Mbongiseni holds a PhD in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University, New York, where he also obtained a Master of Philosophy in English and Comparative Literature. A dedicated scholar, he graduated cum laude from both the University of KwaZulu-Natal and the University of Natal, earning a Master of Arts in English Studies and Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) in English and Drama, respectively. Working in various academic and activist capacities, Mbongiseni has been interested in how the state interfaces with citizens in areas that include land restitution, the role of traditional leaders in governance, heritage and public archives. With various collaborators he has researched and written on the state’s constructions of the identities of citizens in KwaZulu-Natal through heritage discourse and commemorative events. He has also written on land and citizenship rights in rural areas and the role of traditional leaders in the realisation of these rights, as well as the dire state of public archives and its implications for accountable government.