including Organization for Tropical Studies and Duke University, Florida International University and Quest University. I have worked in the non-governmental sector, specifically for the Centre for AIDS Development Research and Evaluation, where I got to work on various consultative projects for Johns Hopkins Health and Education South Africa, the South African Department of Social Development and the Academy for Educational Development among others.

Teaching and Student Supervision

I teach at both undergraduate and post-graduate level. I have a passion for applied anthropology and the use of anthropology to make sense of contemporary issues. My teaching reflects this interest. My courses focus on contemporary anthropological applications, anthropological theory in the ‘post-American world’, as well as childhoods and youth. I further teach ‘classic’ anthropological courses as medical anthropology and anthropological theory.

2018 courses

Critical Anthropological Studies of Childhoods and Youth (Honours, term 2).

Medical Anthropology: Southern African Perspectives on Health, Illness and Disease (Second year, term 4)

Student supervision

In addition to teaching, I supervise at both undergraduate and post-graduate level. I have supervised diverse research topics from classical medical anthropological explorations of various issues relating to health, to students working on agriculture and religion among a plethora of issues. My current Masters students are working, broadly, on adolescents with disabilities, sexual and reproductive health and various issues relating to gender and sexuality.



I am currently preparing two monographs, one with a local South African publisher and another for an international publisher. Additionally, I am involved in various writing projects.


Selected publications

Qambela, G. 2019. “”Mna ndiyayazi uba ndizotshata intommbazana ” (Re)creating ‘family’ and reflections on rural-based lesbian women’s experiences of child rearing and kinship,” in Morison, T., Lynch, I., Reddy, V. (Eds). 2019. Queer Kinship: South African Perspectives on the Sexual Politics of Family-Making and Belonging. Unisa Press: Pretoria.

Qambela, G. 2018. “Living in constant anticipation of death; loss, grief and death as political instruments in Dagmawi Woubshet’s ‘The Calendar of Loss’“, Journal of Contemporary African Studies, 36(3)

Qambela, G. 2016. ““There is no such thing as a single-issue struggle”: Xenophobia in the time of decolonisation, eRhini, 2015,Agenda 30 (2): 35-45

Qambela, G. 2016. “When they found out I was a man… they became even more violent”: autoethnography and the rape of men,” Graduate Journal of Social Science 12 (3): 179-205

Qambela, G. 2016. “Seeing ourselves as we are,” in Qunta, Y. 2016. Writing What We Like: A New Generation Speaks. Tafelberg: Cape Town.


Selected Public Engagement

Grocott’s Mail

Qambela, G. 2018. “Gendered and sexualised violence in a time of decolonisation”, Grocott’s Mail. Available:


Mail & Guardian

Qambela, G. 2017. “Usable traditions: The queering of Xhosa men’s initiation,” Mail & Guardian, 20 October 2017, URL:

Qambela, G. 2017. “Truth in a time of fake news,” Mail & Guardian, 12 May 2017, URL:


The Daily Maverick

Qambela, G., and Dlakavu, S. 2014. “‘Yiba yindoda’: Towards healthier, non-violent masculinities in our country’s men,” The Daily Maverick, 05 December 2014, URL:

Qambela, G., and Dlakavu, S. 2014. “Op-Ed: Youth unemployment in SA – Apartheid is alive and well,” The Daily Maverick, 22 September 2014, URL:


Mail & Guardian Thought Leader

Qambela, G. 2014. “The problem with ’emasculating men,'” Mail & Guardian Though Leader, 19 June 2014, URL:

Qambela, G. 2013. “‘Side-guys’ and ‘side-chicks’ in the time of Aids,” Mail & Guardian Thought Leader, 25 October 2013, URL:

Qambela, G. 2013. “How not to write about African women and sex,” Mail & Guardian Thought Leader, 09 July 2013, URL:


Feminists South Africa

Qambela, G. 2011. “Unpacking the post-apartheid narrative on AIDS and black women”, Available:

Qambela, G. 2012. “Reconfiguring ‘The Violent Black man’, and the successful black woman: a critical response to Jonathan Jansen”, Available:

In addition – I write shorter articles on various platforms on various topics especially race, gender, class and sexuality. These platforms include:

Bokamoso Leadership Forum:

Youth Hub Africa:

Stop Street Harassment: