Professor Shose Kessi

Dean: Faculty of Humanities

Professor Shose Kessi was appointed dean of the Faculty of Humanities in November 2019, after serving as acting dean from 1 March 2019.

Since joining the University of Cape Town (UCT) in 2011 in the Department of Psychology, she was appointed chair of the Humanities Transformation Committee in 2016 and deputy dean for transformation in the faculty in 2018. She was appointed to the Special Executive Task Team in 2016 and the University Strategy Forum a year later. She is also the founder and first chairperson of the UCT Black Academic Caucus. In addition to all these roles, Professor Kessi has served on numerous other faculty and university committees.

Her research has centred on political psychology, decoloniality, community-based empowerment and social change. She explores issues of identity, such as race, class and gender, and how these impact on people – individually and collectively – as change agents in transformation efforts. She is the co-founder and co-director of the Hub for Decolonial Feminist Psychologies in Africa, an emerging research grouping that is gaining traction within and outside the university.

Her qualifications include a PhD in Social Psychology and an MSc in Organisational and Social Psychology with distinction, both from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). She also holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Business Administration from the Wits Business School.

She was the UCT Mandela Fellow at the WEB Du Bois Research Institute at the Hutchins Centre, Harvard University, for 2014; and visiting scholar in the Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science at the LSE in 2017.

Before joining UCT, she worked in the development sector in the area of reproductive health, HIV/AIDS, development finance, and programme evaluation.