“I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul.” — Invictus (2009)


Politics & Government


Twende Mbele

Ayabulela Dlakavu, 29, is the programme manager of Twende Mbele, a multilateral peer-learning initiative involving South Africa, Benin, Uganda, Kenya, Niger and Ghana.

The aim of this programme is to build and sustain strong public sector performance monitoring and evaluation systems, and mutually learn from the process. He is also a lecturer, researcher and analyst of public policy, foreign policy, international organisation, global and regional peace and security, political economy, and international development.

Ayabulela holds a PhD in political science from the University of Johannesburg as well as a certificate in Chinese politics and diplomacy, BRICS cooperation, and global governance from Fudan University in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). He has written and co-authored multiple peer-reviewed journal articles for national and international journals.

Ayabulela has contributed to the development of the national monitoring and evaluation policies of Lesotho, Namibia and Malawi, and the development of national and sector evaluation plans in Botswana and Uganda.

He provides political analysis on various radio platforms and writes media opinion articles on South Africa’s political economy. Ayabulela has written and coordinated international research publications and policy briefs with the German Institute for Development Evaluation and CLEAR.

  • Doctor of Philosophy in Political Science
  • Master of Arts in Political Science
  • Bachelor of Arts Honours in International Relations (cum laude)
  • Bachelor of Arts in Political Science (cum laude), all obtained from the University of Johannesburg. 
  • Certificate in Chinese Politics and Diplomacy, BRICS cooperation, and Global Governance from Fudan University in Shanghai, China. 
  • Certificate in Leadership from the University of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Contributed to the September 2017 review of the South African government’s implementation of the African Union Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), a continental flagship programme of the African Union. Co-authored the national monitoring and evaluation policies of the governments of the Kingdom of Lesotho and the Republic of Namibia (in 2021). Program Director of the model African Union Summit at the University of Johannesburg (April 2023). Authored and co-authored journal articles, book chapters, policy briefs, and learning notes on governance and public sector monitoring and evaluation systems. Presented at global, continental, regional, national, and provincial performance monitoring and evaluation conferences, webinars, and learning events. Won best Master’s essay awarded by the South African Association of Political Studies in October 2018 at the University of Pretoria.

My fondest childhood memory was my 10th birthday which we celebrated at home in Nqiningana village, Lady Frere in the Eastern Cape Province. On that occasion, my mother picked me up and prayed for a prosperous future for me and to never shy away from pursuing my dreams. Since then I always seek to show up in anything I do.

Be patient and persistent in the pursuit of your goals. Preparation is the blueprint to success. When an opportunity locates you, it must reach you fully prepared and without a shadow of a doubt regarding your abilities and aptitude.

In five years South Africa will be two years away from 2030, which is when our current National Development Plan Vision 2030 lapses. My wish is for South Africa to have strengthened its State institutions by then because no society has developed economically and socially anywhere and throughout history without a strong and efficient State.

I wish that all the state rejuvenation programs will start bearing fruit and we can have a turnaround in terms of seeing more effective state institutions staffed by motivated civil servants and technocrats who work side by side with a political leadership that is alive to the harsh socio-economic conditions experienced by most people living in South Africa. With a renewed State, I also wish for private sector institutions (businesses) and civil society organisations that can partner with the state and implement a common vision and common strategic plans with joint resourcing of such a vision and plans so that all of society (State, businesses, civil society, and citizens) are pulling in one direction and channeling our efforts into common goals.

Lastly, I wish for political stability that will create an enabling environment for the above-mentioned goals I have for the Republic of South Africa.

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