Lethabo Ntini worked as a research assistant to political science professor, Amitava Dutt. Ntini initially helped professor Dutt on his broader research topic about the intersectional factors that contribute to income inequality in various parts of the world. This exposure inspired Ntini to apply the theory to her own research where she sought to understand how intersectional factors can explain inequality trends in her home country, South Africa. Ntini’s research has since focused on explaining why, despite the decrease in inter-racial inequality in South Africa, intra-racial inequality within the black population has been increasing. Ntini’s senior thesis will focus primarily on the intersectionality between tribal identity and geographical location and how these factors contribute towards intra-racial inequality in South Africa.
Ntini received a Kellogg Summer Entrepreneurial Internship in 2017, where she spent her summer working as a public health intern for a human rights law firm, Section27, in Johannesburg South Africa. The experience exposed Ntini to how access to legal counsel for low-income populations in South Africa is determined by geographical location. This insight helped her identify geography as a key contributor to income inequality in South Africa. Ntini also considers the internship to have played a key role in helping her narrow her career prospects and solidify her passion for development through economic sustainability.
Thesis Title: Tribes, Geography, and Income Inequality in South Africa
I am interested in how economic sustainability affects the growth and development in African countries. More specifically, I am curious about how democratic governments approach poverty and inequality in light of failing economies and colonialism.
I am trying to understand the intersectional factors (geography, tribal identity, gender, race) that have contributed to the rise in inequality in South Africa.