Bhaso Ndzendze

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Bhaso Ndzendze
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Born (1995-10-05) October 5, 1995 (age 27)
NationalitySouth African
CitizenshipSouth Africa
OccupationPolitical scientist

Bhaso Ndzendze (born 5 October 1995) is a South African political scientist affiliated with the University of Johannesburg as a Senior Lecturer and Research Director of its Centre for Africa-China Studies.[1]


Bhaso Ndzendze obtained his PhD at the University of the Witwatersrand in 2020 with a thesis titled Explaining East Africa's Interstate Wars, 1977-2000: Towards a Typological Theory? At 24, he was the youngest person to obtain such a PhD in the university.


Ndzendze published his first book in 2015, titled The Continent we Construct. Between 2016 and 2017, he worked with embassies of east Asian countries, including South Korea and Singapore, while also teaching at the University of the Witwatersrand. Since 2018, he has been the founding research director of the Centre for Africa-China Studies at the University of Johannesburg as well as senior lecturer in the university's department of politics and international relations. His opinion articles have also appeared in numerous national and international media, including Modern Diplomacy, Daily Maverick, E-International Relations (where he is also a commissioning editor).[2]

Works and theoretical contribution

In numerous international relations journals, Ndzendze's work focuses on rational choice theory frameworks and how they explain African international relations within the continent as well as on how the continent relates to external countries. In particular, his research has pivoted towards understanding how African countries reached their decision to forgo relations with Taiwan and  instead recognize mainland China. [3]The same framework has been utilized in understanding, firstly, the role and impact of domestic audiences on African countries' decisions to go to war with one another,  as well as examined the effects of trade and economic interdependence in creating an opportunity cost for such war initiation.[4]

In the first two dilemmas (diplomatic recognition and war initiation), his work has identified the domestic audience considerations as key contributing factors given that (1) African countries decided to recognize Taiwan after democratizing and/or close to elections, (2) authoritarian governments, while themselves not legitimate, were always looking to appraise the situation in neighboring countries for optimal conditions in which to initiate a war.[5] This greatly expands on the democratic peace thesis as it shows how the behavior of domestic audiences also have a signalling function in the decision-making calculus of rivals.

He is a recipient of the Walter and Albertina Sisulu Award in International Relations and was recognised among the Mail and Guardian 200 Young South Africans in the Education category in 2019.[1]

In the media



  1. "CACS Staff". Centre for Africa-China Studies. Retrieved 2020-10-12.
  2. "Bhaso Ndzendze". E-International Relations. Retrieved 2020-10-12.
  3. Ndzendze, Bhaso (2020-06-12). "Domestic Audiences and Economic Opportunity Cost: African Democratisation as a Determinant in the Recognition of China over Taiwan, 2001–2018". Journal of Asian and African Studies: 0021909620926531. doi:10.1177/0021909620926531. ISSN 0021-9096.
  4. "Bhaso Ndzendze, PhD - Google Scholar". Retrieved 2020-10-12.
  5. "Contact - Dr Bhaso Ndzendze". Retrieved 2020-10-12.

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