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Who we are

Nolundi Luwaya is Director of LARC. As Director her role is to provide leadership and strategic direction to the Centre. Together with the LARC team she stewards relationships with partner organisations and funders. Since joining LARC (at that stage RWAR at CLS) as a researcher in 2012, she has played a central role in co-ordinating and assisting with the Traditional Courts Bill (TCB) campaign and the Restitution Amendment Bill campaign working closely with the Alliance for Rural Democracy. Nolundi has taught extensively on customary land rights, including teaching African Customary Law at UCT.

Nolundi’s research interests include: rural women’s land rights under customary law and methods for understanding and protecting these rights that are informed by the experiences of rural women. She is also interested in questions of legal pluralism and the challenges involved in teaching law in a plural system such as we have in South Africa.

Nolundi has a BA LLB and LLM from the University of Cape Town.

Monica de Souza-Louw
Deputy Director

Monica heads activities within LARC’s Traditional Governance stream and is a member of LARC’s Management Committee. She is responsible for monitoring legislation, policy and practices dealing with the role and recognition of traditional institutions in South Africa, and providing legal analysis for use in advocacy and litigation. Since joining the Centre in 2010 (when it was still the Rural Women’s Action Research Programme), she has researched the registration of customary marriages, the status of traditional councils, processes for recognising traditional leaders and resolving leadership disputes, and participation requirements for the making of legislation on customary law. Prior to her current research interests she also worked on sexual offences law and published chapters in the Sexual Offences Commentary: Act 32 of 2007 (Juta).

Monica has an LLB and LLM (Human Rights Law) from the University of Cape Town.



Dr. Aninka Claassens
​Chief Researcher

Aninka Claassens is the former Director of LARC and currently a chief researcher at LARC.  In 2009 she brought RWAR into the Law Race and Gender Unit (LRG) at UCT.   Soon after that Sindiso Mnisi joined RWAR and they worked together on the Traditional Courts Bill.  Aninka coordinated the research for the legal challenge against the Communal Land Rights Bill, which was struck down by the Constitutional Court in 2010. She worked closely with the Community Agency for Social Inquiry in designing a survey of three thousand women to ascertain rates of change in relation to unmarried women accessing residential sites in ‘communal’ areas and has published a number of articles that pertain to changing marriage rates and land rights.   She co-edited a book entitled Land, Power and Custom about the controversies generated by the Communal Land Act with Ben Cousins, and another book entitled Marriage, Land and Custom about law and social change with Dee Smythe.  She has been an expert witness in a number of cases related to land rights, customary law and accountability in the Constitutional Court and in various high courts. During 2016 and 2017 she chaired the Land Working Group of the Motlanthe High Level Panel investigation into the impact of post-apartheid laws on poverty and inequality, land reform and social cohesion.

Aninka has a PhD in Development Studies from Roskilde University in Denmark.  Her overarching research focus is on the nature and content of customary law in the South African constitutional dispensation. In particular she focuses on the tensions between the jurisprudence of open-ended ‘living’ customary law emanating from the Constitutional Court, and the bounded and autocratic version of custom contained in traditional leadership laws that have been enacted since 2003.

Thiyane Duda
​Researcher (Governance)

Thiyane Duda is a Researcher at LARC. Since joining in February 2015 his focus area of research has been traditional governance, especially in relation to living customary law. Thiyane has also worked as a Junior Researcher at the Human Science Research Council (HSRC) in the HIV/AIDS, STI & TB (HAST) unit. At HRSC Thiyane was involved in research on HIV and alcohol, HIV and men that have sex with men (MSM), HIV and gender-based violence. Thiyane has a BsocSci (Hons) in Social Anthropology from the University of Cape Town. 


Ayesha Motala

Ayesha joined LARC in April 2017 as a Researcher. Prior to joining LARC, she served articles of community service at the Centre for Environmental Rights where she worked in the Centre’s mining programme which seeks to promote environmental justice in the mining industry through research, litigation and advocacy. She grew up in Durban and graduated with her LLB degree and Masters in Environmental Law from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Ayesha is an admitted attorney of the High Court of South Africa and is committed to the empowerment of rural communities that are affected by mining and land issues.

Nokwanda Sihlali

Nokwanda joined LARC as a full-time Research Officer in April 2017. Previously, she worked for an NPO that created an app to assist low income communities to effectively communicate with one another about communal news. Her main academic and professional interests are centred on topics of gender, social research and community development. She is currently part of the land team working specifically on women and land issues, however also researching topics of security of tenure; particularly in the former bantustans.


Ramabina Mahapa



Ramabina joined LARC as a researcher in 2018. He holds a B. Social Science degree majoring in Psychology and Philosophy and has completed the requirements for a BSocSc (Hons) in African Studies to be conferred in April 2018. Ramabina was previously the Project Officer at RX Radio based at Red Cross Children's Hospital and prior to that completed a one year Fellowship with Tshisimani Centre for Activist Education in 2016. At LARC, Ramabina largely focuses on issues around land.

Zenande Booi



Zenande Booi joined LARC as a Researcher in February 2018. Prior to joining LARC, she was the Crowley Fellow in International Human Rights at the Leitner Center for International Law and Justice at the Fordham School of Law in New York City, where she conducted research focusing on security of tenure in South Africa’s former homelands in the context of legislation governing traditional leadership and mining. She graduated with an LLB from the University of Cape Town and completed her Masters in International Human Rights at Georgetown Law Center in Washington, DC. At LARC, she forms part of the Land Research Team and focusses on security of tenure rights of traditional communities.



Amilinda Wilkinson
Administrative Officer

Amilinda joined LARC in May 2015 as the LARC Administrative Officer, responsible for the day to day administration of the Centre, as well as providing support to the Director, staff and projects of LARC. Amilinda has extensive administration and coordination experience in the NGO and research sectors, with a specific focus in training, workshop organisation, social media and publications. She obtained her M.A. degree from the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.​

Lisl George
Finance Administrative Officer

Lisl George  joined LARC in July 2016  as the Finance Administrative Officer.  Lisl has worked in research administration at UCT for 14 years and her expertise are in financial administration, grants and fund management.  She has a business administration qualification from the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business.