Getting To Know Prof Simon Kang’ethe – Acting HoD: Social Work and Social Development

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Prof Simon Kang’ethe is an accomplished Researcher and a widely-published author. Due to his multi-disciplinary nature, his research interest and publications cut across several areas of study. From 2015 he was recognised as a C-Rated Researcher by the National Research Foundation until his rating expired in 2020.

His commitment and dedication to community engagement, particularly with the older persons in and around the Alice region, earned him the Faculty of Science and Humanities Community Engagement Award (2019). 

He holds a PhD from North-west University, Master of Social Work (University of Botswana), Bachelor of Social Work (University of Fort Hare,) Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from the University of Nairobi (Kenya), and a Post-graduate Diploma in Higher Education and Training (PGDHET) from the University of Fort Hare.

He shared some of his outstanding research work with ThisWeek@FortHare.

Who is Prof Kang’ethe?

I am currently the Acting Head of the Social Work and Social Development Department under the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities.

I joined the university 11 years ago as a Lecturer and by 2016, I had managed to become a Full Professor. I currently lead the Faculty of Social Science Ethics Screening Committee and represent the Faculty in the Inter-Faculty Research Ethics Committee of the University. I also serve as a member of Senate and Senex structures.

Please tell us about your research interests.  Also, share with us your past and current work/projects?

I am a multi-disciplinarian.  My research domain is quite diverse:  from HIV/AIDS, culture, children, aging, substance abuse, gender and most recently health issues such as COVID-19.  My multi-disciplinary nature is reflected by a range of students I supervise.

The main objective of my research is to mentor as many mentees as possible in various domains of research that I am engaged in.

For HIV/AIDS I would like to research fully the dynamics of the socio-cultural drivers influencing HIV/AIDS.

For Aging, I am interested in ensuring that adequate knowledge on the dynamics of aging is communicated to those going through the process of aging.

The goal of my Substance Abuse research is to uncover how prevention interventions are meted.

With regards to COVID-19, my research is to ensure societies are equipped with knowledge and the aetiology and epidemiology of the disease.


HIV/AIDS project and culture

Around 2015 I conducted a research project on socio-cultural drivers of HIV/AIDS, which led to the production of the following article:

  • Kang’ethe S.M. 2020. Disclosure deficit experienced by people living with HIV/AIDS in Alice and its environs in Eastern Cape, South Africa. Indian Journal of Palliative Care (IJPC) 2020: 26: 28-33.
  • Aphiwe Mpateni & Kang’ethe Simon Murote. 2020. An autopsy of palliative health hazards associated with the contemporary traditional male circumcision rite. The case of 2016 Alice study. Indian Journal of Palliative Care (IJPC) 2020: 26:80-5.

Aging project

Through my community engagement project, I have been able to study most aspects surrounding aging in one of the old age centres in Alice. This has seen me author the following articles pertaining to aging:

  • Kang’ethe S.M (2018). Violation of Human Rights of Older Persons in South Africa. The case of Lavela Old Age Centre, Ntselamanzi, Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. The Professional Journal/Maatskaplike Werk. Vol 54. Issue 2. No 3. P 282-295.
  • Kang’ethe, SM. 2021. The perfidy of secondary parenting faced by the elderly. Evidence from an elderly centre in Alice town, Eastern Cape, South Africa. In the press of South African Journal of Social Work & Social Development.
  • Shingirai Paul Mbulayi & S.M Kang’ethe. 2019. Social constructions of successful ageing:  The case of Ruware Park in Marondera, Zimbabwe. The Professional Journal/Maatskaplike. Vol 55 No 3; issue7. P328-340.

Children’s work

I have done a lot of work on children and that has resulted in the publications below:

  • S.P Mbulayi, A Makuyana & S.M Kang’ethe. 2020.  Street vending motherhood. Implications on childcare in Harare, Zimbabwe.  Children & Youth Care Services Review. 119. Page 1-6.
  • Makuyana A, Mbulayi, SP & S.M Kang’ethe. 2020. Psychosocial deficits associated with Child Headed Households (CHH) in Zimbabwe. Children & Youth Services Review. 115 2020. P 1-6.
  • Mbulayi, S.P & Simon M Kang’ethe. 2020. Psychosocial deficits associated with teenagers born and raised in a “small-house” family setting in Cherutombo in Marondera, Zimbabwe. Social Work/Maatskaplike Werk. Vol 56 No1 Issue 8. P96-108.
  • Mugedya, S, S.M Kang’ethe, Thanduxolo Nomngcoyiya 2020. The Coping Mechanisms Employed byGrandparent-Headed Families in Addressing Juvenile Delinquency in Hill Crest, Alice Township,Eastern Cape Province. Perspectives on Global Development and Technology 19 (2020). Page 525-540

Substance abuse

  • Bala, S & S.M Kang’ethe. 2020. Interplay between substance use and Health. Behavioural Dynamics among female adolescents in Butterworth, S. Africa. Maatskaplike Vol 56. No 4 (1): P447-459


  • Kajiita, R; Nomngcoyiya, Thanduxolo and Simon Murote Kang’ethe (2020). The ‘revolution’ on teaching and learning: Implications of COVID-19 on social word education in institutions of Higher Learning in Africa. Vol 10 (3). P 25-33.
  • Muhuro, P and Simon Murote Kang’ethe (2021). Prospects and Pitfalls Associated with Implementing Blended Learning in Rural-based HEI in Southern Africa”. In the press of Perspectives in Education.


  • Agboola, C, Simon Kang’ethe & Boitumelo Joyce Mohapi (2020. Unpacking women-to-women rape within correctional centres in South Africa: Empirical lenses. Acta Criminologica: African Journal of Criminology and Victimology. Vol 33 (2), 2020. P92-109
  • Mafa, I, Kang’ethe, S.M & Victor Chikadzi (2020). Revenge Porn and Women Empowerment Issues. Implications for Human Rights and Social Work Practice in Zimbabwe. Journal of Human Rights and Social Work
  • Mafa Itai & Simon Murote Kang’ethe. 2019. Women-NGOs and financial viability: Implications for women empowerment processes from a social work perspective. African Journal of Social Work (AJSW). Vol 9 number 2. 2019. P 43-51

What do you think are your most significant research accomplishments?

My most significant accomplishment is the number of people I mentor and equip to carry out research and produce publications. I mentor and co-author with close to twenty mentees.

Being able to traverse through different research domains is also an important milestone. My ability to supervise students from different academic domains and ability to publish in these different domains remains my strength.

How do you ensure your research is well communicated, digested and acted on?

I ensure that any published article is shared with all my mentees. My work is also in Research Gate and many other research engines. Also, I present papers at conferences.

What has been the greatest impact of your work?

My work is quoted by many scholars and is reflected daily on Research Gate. This is also evidenced by the rate that at which Google scholar statistics pertaining to my work continues to increase.

What advice would you give to Young Researchers out there?

  • Work hard
  • Be committed, and
  • Seek mentorship from well-grounded and established researchers.