School of Built Environment & Development Studies

Mvuselelo Ngcoya


Senior Lecturer


Development Studies


Contact Number



Howard College Campus

Office Address

A715 7th Floor, Denis Shepstone Building

Degrees Held

  • PhD (International Relations)


  • Born in the undulating hills of Phatheni, Richmond, Mvu is essentially a country bumpkin. One who does enjoy fine things though, especially food. His culinary appetite has spiced his academic work with intellectual interest in the social life and political economy of indigenous vegetables (particularly imbuya or amaranth).  He wonders how we got to know so much about indigenous medicines, indigenous gardens, and Nguni cattle and so little about indigenous vegetables. Thus, agrarian issues such as land reform, small-scale agriculture, rural development, etc. form the kernel of his research interests. When he’s not thinking about food, Mvu teaches in the Development Studies programme in the School of Built Environment and Development Studies (SBEDS) where he has been since 2010. His other academic interests include investigating the role of subjugated philosophies in International Relations.  His is particularly interested in the local and global significance of ubuntu, especially the contested social and political uses of this worldview.  His background in International Relations theory sustains an old flame of interest in the relevance of Frantz Fanon to understanding international politics.  Prior to joining UKZN, Mvu taught at American University in Washington D.C. and worked as a research analyst for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). He dabbles in poetry, plays beach volleyball and soccer, and struggles through Spanish classes during his spare time.


  • Agriculture and Rural Development
  • Comparative Development Problems and Policies in Masters in Development Studies Programme. Mvuselelo Ngcoya is also supervisor  to PhD Students.


  • Agrarian and Rural Transformations, Indigenous Plants, Indigenous Knowledge Systems, Indigenous Food, Land Reform


  • Philanthropy in South Africa: Horizontality, Ubuntu and Social Justice. Cape Town: HSRC Press, 2016 (co-editor with Shauna Mottiar).
  • “Horizontality, ubuntu and social justice” (co-authored with Shauna Mottiar). In Shauna Mottiar and Mvuselelo Ngcoya (eds). Philanthropy in South Africa: Horizontality, Ubuntu and Social Justice. 1-12. Cape Town: HSRC Press, 2016.
  •  “Horizontal Philanthropy in Maphumulo and Clermont” (co-authored with Shauna Mottiar). In Shauna Mottiar and Mvuselelo Ngcoya (eds). Philanthropy in South Africa: Horizontality, Ubuntu and Social justice. 94-109. Cape Town: HSRC Press, 2016.
  • “Indigenous Gardening: Plants, Indigeneity and Settling/Unsettling in South Africa” (co-authored with Narendran Kumarakulasingam). In Hana Horáková, and Katerina Werkman (Eds). Knowledge Production in and on Africa. Berlin: Lit Verlag, 2016.
  • “Indigenous Philanthropy: Challenging Western Conceptions (co-authored with Shauna Mottiar). In Tobias Jung, Susan D. Phillips and Jenny Harrow (eds). The Routledge Companion to Philanthropy, 151-161. London and New York: Routledge, 2016.
  • “Cultivating selves: A farmer profile of Fakazile Mthethwa” (co-authored with Naren Kumarakulasingam). Agenda: Empowering women for gender equity  (2016): 30, no. 4 (Special issue: Food Challenges: Feminist Theory, Revolutionary Practice): 17-24.  
  • “The Lived Experience of Food Sovereignty: Gender, Indigenous Crops and Small-Scale Farming in Mtubatuba, South Africa,” (co-authored with Narendran Kumarakulasingam) Journal of Agrarian Studies July 2016 DOI: 10.1111/joac.12170.
  • “Plant Provocations: Botanical Indigeneity and (De)colonial Imaginations” (co-authored with Narendran Kumarakulasingam). Contexto Internacional (2016): 38, no. 3: 843-863.
  • Ubuntu: Toward Emancipatory Cosmopolitanism?” International Political Sociology (2015) 9, 248–262
  • “Hyperapartheid.” Journal of Narrative Politics (2015) 2 no. 1, 37-46
  • “The Czech Republic and South Africa as Emerging Donors.” In Hana Horakova and Stephanie Rudwick, Global Challenges and Local Reactions in Two Young Democracies: The Czech Republic And South Africa Revisited. LiT Verlag, Berlin (2014).
  • Ngcoya, M. (2006). Globalization: The Great Equalizer? International Studies Review 8, no 4, p. 668. 
  • Ngcoya, M. (2005). Mandela’s World: The International Dimension of South Africa’s Political Revolution 1990-1999. African Studies Review 48, no. 2, p. 186.
  • Ngcoya, M. (2005). Respectability and Resistance: A History of Sophiatown. African Studies Review 48, no. 2 , p. 144.