Brief Academic Biography

My scholarship revolves around two nodes: critical men and masculinity studies on one hand, and critical and cultural African psychological studies on the other. Much of my thinking, writing, research, and public engagement activities are directly or indirectly flow out of and into these two fields of enquiry. My list of publications is extensive. It includes books, book chapters and journal articles. A value I hold dear is the dissemination of scholarly work via nonacademic channels such as newspapers, television, a documentary film, (click on image of An Ordinary Thing below to watch film), short videos, social media, and radio. I used to co-host a weekly radio show on Cape Talk called ‘Cape Dads’ with Koketso Sachane and Mbuyiselo Botha. Among several roles my scholarship expertise work has allowed me to served as a member of the Ministerial Committee on Transformation in South African Universities, convener of the National Research Foundation’s Specialist Committee for Psychology Rating Panel, president of the Psychological Society of South Africa, and former chairperson of Sonke Gender Justice.


Research topics

  • boys, men and masculinity
  • race and racism
  • violence
  • love
  • fatherhood
  • sexuality
  • critical and cultural African psychology


(A selection of 5)

  1. Ratele, K. (2019). The world looks this from here: Thoughts on African psychology. Wits University Press
  2. Shefer, T., Hearn, J., Ratele, K. & Boonzaier, F. (2018). (eds) Engaging Youth in Activism, Research and Pedagogical Praxis: Transnational and Intersectional Perspectives on Gender, Sex, and Race. Routledge.
  3. Ratele, K. (2016). Liberating masculinities. HSRC Press
  4. Krog, A., Zantsi, N. & Ratele, K. (2009). There was this goat: investigating the Truth Commission testimony of Notrose Nobomvu Konile. University of Kwazulu-Natal Press.
  5. Ratele, K. & Duncan, N. (2003) (eds) Social psychology: identities & relationships. University of Cape Town Press

Book chapters

(A selection of 10)

  1. Ratele, K., Stevens, G. & Malherbe, N. (in press). An orienting conversation on Africa(n)-centred decolonial community psychologies. In Sonn, C. & Stevens, G. (eds) Decoloniality and Epistemic Justice in Contemporary Community Psychology. Springer
  2. Ratele, K. (2020). African and Black Men and Masculinities. In, Gottzén, L., Mellström, U. & Shefer, T. (eds). Routledge International Handbook of Masculinity Studies. (125-134). London: Routledge
  3. Ratele, K. (2018). Is University Transformation about Assimilation into Slightly Tweaked Traditions. In, Pattman, R & Carolissen, R. (eds). Transforming Transformation in Research and Teaching at South African Universities (51-71). No Place of Publication: Sun Press.
  4. Ratele, K. (2018). Towards cultural (African) psychology: links, challenges and possibilities. In Jovanović, G., Allolio-Näcke, L. & Ratner, C. (eds). The Challenges of Cultural Psychology: Historical Legacies and Future Responsibilities (250-267). London: Routledge.
  5. Ratele, K. (2018). Concerning tradition in studies on men and masculinities in the ex-colonies. In Messerschmidt, J.W., Martin, P.Y., Messner, M. A. & Connell, R. (eds). Gender Reckonings: New Social Theory and Research. New York: NYU Press.
  6. Cornell, J., Kessi, S., & Ratele, K. (2018). Dynamics of privilege, identity and resistance at a historically white university: A photovoice study of exclusionary institutional culture. In Oke, N., Sonn, C. & Baker A. (Eds.) Places of Privilege Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Identities, Change and Resistance (173-193). Dordrecht, Netherlands: Sense Publishers.
  7. Cooper, S. & Ratele, K. (2018). The Black Consciousness Psychology of Steve Biko. In Fernando, S. & Moodley, R. (Eds.), Global Psychologies: Mental Health and the Global South (245-260). London: Palgrave Macmillan.
  8. Ratele K (2013) Does He Speak Xhosa? in Megan Jones and Jacob Dlamini (eds) Categories of Persons: Rethinking Ourselves and Others, (119-134). Cape Town: Picador Africa.
  9. Ratele K & Laubscher L (2013). Archiving White Lives, Historicising Whiteness, in Garth Stevens, Norman Duncan & Derek Hook (eds), Race, Memory and the Apartheid Archive: Towards a Transformative Psychosocial Praxis (109-127) London: Palgrave.
  10. Ratele K (2011) Male sexualities and masculinities. In Tamale, S (ed). African sexualities: A reader (399-419). Nairobi: Pambazuka Press.

