Matthew Wingfield

Postdoctoral Fellow

Matthew Wingfield is a Post-Doctoral Fellow at Stellenbosch University, South Africa, in the SARChI Chair of Land, Environment and Sustainable Development. Matthew has conducted ethnographic research under the broader theme of social and environmental justice, specifically focusing on social movements and civil society groups working in these spaces. From focusing on resistance to gentrification and the ‘spatial apartheid’ existing in Cape Town, his work has shifted to focus on environmental concerns. His PhD dissertation focused on a small group operating in the Philippi Horticultural Area (PHA), just outside of Cape Town, and its contestations around the political economy of natural resources (land, water, soil), in the context of the climate crisis. As a Post-Doctoral Fellow, he will conduct comparative research on water and the political economy of natural resources between urban and non-urban spaces. This will be located in Graaff-Reinet. He is also one of the founding partners of the Global Classroom Democracy Innovation, an international collaborative educational programme between SU and the University of Toronto. He is also a Co-director of the Cape Town Design Nerds, a newly formed non-profit affiliate of the Vancouver Design Nerds Society, working through the framework of critical pedagogy and ‘design justice’. Matthew has developed scholarship around a range of issues, from social and environmental justice to collaborative international pedagogy. Personally, he is a supporter of numerous climate justice and grassroots activist networks, such as the Climate Justice Charter Movement (CJCM).

Academic Publications

Wingfield, M. M. (Forthcoming, 2023). Protest and Legibility: A case study of Reclaim the City (RTC). Social Dynamics

Wingfield, M. M. 2022. “Working Time” in environmental activism: Engaging “Slow Violence” in the Philippi Horticultural Area (PHA). Anthropology Southern Africa, 45(4): 219-230.

Popular Media Publications

Wingfield, M. M. 2023. Cape Town’s ‘Day Zero’ threat concentrated minds: an activist group used the moment to secure environmental victories. The Conversation, 9th February. [Online].

Wingfield, M.M. 2022. To higher education institutions: your students are potential changemakers in climate crisis action. Daily Maverick, 24th [Online].

Wingfield, M.M. & David, T.H. 2021. The Challenges and Opportunities of developing student-led food gardens: A Case of the SU Food Garden. SAFSC periodical,

Sandan, A. & Wingfield, M.M. 2021. Learning lessons: UCT Online High School is something of a curate’s egg. Daily Maverick, 30th [Online]. Available:

Herold, B., Hansen, C.B.N., De Barros, M. & Wingfield, M.M. 2020. Reclaim the City’s Cape Town occupations are opportunities, not threats. Daily Maverick, 17th [Online.]. Available: