Professor Catherine Odora Hoppers is the Department of Science and Technology/National Research Foundation South African Research Chair in Development Education at Unisa.


“In this day and age when craftsmen, tribal elements, traditional experts and women are not seen as part of the citizenship of knowledge, and … when it is still assumed that knowledge begins with one’s entry into the university … we are under obligation to build a fraternity between forms of knowledge,” declared Odora Hoppers in a 2008 UNESCO speech. Her words capture the essence of her pioneering work in the field of Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS), where she led the task team that drafted South Africa’s national IKS Policy. Born in Uganda, Odora Hoppers first studied in her home country and in Zambia before becoming a Swedish citizen and completing her Doctorate in Social Sciences at Stockholm University. She has since forged an extraordinarily multifaceted career as a scholar and policy adviser, serving many leading international organisations in areas including education, gender policy, disarmament, and intellectual property rights.