Journal Articles

(A selection of 15)

    1. Malherbe, N. & Ratele, K. What and for whom is a decolonial African psychology. Theory & Psychology. Online.
    2. Khan, A. R., Ratele, K., & Helman, R. (2020). Suicidal Behaviour in South Africa and Bangladesh: A Review of Empirical Work. African Safety Promotion: A Journal of Injury and Violence Prevention, 18(1), 1-30.
    3. Ratele, K., Malherbe, N., Suffla, S., Cornell, J., & Taliep, N. (2021).
    4. Three Pathways for Enlarging Critical African Psychology. South African Journal of Psychology. 2021;51(3):430-440. doi:10.1177/0081246320963201
    5. Ratele, K., & Malherbe, N. (2020). What antiracist psychology does and does not (do). South African Journal of Psychology, 50(3), 296-300. doi:10.1177/0081246320947361
    6. Ratele, K. (2021). An invitation to decoloniality in work on (African) men and masculinities. Gender, Place & Culture, 28:6, 769-785, DOI: 10.1080/0966369X.2020.1781794
    7. Ratele, K., Malherbe, N. Cornell, J., Day, S., Helman, R., Makama, R., Titi, N., Suffla, S., & Dlamini, S. (2020). Elaborations on (a) decolonising Africa(n)-centred feminist psychology. Psychology in Society, 59, 1-19.
    8. Ratele, K., Verma, R., Cruz, S. & Khan, A.R. (2019). Engaging men to support women in science, medicine, and global health. The Lancet, 393, 609-610.
    9. Khan, A.R., Ratele, K., Arendse, N. & Islam M.Z. & Dery, I. (2020). Suicide and attempted suicide in Jhenaidah district, Bangladesh, 2010-2018. CRISIS: The Journal of Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention, 41(4), 304-312
    10. Ratele, K. (2017). Frequently asked questions about African psychology. South African Journal of Psychology, 47(3), 273-279. doi/full/10.1177/0081246317703249
    11. Ratele, K. (2017). Four (African) psychologies. Theory & Psychology, 27(3), 313-327. DOI: 10.1177/0959354316684215
    12. Helman, R. & Ratele, K. (2016). Everyday (in)equality at home: complex constructions of gender in South African families. Global Health Action, 9: 31122 –
    13. Ratele, K. (2014). Currents against gender transformation of South African men: relocating marginality to the centre of research and theory of masculinities, NORMA: International Journal for Masculinity Studies, 9(1), 30-44.
    14. Clowes, L., Ratele, K., & Shefer T (2013). Who needs a father? South African men reflect on being fathered. Journal of Gender Studies 22(3), 255-267
    15. Ratele K (2013). Mandela is not enough: African yearnings for psychological and cultural wholeness. Journal of Black Psychology (39)3, 243-247.
    16. Ratele K (2013). Masculinity without Tradition. Politikon: South African Journal of Political Studies, 40(1), 133-156.


Gender Based Violence: How will it end?

August 25th, 2020|

On 24 August 2019 University of Cape Town (UCT) first-year student Uyinene Mrwetyana went to the post office to pick up a parcel and ended up being brutally raped and murdered by a male post [...]

Book excerpt: Black Children and White Dolls

July 3rd, 2020|

Read ‘Black children and white dolls’ by Kopano Ratele, excerpted from his book The World Looks Like This From Here: Thoughts on African Psychology – The Johannesburg Review of Books – Kopano Ratele, 3 July [...]

An Ordinary Thing: Equal Families in South Africa

February 8th, 2020|

The country is marred by sexual and gender-based violence, and reportedly has some of the world's highest rates of assault and sexual violence. Sexual and gender-based violence have been shown to be associated with men's [...]

Podcast: Adolescence in African contexts

February 6th, 2020|

Podcast. Adolescence. This podcast was recorded as part of the series of podcasts that explores the question of adolescence in African contexts. The podcasts are part of the ongoing work of the 5-year, UK Research [...]