Ruth First Scholar (2019-20)
Debra Gugulethu Sithole is from Zimbabwe.
She graduated from Solusi University in Bulawayo in 2017 with a BA in Peace and Conflict Studies. During her studies, she was a researcher for the Solusi University Peace Association and established herself as a scholar-activist carrying out investigations and advocacy in relation to post-conflict rehabilitation and transitional justice in Zimbabwe. She has published three academic articles on these issues.
Debra has also done voluntary community work with the Youth for Innovation Trust and Young Women’s Alliance. In 2018-19, she worked for the Contemporary Affairs Foundation as an intern, then a programmes officer, responsible for youth development and conflict transformation in the community, focusing on the development of young people’s public speaking skills as a means of inculcating democratic values.
At Durham, Debra took an MSc in Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding. She was a member of St Chad’s College, which supports the Scholarship by providing subsidized accommodation for all Ruth First Scholars. She successfully completed her MSc in September 2020 and took up an internship with the St Giles Trust in Coventry (a charity providing support to young people). She is aiming to do further postgraduate study in the UK.
When she returns to Zimbabwe she hopes to expand her activities as a researcher in peace and conflict studies, and as an activist in conflict resolution and peacebuilding at community and national levels.