One of the objectives of Freedom from Violence is to create a multi-disciplinary hub that fosters the development of the next generation of researchers actively interrogating the challenges of violence reduction from various perspectives.

We have encouraged applications to undertake doctoral research projects on a range of subjects slightly broader than our formal research agenda, acknowledging the breadth of potential academic inquiry into the various facets of violence and of responses to it.

Some students are based full-time in Pretoria, others travel to three dedicated research summits each year (in February, May and September). During those gatherings our doctoral researchers participate in a series of seminars and discussion groups aimed at promoting a holistic understanding of violence reduction.

Current Students

Fikire Tinsae Birhane (Ethiopia) The right to life of children associated with non-state armed groups

Dennis Chipao (Malawi) is registered in the Law Faculty, writing on the potential for the use of new technologies to make the Malawi Police Service more effective and accountable.

Alero Fenemigho (Nigeria) is registered in the Law Faculty, writing on the international legal framework for counter-terrorism policing in Africa

Dumisani Gandhi (Zimbabwe) is registered in the Law Faculty, exploring the relationship between body-worn cameras and the use of force by the police in South Africa

Anne Ireri (Kenya) is working on the investigation of child sex abuse by the Kenyan police.

Jim Karani (Kenya) is working on the use of force in counter-poaching operations

Joe Kilonzo (Kenya) is working on the inclusion of human rights standards into frameworks for Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) programmes in Africa

Brenda Mwale (Kenya) is registered in the Law Faculty, and focusses on prevention and repression of cyber-terrorism in Africa

Steven Ndhlovu (Malawi) Gender Based Violence and Limitations of the Criminal Justice System Response in Malawi

Beryl Orao (Kenya) is examining international and national standards concerning the use of force and firearms in the context of public assemblies

Lily Oyakhirome (Nigeria) is working on citizen-led accountability processes concerning police abuses in Nigeria 

Seyitan Solademi (Nigeria) is studying the gender dimension of strategies to counter violent extremism (CVE) in Africa

Dagnachew Wakene (Ethiopia) is working on violence against persons with disabilities and legal frameworks for their protection.


These students are all currently registered in the Law Faculty and working from ICLA. However, across the University of Pretoria there are many other students working on the problem of violence from a number of disciplinary perspectives. One of Freedom from Violence’s core objectives is to bring together these students into a research community. 

If you are a doctoral student with a research interest in violence or in legal or governance approaches to violence-reduction, please contact Dr Thomas Probert (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)


Applications Process

In April each year we will open a Call for Applicants (see here for 2018’s) and begin to collate applications, which will be reviewed in July/August, when promising research proposals will be discussed with applicants and supported through formal admission to the University.

If you are interested in undertaking doctoral studies as part of this programme, please contact Cheree Olivier (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). Potential applicants are encouraged to send a CV and to explain both the field and potential subject of their intended research. A preliminary review of applications will be undertaken after 31 July, with shortlisted candidates invited to elaborate their proposals.