Heather Thuynsma holds a BA and a BA Honours from the University of the Witwatersrand, received her MA in political science from the University of Akron (USA), and attended the Women’s Campaign School at the Yale Law School to complete her specialisation in fundraising and political campaign strategy.
She has spent 28 years working in the South African and US non-profit sectors advising on strategic planning, fundraising operations and media relations. She has coordinated media and fundraising operations for political campaigns at various levels of government in the US State of Ohio, and has taught these skills and civic and human rights education in South Africa, the US, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Cote D’Ivoire, Ghana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Since 2008, Heather has presented a campaign communication training course through UP’s Continuing Education unit and worked as a part-time lecturer in the Department of Political Sciences. In this capacity, she helped pioneer the context and content for the Global Classroom which linked Political Science students via video conferencing at universities in Brazil, France, the USA and SA for weekly presentations and discussions. She jointly received the Faculty’s 2018 Lecturer of the Year Award for this initiative.
Beyond her communication and media skills, Heather is an accomplished teacher and researcher and is currently also registered for her doctorate. She has published articles on human rights education for the United Nations and on South Africa’s political parties, politicalbehaviour and electoral strategy, political analysis. She has been a contributing editor of the following book-length publications:
- Public Opinion and Interest Group Politics: South Africa’s Missing Links? (2012, Africa Institute of South Africa (AISA) Press)
- Political Parties in South Africa: Do they Underpin or Undermine Democracy? (2017, AISA and Human Sciences Research Council of SA Press)
- Comparing Democracies Across Post-Colonial Anglophone Africa: Trepidations or Trends to Celebrate? (forthcoming in 2019/2020)