Professor and Research Chair for Historical Trauma and Transformation, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Stellenbosch University. Her research interests focus mainly on two strands. The first is exploring ways in which the impact of the dehumanising experiences of oppression and violent abuse continues to play out in the next generation in the aftermath of historical trauma.

The second is to expand on her earlier work on remorse and forgiveness and probe the role of empathy more deeply by engaging a perspective that makes transparent the interconnected relationship among empathy, Ubuntu and the embodied African phenomenon of inimba—a Xhosa word that loosely translated means ‘umbilical cord’.

The goal is to find a richer, deeper and more complex understanding of empathy that takes into account an African knowledge archive. Her books include: A Human Being Died that Night: A South African Story of Forgiveness, which won the Christopher Award in the United States in 2003 and the Alan Paton Award in South Africa in 2004.

The book, in its seventh reprint, has been translated into Dutch, German, Italian and Korean. Other books are Narrating our Healing: Perspectives on Healing Trauma (as co-author), Memory, Narrative and Forgiveness: Perspectives on the Unfinished Journeys of the Past (as co-editor), Breaking Intergenerational Cycles of Repetition: A Global Dialogue on Historical Trauma and Memory (as editor). In 2005, Prof Gobodo-Madikizela was honoured among ‘100 People who made a difference’, and her name appears on the Permanent Exhibition of Hall of Heroes in the National Underground Railroad Freedom Centre, Cincinnati. In 2010, she received the ‘Social Change Award’ from Rhodes University for ‘contribution made by leading psychologists to social change in South Africa.’ Since 2017 she has served as Research Advisor and Global Scholar at Queen’s University, Belfast, a position affiliated with the Senator George Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice.