ACMS Alumni



Adeagbo Oluwafemi Atanda


Currently a researcher and project leader at the Centre for Social Development in Africa (University of Johannesburg)

'The MA programme in Forced Migration Studies turned my career around completely. I am grateful today because I was given the opportunity with a DAAD scholarship that enabled the successful completion of my MA at ACMS. It was really a postiive change in my life. My Master's minor dissertation focused on the impact of the generalised anti-Nigerian sentiments on marriages between Nigerian men and South African women in Johannesburg. This was the beginning of my journey as a family sociologist. My experience at ACMS made me a better person both within and outside of academia.'

Jessica Anderson


Currently a Boren fellow based in the horn of Africa, and PhD student in the George Washington University's political science department

"The MA program at ACMS was pivotal for me to really figure out my academic and professional interests. I gained field research design and management skills, as well as incredible mentors that I am continually grateful for. My MA thesis directly ties into my dissertation research, and my ACMS training continues to inform how I think, read, and write on issues of aid in sub-saharan Africa."

Caitlin Blaser

Caitlin Blaser

Currently a PhD candidate at ACMS

Between completing her MA at ACMS Caitlin was director of learning with the Global Call to Action Against Poverty and advised Gender Links on monitoring and evaluation. 

Thea de Gruchy

Thea de Gruchy

Currently a research assistant at ACMS

"The MA at ACMS is both challenging and incredibly rewarding. The teaching is excellently designed to improve the critical thinking and reasoning of students, and although I had never done any empirical research before, the research component was so well facilitated and supported that this was not a problem." 

Becca Hartmann-Pickerill

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Currently working at Interfaith Youth Core

'ACMS' MA program built upon my existing humanities knowledge and experience with a social science lens and set of skills that has enabled me to: 1)  undertake statistical analysis when dealing with varied data sets; 2) apply critical thinking with regard to academic, civic and public writing and speech; and 3) synthesize both local and global phenomena into trends that can inform theory, policy debates and public rhetoric.'

Jo Hunter Adams

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Currently a postdoctoral research fellow at the Health Economics Unit at the University of Cape Town, Department of Public Health and Family Medicine 

'Doing a Masters at ACMS in 2005 (then the Forced Migration Studies Programme) allowed me to spend time researching cross-border migrant contexts in Durban. Through this experience, I developed a strong focus on migrant health fairly early on in my career, and was able to focus the studies and work that followed.'

Hilton Johnson

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Currently a senior consultant at Synergy Global

'I found the MA course to be a life changing experience. My understanding of migration and it's impact and relevance to the contemporary African context grew immeasurably. Issues around identity, public health considerations, African state formation and governance, and the policy frameworks that currently frame our responses to migration have proved highly formative in terms of my thinking and career. Finally, the networks that I have been able to access through the process of completing my degree continue to inform and frame my engagement with most of the contemporary socio-economic issues that I work with today.'

Dostin Lakika

Dostin Lakika

Currently a PhD candidate at ACMS

"When I first came to ACMS for my MA I struggled to adapt as I came from a different language and educational background and I lacked academic language skills. However, the MA programme and ACMS helped me to develop critical thinking and writing skills. I know I am still in the learning process but it was a challenging and indispensable experience which helped develop my academic interest." 

