I am here to serve!

11 Dec 2023 | By Petunia Thulo
Dr Musawenkosi Nxele
11 Dec 2023 | By Petunia Thulo

Dr Musa Nxele is the winner of ROAPE’s Ruth First Prize for his 2022 journal article, Crony Capitalist Deals and Investment in South Africa’s Platinum Belt: A Case Study of Anglo-American Platinum’s Scramble for Mining Rights, 1995–2019. The article is linked to his PhD studies.

Dr Nxele believes that his academic journey is informed by questions deriving from his time in investment banking where he got exposure to deals and investments mainly related to mining. It has been over a decade since he transitioned from investment banking into higher education and research.

In July, Dr Nxele completed his PhD in Development Policy and Practice from the University of Cape Town. In October, he successfully defended his PhD in Economics at the Université de Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. The Two PhDs flowed directly from each of the master’s degrees he obtained from the respective universities. The PhDs continued the exploration of questions linked to economic development associated with mining investment. 

Development Policy versus Economics - where do they intersect?

 We asked Dr Nxele to share his academic journey with us:

  • Obtaining two PhDs is a massive achievement. How did your experiences at the Université de Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne and the University of Cape Town contribute to your growth as a scholar and researcher? I would not say I was a scholar before the graduate studies at the two universities: I believe I became one. The supervision, the exposure to the two universities' programmes, and the two distinct research approaches from each of the universities empowered my spread of capabilities as a scholar.
  • With two PhDs under your belt, what is next? I am here to serve. To do meaningful and impactful research, teaching excellently a curriculum that delivers growth for students and impact in practice.
  • Do you have any advice for aspiring academics and students looking to make a difference in economics, development policy, and practice? Expose yourself to how the world really works. Think deeply about how, given how it really works, change can happen. This way of analytical thinking will open you up to several questions and multiple possibilities.

Dr Musa Nxele is an economist and a political economist. He convenes the Masters degree programme at the Nelson Mandela School. He teaches political economy of policymaking and development. His research currently focusses on the politics of private investment and the economics of natural resources.

 The School is incredibly proud of Dr Nxele’s foundational work which has produced hypotheses and questions translating to a multi-year research project, within the Nelson Mandela School’s research programme on Democratic Governance and Development.