Issued by the FW de Klerk Foundation on 01/03/2024

The FW de Klerk Foundation is pleased to have Siyakudumisa Zicina, a University of the Witwatersrand student, on board as an online intern. 
We recently sat down with him to learn more about his background and goals for the internship…

FWDKF: Why did you want to intern with the FW de Klerk Foundation? 

SZ: We are at a juncture where our democracy should be protected! With a sense of eagerness to step up, I joined the FW de Klerk Foundation so that I could be among those who play an active role in the promotion of democracy, the rule of law, the free market and the protection of basic human rights. 

Of these foundational principles, the process of informing the public about their constitutional rights and promoting unity in diversity stood out to me. 

I wanted to stand with those who strive to nurture democracy, as well as those who actively promote and protect the South African Constitution. 

Above all else, I wanted to join the FW de Klerk Foundation and be part of a team that strives towards the betterment of South Africa’s democracy, peace and stability. 

FWDKF: What do you hope to learn or achieve during your internship?

SZ: During this internship, I hope to gain a greater insight into the process of constitutional advocacy and learn what goes on behind the scenes in advocacy institutions, such as the FW de Klerk Foundation. 

I also hope to gain a new skill set from the internship that will broaden my understanding of South Africa’s constitutional landscape. 

In addition to this, I hope that my time at the FW de Klerk Foundation will prove to be an invaluable experience that will allow me to bridge the gap between issues of constitutionality, domestic politics and international affairs, so that I can have a meaningful influence over policies, through dialogues, and can enhance South Africa’s democratic process. 

More than anything else, I would like to highlight and advocate for the importance of a participatory democracy.

FWDKF: What is your background, country of origin and research focus?

SZ: I was born in a small town in the Eastern Cape, called Mthatha. Although, I spent my childhood and teenage years living in several South African provinces. It was during this period that a strong passion for governance, politics and transformity grew within me. 

Thus, I enrolled at the University of the Free State for a Bachelor of Arts in Governance and Political Transformation which I was awarded Summa Cum Laude in 2022. I also completed my Bachelor of Arts Honours in International Relations at the same institution and obtained a First Class pass in 2023. 

As an avid scholar, I then enrolled in a Master of Arts programme, specialising in International Relations, at the University of the Witwatersrand, which I am currently completing. 

My research focuses on issues of violent extremism, conflict studies, human (in)security, regionalism, foreign affairs and peacebuilding, along with human rights and constitutional advocacy which have become more of a focus for me recently.  

FWDKF: What are your career ambitions (i.e. next 5 years)?

SZ: Apart from acquiring my doctoral degree either in International Relations or Security Studies, I intend to expand my career as an emerging researcher.

In addition to this, I hope to progress up the career ladder to be able to make meaningful contributions to our society, either as a lecturer, policymaker or intelligence analyst, who is concerned with issues of violent extremism, conflict and peace studies, human rights and democratic processes. 

Overall, I believe that fighting for one’s dreams and ambitions is important, although, fighting for the dreams of the many is even more paramount! I intend on fighting for the latter, whilst advancing in the former.