Aline Mugisho

Aline Mugisho

Currently working at ACMS and the African Diaspora Forum

Aline Mugisho is currently conducting her doctoral research at the Willy Brandt School of Public Policy focuses on Gender, Resilience and Politics of Protection in Conflict societies with a particular focus on Great Lakes Region. Her research interest include: Public Policy; Politics of Reconstruction in Post-Conflicts; Research Methods in Conflict; Transitional Justice; Gender, Migration and Integration; Social Cohesion and Diaspora Dynamics. Aline Mugisho worked on two research projects at the African Centre for Migration and Society in 2014, namely; Migration for Work Research Consortium (MiWORC), Work Package 3, with a particular focus on Highly Skilled Workers; as well as the project Exploring the Continuum of Coexistence and Conflicts: Modalities of Engaging with Difference In Poor Informal Areas In Urban South Africa. She is also the Public Relations Officer of the African Diaspora Forum, South Africa. In the past, Ms. Mugisho also worked on various research projects at ACMS including the 'Regional Perspectives on the Local Governance of Migration and Migrant Needs and Vulnerability Survey'. Ms. Mugisho has seasoned experience in diverse fields such as public relations and communication, project management, education, prison monitoring, humanitarian relief, conflict mediation and reconciliation, psychological care for victims of war and poverty, lobbying and advocacy for migrants, refugees and asylum seekers. She also works as a Freelance Journalist in South Africa. She has substantive work experience in Great-Lakes Region of Africa especially in war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo, Post-genocide Rwanda, and Post-Conflict Burundi where she worked for several years as an activist, mediator and observer of elections.

Ms. Mugisho has a Master’s Degree in Migration and Displacement from the African Centre for Migration and Society, Wits University and a Bachelor Diploma in Journalism and Communications from the Institute of Audio Visual. 

Barbra Nyangairi

Barbra Nyangairi

Currently a human rights activist at Executive Director of the Deaf Zimbabwe Trust

"I hold a Master of Arts in Forced Migration from the University of Witwatersrand, a BSc Honours in Public Administration from the University of Zimbabwe and a Diploma in Education. I have experience in research in areas of human rights, democracy, governance, gender and education.  I have published papers on education, democracy, elections, the police and corruption, gender, women and politics among others. 

The MA programme at ACMS was critical for my career development in a number of ways:

  • The programme taught me the value of collaborative work as I saw the link between my programme and other programmes within the university
  • The programme opened my eyes to a new world of applied research techniques which I have been able to use in my work as a Director in an area where very little is known about the Deaf community who are as marginalised as migrants.
  • The MA in ACMS was taught me how to create synergies between myself as a researcher and other researchers. It taught me that more can be achieved if we work together as there was a lot of team work, cooperation and collaboration between the staff in the department. As a result in my work I have been able to collaborate with the University of Zimbabwe in a number of research works we have done.
  • The experience was very valuable for me and the programme sharpened my research skills opening me to new research methodologies which have opened new avenues for me as influence policy change in my country as it relates to disability rights." 

Elsa Oliveira

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Currently a PhD candidate at ACMS

'Since completing my MA in 2011, I have worked as a researcher at the ACMS on various projects.  Since 2013, I have worked as the project coordinator and principal investigator on a series of participatory arts-based research projects with migrant groups in South Africa, including: LGBTI migrants and refugees and migrants who sell sex.  In 2013, I co-founded the MoVE Project with Dr. Jo Vearey.  I am currently enrolled as a PhD student at the ACMS.  My interest areas are in: migration, gender, sexuality and ways that research can support social justice issues.  In my PhD I seek to examine the use of arts-based research methods when exploring the lived experiences of migrant sex workers in three provinces in South Africa. The MA program at the ACMS offered me an invaluable opportunity to engage in a variety global discourses around issues of migration.  The ACMS's location- Wits University in Johannesburg, South Africa- allowed me as a student to have direct 'hands on' engagement with many of the concepts and theories that I studied.'

Brittany Lauren Wheeler

Brittany Wheeler

Currently working as the Repatriation Specialist at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago and co-coordinates the international ESPMI Network (Emerging Scholars and Practitioners on Migration Issues).

Wheeler holds M.A. degrees in International Museum Studies (University of Gothenburg) and Forced Migration Studies (University of the Witwatersrand).

"The strength of the ACMS programme lies in its ability to provide and expand a student's theoretical and practical understanding of issues related to migration. The accessible staff and faculty are readily able to speak to both, and can as easily recommend and discuss literature and academic resources as they can provide examples of their work and research experience with governmental, legal, and community-based issues and programs in Johannesburg, Africa, and beyond. As a student, I felt that I was given access to a number of opportunities that would have been difficult to come by otherwise. The programme also places stress on understanding one's methodological process, interacting with one's classmates and one's environment through projects, and anaylsing useful texts in the classroom."