The African Centre for Citizenship and Democracy (ACCEDE) was established within the School of Government in September 2007. ACCEDE serves as an organisational and mobilisation space for students and researchers who are involved in activist and research based policy networks that highlight a critical examination of the factors and policy environments which support or inhibit the development of a more inclusive citizenship in Africa and in the global South.


Within the School of Government and the EMS Faculty, the Centre operates as an organising space for the generation of research themes and questions, as well as for the mobilisation of researchers, and for fundraising and networking. ACCEDE draws on academic researchers from UWC and elsewhere who will participate in specific research programmes. Research Fellows are drawn from Africa and elsewhere, and the Centre also hosts a number of PhD and Postgraduate students working on related research, subject to funding.

Forthcoming Events

Lisa Thompson will attend the upcoming 2017 BRICS Academic Forum in Fuzhou, in China. The theme of the conference is “Pooling Wisdom and Efforts towards Common Development and a Brighter Future”. The conference will address BRICS continued existence in multilateral economic diplomacy and global economic governance against the backdrop of downward economic pressures and the rising socio-political undercurrents calling for an end to globalisation. Professor Thompson will be attending as part of the panel of experts from the National Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences (NIHSS) BRICS Think Tank.

Between 23-24th September 2017, Fudan University School of International Relations and Public Affairs (SIRPA) will be hosting their 2nd International Symposium on Development and Governance in the BRICS, to be held at Fudan University, Shanghai. Lisa Thompson has been invited to attend and will be presenting a paper entitled: Special Economic Zones in South Africa: Examining the Role of Chinese International Development Assistance (IDA) and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the promotion of collective development strategies.


2 April 2018

Join us for a People’s Audit of BRICS banking!

Coinciding with the New Development Bank Annual General Meeting
March 31, 9 – 5pm, 129 Rochester Road, Observatory, Cape Town


2 April 2018

UWC School of Government and the African Centre for Citizenship and Development presents a debate on New Development Bank

BRICS’ most ambitions multilateral financial institution, the New Development Bank (NDB), will be hosting it’s annual general meeting (AGM) at the CTICC in Cape Town from 1 – 2 April 2019


30 October 2018

Rethinking BRICS and China’s Role in the challenging global geopolitical context

The BRICS Policy Centre, Rio, together with Action Aid India and South Africa, recently spent two days deliberating on the theme: “Rethinking BRICS and China’s Role in the challenging global geopolitical context”. Lisa Thompson on behalf of ACCEDE, School of Government, UWC, presented on the topic of New Forms of Aid to Africa, a case of BRICS investment in Special Economic Zones. The symposium participants also spent some time deliberating the BRICS Summit, 2019, to be held in Brazil.


11 September 2018

Lisa Thompson on China, Development Aid and BRICS in the digital media age

Lisa Thompson, University of the Western Cape, and Patrick Bond, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa


BRICS SDCEA Seminar 12 Sept 2018

The BRICS return to finance Transnet’s port-petrochem attack and the job-killing ‘4th Industrial Revolution’ a seminar with Desmond D’Sa (SDCEA), Patrick Bond (Wits School of Governance and UKZN School of Development Studies), Bandile Mdlalose (Civil BRICS) and Lisa Thompson (University of the Western Cape African Centre for Citizenship and Democracy)


29 August 2018

Good Governance Learning Network Publication

The Good Governance Learning Network (GGLN) recently released the 2018 State of Local Governance Report, entitled Developmental Local Government: Dream Deferred? Perspectives from Civil Society on Local Governance in South Africa. This research and analysis continues the in-depth investigation into participatory democratic development in South Africa since the end of Apartheid. The concepts of invited and invented spaces, active citizenship and engagement are explored with increasing depth and sophistication by South African Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), activists, academics and local government practitioners. The research shows clear linkages to the work of the Development Research Centre on Citizenship, Participation and Accountability hosted by the Institute for Development Studies at the University of Sussex, funded by DFID between 2000 and 2012, of which ACCEDE was part. Citizenship DRC Archival publications, including links to an 8 volume Zed Book Series, can be found here:


31 July 2018

BRICS and Civil Society 2018: Social Justice versus the Diplomacy Game

The annual BRICS Summit at the Sandton Convention Centre attracted much hype and generally affirming media coverage. Part of the reason for relentless positivity towards the Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) alliance is press coverage in the country’s leading newspaper chain arranged by Iqbal Survé. As head of the Independent newspapers as well as the BRICS Business Council, his own picture appears regularly on his front pages, pronouncing on the enormous value of BRICS to South Africa.


31 July 2018

Are Brics civil society talkshops just ticking boxes and not making real ‘jam’?

As the heat increases around the 2018 summit of the Brazil, India, Russia, China and South Africa (Brics) grouping, to be held in Johannesburg in July, debate from the Brics Think Tank and from the left is coming to the boil over the value of the bloc’s participatory processes.


31 July 2018

State of BRICS Social Struggles: Power Plays in Civil Society and Academia

As the Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa bloc comes to Johannesburg from July 25-27, local debate about the ideologies, strategies and tactics of outsiders is getting hotter. A teach-in on July 23-24 and protest on July 26 highlight ‘brics from below’ perspectives.


31 July 2018

State of BRICS Youth Struggle: About Us, But Without Us

The leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa will meet in Johannesburg from 25-27 July for the 10th BRICS Summit. Prior to the Summit a number of other BRICS dialogues are taking place, including the Business Council, Academic Forum, Civil BRICS and BRICS Youth. BRICS Youth was set up in 2013 to put youth voices on the BRICS agenda and to promote and popularise BRICS amongst young people ages 15-34 in each country.


9 December 2016

Research and Activism During Political Turmoil in Brazil, India and South Africa, Authoritarianism in China and Russia, and Renewed Aggression from the United States

Research and activism during political turmoil in Brazil, India and South Africa, authoritarianism in China and Russia, and renewed aggression from the United States. A workshop at the Alternative Information and Development Centre co-hosted with the UWC African Centre for Citizenship and Democracy, Wits School of Governance and National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences BRICS Think Tank 147 Rochester St, Observatory, Cape Town


24 – 25 September 2016

BRICS Development Strategies: Exploring the meaning of BRICS ‘community’ and ‘collective action’ in the Context of BRICS State Led Cooperation in South Africa

Lisa Thompson and Pamela Tsolekile de Wet recently presented a paper entitled BRICS Development Strategies: Exploring the meaning of BRICS ‘community’ and
‘collective action’ in the Context of BRICS State Led Cooperation in South Africa at the International Symposium on Development and Governance in the BRICS, 24-25 September 2016, Fudan University, Shanghai. The paper will be available on the website shortly.


October 26-27 2016

The Role of Social Movements in Making Local Government Decision-Making Processes More Inclusive

Pamela Tsolekile-de Wet and Lisa Thompson, The Role of Social Movements in Making Local Government Decision-Making Processes More Inclusive – A case study of Sivukile Sonele Social Movement in Langa, Cape Town, Draft paper presented at the Association of South African schools and Departments of Public Administration (ASSADPAM)Annual Conference October 26-27 2016, Cape Town.


Past and present funders include:

  • Vlaamse Inter Universitaire Raad
  • The Ford Foundation
  • SIDA
  • Human Sciences Research Council
  • Water Research Commission
  • The National Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences (NIHSS)

Policy Advocacy

The Centre prioritises engagement in policy analysis and advocacy. Regular workshops are held with policy makers in government and NGO and CBO networks. The Centre also work closely together with community groups and social movements. See news and forthcoming events for regular updates.


The Centre also contributes to postgraduate teaching at the School on globalisation, global governance and development; and citizenship, development and democracy.


Recent publications to download