Thandiwe Matthews
Attorney, Lecturer, and Doctoral Researcher
headshot of Thandiwe Matthews

Thandiwe Matthews is an admitted attorney of the High Court of South Africa, lecturer and doctoral researcher with experience in the private and public legal sectors in South Africa. She is currently conducting her doctoral research between South Africa and The Hague, Netherlands. Formerly, a Senior Researcher: Civil and Political Rights at the SA Human Rights Commission, where she was also a Senior Legal Officer, monitoring the advancement and protection of human rights.

In 2018, she was awarded a scholarship to participate in a joint interdisciplinary PhD program between the University of the Witwatersrand (under the South African Research Chair in Law, Equality and Social Justice), and the International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam. Her research explores the role of human rights to address the systemic inequalities of race, gender, class and age in South Africa, with a specific focus on social protection. Her academic interests lie in analyzing the socio-political implications of the law, development and human rights. Her work has been published in the Oxford Journal of Human Rights Practice, the South African Journal on Human Rights and Development Southern Africa.

Thandiwe started her legal career at DLA Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr in Johannesburg, appointed as an Associate: Dispute Resolution and served pro bono as a non-executive board member of the AIDS Consortium. She is an alumna of the US State Department’s Fulbright - Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Programme (2015/2016) based at the University of Minnesota’s Law School, and worked at Human Rights Watch in New York as a professional affiliate focusing on global human rights monitoring methods to reducing inequalities. In 2018, she co-authored and published a bilingual children’s book in English and Zulu, titled ‘Her Story: Daughters of Modjadji,’ focusing on 30 South African women linked around themes of affirmation, identity, gender and mental health. She was selected as one of the Mail&Guardian’s Top 200 Young South Africans in 2014.

Thandiwe holds a Masters in Development Studies (ISS, Erasmus University Rotterdam), Bachelor of Laws (University of the Witwatersrand) and a Bachelor of Social Sciences (University of Cape Town).