Cee Swakamisa


I am a second-year doctoral researcher at the School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science.

My project aims to address the lack of academic or empirical study on Faith-based Social Entrepreneurship (FBSE) in the context of poverty alleviation in South Africa by researching the socially entrepreneurial initiatives of faith-based organisations and individuals in Johannesburg, Gauteng South Africa. FBSE is ‘an expression of social entrepreneurship enacted in a distinctive context of religious faith’ (Borquist: 2020:1). Despite the fact that FBSE can have a critical role in addressing the “institutional voids” or “gaps” caused by the inability of governments and business to meet the vast social needs of a population through the pursuit of a triple bottom line of social, spiritual and financial outcomes, it remains an underexplored area of practice and academia. This has limited knowledge production and theory development on the nature and effectiveness of FBSE, particularly from the global South context.

By analysing cases of FBSE in the South African context and delving into how it can contribute to the aims of Sustainable Goal 1: No Poverty, my thesis will extend scholarly research and theory building on FBSE in South Africa. I also aim to contribute to wider debates around the role of religion in international development policy and practice and explore alternative notions of development informed by contextual religious and cultural worldviews that challenge the dominant secualr notions of sustainable development. Beyond academia, my project will contribute to policy and practice around poverty alleviation through the exploration of alternative strategies for locally driven and scalable socio-economic development.

Prior to arriving in Leeds, I graduated from Northumbria University’s MLaw programme and gained professional experience in the legal, higher education and third sectors.

Research interests

  • African Diaspora
  • Decolonisation and Development
  • Faith-based Organisations (FBOs)
  • Faith-based Social Entrepreneurship (FBSE) and alternative forms of Entrepreneurship
  • International Development and alternative development approaches
  • Multi-stakeholder Partnerships (MSPs)
  • Multidimensional Poverty (MP)
  • Qualitative Research Methods; Ethnography and Grounded Theory
  • Religion(s) and Development
  • Sustainable Development Goal 1: No Poverty (SDG1)


  • MLaw

Research groups and institutes

  • Centre for Religion and Public Life