Dr. Somadoda Fikeni
Dr. Somadoda Fikeni is one of South Africa’s most recognised figures among political and social commentators. He is engaged widely by local, national, Continental and global media. These include the BBC, Al Jazeera, Turkish Global TV as well as various German, American and Australian media. He also works with local community print, broadcast and online media in South Africa.
He is an author, researcher, public speaker and commentator in the areas of policy analysis, comparative politics, research methodology, international politics, political economy and heritage.
Dr. Fikeni received the most votes as the best political analyst in an SAfm-organised survey hosted by the highly-respected media personality, Ashraf Garda. This recognition was repeated in 2017 when he was again named the best political analyst in a much publicised programme based on public voting and opinion.
He now dedicates more time to identifying young talent, mentoring and introducing these to the mainstream media.
Educationally, Dr. Somadoda Fikeni acquired his BA and BA honours in politics and social sciences from the then University of Transkei (now Walter Sisulu University). He also studied peace and political studies programme at McMaster University in Canada, obtained his MA in International Politics and Comparative Development at Queens University, also in Canada. He went on to obtain his Doctoral Studies or PhD in Comparative Politics and Public Policy Analysis at Michigan State University in the USA.
Professionally, he has lectured in a number of universities in SA and at Michigan State University. He also worked as a researcher at the Namibian Institute for Social and Economic Research.
He has held various management and leadership positions which include being the merger manager at the University of Transkei and founding COO and Heritage Manager for the National Heritage Council of South Africa (NHC).
He has chaired various national, provincial and local boards, councils, task teams, projects and institutions, namely, Walter Sisulu University (WSU) Council, Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC), South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA), South African Forestry Company Limited (SAFCOL), the Eminent Persons Group for Sports Transformation (EPG), Independent Development Trust (IDT) and Artscape.
He was a member of the Brics Think Tank, a member of the inaugural South African Council for International Relations and was also appointed to serve in numerous national and international task teams and commissions of inquiry; these include having been an election observer in East Timor, South East Asia, in 2007.
He has received numerous awards in South Africa and abroad for his academic and community work.
He is currently serving in the Department of Arts and Culture Task Team for Transformation of the Heritage Sector in South Africa as well as one for Review of the Arts, Culture and the Heritage White Paper policy document. In addition he is a director of VC Special Projects and an advisor to the VC/Principal of the University of South Africa, the largest African university and one of few mega universities in the world.
As a student leader he was involved in the anti-apartheid political struggle and was detained five times. He was also involved with the Canadian anti-apartheid movement while studying there.
Dr. Fikeni was born at Mount Ayliff (MaXesibeni) and he hails from Lugelweni village in the Alfred Nzo District of the Eastern Cape.
Currently his major vehicle is the Ubuntu Charity Organisation through which he mobilises and distribute resources for poor, mainly rural, communities in the eastern part of the Eastern Cape. He is also the president of the Xesibe Heritage Association of Southern Africa that seeks to promote, preserve and protect Xesibe heritage and history.
Apart for his passion for community work, he loves technology and innovation and photography and nature as well as travelling, all of which expose him to new places, exotic cultures and people.
His motto is “Live your dream – no matter what circumstances you may be placed in.”