Prishani’s intellectual life has been shaped by her engagements in (and with) academia; political organisations; trade unions; social movements; community groups; artist, media, education and research collectives; NGOs; and other civil society formations. She graduated with a BA degree from Wits University in 1997, majoring in English and Sociology, followed by a BA (Hons) degree in Comparative Literature (also from Wits) in 1998. While at university, she was a member of the South African National Students’ Congress (SANSCO) and the South African Students’ Congress (SASCO), being elected into leadership positions in the SASCO Wits branch between 1992 and 1997, and forwarded by SASCO to various representative structures, being elected Vice-President of the Wits SRC in 1995, and serving two terms of office as President of the South African University Students’ Representative Council (SAU-SRC) (from 1995 to 1997). In this time, she participated in debates and discussions on the National Commission on Higher Education and the production of the first White Paper on Higher Education. Prishani’s first formal job, at Khanya College as a facilitator in its gender programme (between 1997 and 1999), saw her working with trade unionists, in particular with members of SACCAWU, NEHAWU, POPCRU and SAMWU.  Between 1999 and 2001, she was employed as Gender Programme Officer at the Heinrich Boell Foundation’s Southern Africa office. In 2001, she (together with Ahmed Veriava, Nicolas Dieltiens and Francois Lecuyer) established and coordinated Research and Education in Development (RED), a collective/consultancy that conducted research, facilitated education programmes and produced written materials for different organisations (between 2001 and 2008), including the South African National NGO Coalition (SANGOCO), the Rural Development Services Network (RDSN), the Environmental Justice Networking Forum (EJNF), the Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI), Soul City, Wits Education Policy Unit, Ditsela, the UK Department for International Development (DFID), Alternatives (Canada) and the Kwazulu-Natal provincial government inter alia. In this time, Prishani was also involved in the formation of the Anti-Privatisation Forum (APF), in which she was active between 2000 and 2006, assuming the role of its Research Co-ordinator in 2002, and the Independent Media Centre (IMC) (Indymedia) of South Africa, which she co-ordinated nationally between 2001 and 2003. In 2004, she returned to academia when she was invited into an MA programme in Development Studies at the Centre for Civil Society in Kwazulu-Natal. Her MA was upgraded to a PhD, which was awarded to her in 2011. In 2008, she began lecturing in the Sociology Department at Wits. Prishani’s research interests include questions related to political subjectivity, resistance, social movements, labour, poverty, neoliberalism and higher education. She is currently working on a book manuscript with the provisional title, ‘The Subject of Poverty. Protest, Policy and Politics in South Africa after 1994’.



Naidoo, Prishani, and Ahmed Veriava. 2023. “Articulating Difference: Reading Biko-with-Hall.” Ethnic and Racial Studies 46(16).
Naidoo, Prishani. 2020. “Prishani Naidoo – Chapter 3.” in Reflections of South African Student Leaders 1994 to 2017. Cape Town: African Minds.
von Holdt, Karl, and Prishani Naidoo. 2019. “Mapping Movement Landscapes in South Africa.” Globalizations 16(2):170–85.