Matt Crowcombe

A Swansea University doctoral student has not only focused his studies on South Africa, but has established a successful charity which is helping to educate underprivileged township children in the country.

Twenty nine year old Matt Crowcombe from Shepton Mallet has been awarded his PhD at a Degree and Award Congregation from the University’s College of Arts and Humanities held at the City and County of Swansea’s Grand Theatre, proudly watched by parents Ann and David and his partner, Claudia.

Matt, who went to school at Kings School Bruton, took a gap year in South Africa and after seeing the poverty and poor standard of education in the townships was inspired to establish SOS Africa - a Somerset based charity which funds the education and care of underprivileged South African township children. Matt’s family got involved too and soon decided to support the education of Thabo Mokete a young township child Matt had met in the country.

When Matt returned to UK, he came to Swansea University, where he completed a BA degree History and Politics, before going on to do a MA in Politics and International Relations and then a PhD on the role of transitional justice in post-conflict societies. His work with the charity has inspired his doctorate study.

The main aim of his research was to develop a truth commission body for a post-conflict Zimbabwe; this took him on extensive fieldwork trips throughout Africa. Alongside his studies Matt has worked tirelessly for the charity and has inspired many of his fellow students to get involved with many fundraising events. Now Matt is looking forward to continuing with his research work at Swansea University and his charity.

He said: “I am so pleased to be able to continue with my research at Swansea while developing SOS Africa too. The charity is growing and now receives support from a network of volunteers, fundraisers and supporters from across the globe and I hope that it will be able to fund many more underprivileged African township children in the future and help reverse the cycle of poverty which continues to haunt African societies.”

Matt’s PhD Supervisor and Head of Political and Cultural Studies, Dr Mark Evans said: “For Matt to be able to undertake such an important, demanding and valuable responsibility through SOS Africa alongside the demands of a PhD is a truly remarkable achievement. The Department of Political and Cultural Studies is proud to have had him in our community and we wish him all the best.”

For more information on Swansea University’s College of Arts and Humanities visit swansea.ac.uk/artsandhumanities