Bhaso Ndzendze, the youngest with a big title at one of the top higher institutions of learning in South Africa.

Bhaso Ndzendze (25) was recently appointed head of department (HoD) of politics and international relations at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) making him the youngest in the university’s history, and arguably in South Africa. 

“I feel honoured by the confidence of my colleagues and university management, as well as a huge sense of responsibility given the vastness of the department and the importance of its work,” Ndzendze told Wits Vuvuzela. “I am confident in my abilities and excited for the road ahead.” 

Ndzendze was born and raised in the Eastern Cape, in Matheko village near Mthatha. He holds a PhD in international relations (from Wits University), specialising in the effects of variables such as trade and democracy on African States. He also has a certificate in artificial intelligence and blockchain technology.  

The young academic was fortunate enough to know what he wanted to do from a young age. He also had the advantage of being exposed to books early on, mainly through his is uncle who holds a master’s degree in political sciences. His brother works in the computer science industry, which taught him a lot about programming. 

Prior to his appointment, he was the research director of UJ’s Centre for Africa-China studies, from 2018 until 2020. “It was a great learning experience, and involved management of research fellows, in addition to doing my own research and conducting our regular business such as teaching and fundraising for research projects,” says Ndzendze.

His interest in international relations comes from a fascination with history and its impact on the present. He believes there is great value in studying the outcome of events today by looking at decisions made decades, even centuries ago. 

Ndzendze plans to use his new position to implement several changes in the department. He wants to reimagine the learning spaces by transforming them into a more digitised environment, with technologies such as the internet of things, blockchain, artificial intelligence being incorporated into administration, as well as areas outside the university, like service delivery and policing. 

Ndzendze is also a published author. He has written and co-written three books based on Brics, artificial intelligence, and the Africa-China relationship.  

FEATURED IMAGE: Dr Bhaso Ndzendze, appointed youngest head of department at the University of Johannesburg. Photo: Provided