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Dr Gillian Godsell

Guest Editors Profile


Dr Gillian Godsell

Occupation: Academic, writer and radio presenter
Organisation: Wits Graduate School of public and Development Management
Education: PhD, Boston University
MA (Industrial Psychology), University of Pretoria
BA (Hons) psychology, University of Stellenbosch
BA, University of the Witwatersrand



You identify yourself as an African futures thinker or practitioner. How would you describe to the woman or man on the street what it is that you do in this regard?

I teach at a post-graduate school of public management. The students are mainly working for government, some are in non-profit organisations.This means I am teaching the government leaders of the future. I hope that I am teaching them to think critically,read widely, and welcome new ideas.

I host a weekly programme, called Jozi Today, on community radio station Radio Today. I am able to provide a platform for people doing the grassroots good work that usually stays under the radar. This keeps me very optimistic about what is happening in South Africa below the newspaper headlines.

What is it that motivates you to work or participate in the foresight / future studies / related field

I am passionate about the future of my country, South Africa. I am passionate about education, particularly about excellent state schools. If we don't articulate what is going right and what is going wrong, and advocate strongly for what we believe in, in the public domain, we will not achieve the future we are capable of.


Dr Gillian Godsell graduated from Wits University in 1972 with a BA degree majoring in Psychology and Afrikaans. Her honours and masters qualifications are also in the field of psychology, crowned with a PhD from Boston University which she attained in 1990.

Dr Godsell served as a full-time researcher at the National Institute for Personnel Research from 1974 to 1983, and was registered as an industrial psychologist in 1983. She has worked at the Wits Centre for Policy Studies, as an associate of the Institute for the Study of Economic Culture at Boston University as a Researcher at the Wits Centre for Developing Business from 1990 to 1994. She has also served as a lecturer in Entrepreneurship at RAU. She is currently an Associate Research Fellow in the Wits Graduate School of Public and Development Management, a position that she has held since 2006.

Dr Godsell is well-known for her deep interest in education, but she has worked voluntarily across a number of sectors. She worked intensely for the Progressive Party between 1969 and 1979, served on the governing bodies of several schools and as a trustee of small business initiatives and as an active board member of a number of entrepreneurship programmes.

She is widely published, has written and edited a number of chapters in books, academic journals and the popular media. A book titled Thought pieces by Opinion Leaders edited by Max du Preez, which contains a collection of critical reflections on various aspects of contemporary South Africa, features a chapter by Dr Godsell entitled Moving Forward School by School.

Dr Godsell serves as a board member of Radio Today where she hosts a programme called Jozi Today, which provides a space for people to tell the stories of the positive things happening in Joburg.


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