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December Mpanza


December Mpanza



 +27 (0)31 260 8375




Research Interests

Qualitative and mixed methods research in public health and Occupational Therapy, with a particular focus in community rehabilitation and substance abuse services




History and Background: December Mpanza is an Occupational Therapist (OT). He worked at Bethesda Hospital, which is a rural district hospital of KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa from 2009 to 2012. During this period, he was also the chairperson of UMthombo Youth Development Bursary Scheme and Champion for Khanya Africa NGO within Bethesda Hospital and surrounding areas. In 2013, Mr Mpanza was appointed a Senior Tutor at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Occupational Therapy. In 2014, he completed his masters in Occupational Therapy, researching about substance abuse services in rural areas of KwaZulu-Natal.


Current: In 2016, he was appointed a lecturer (New Generation of Academics Programme– nGAP) in the University of KwaZulu-Natal, school of Health Science. He is currently a PhD Public Health Medicine student at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, his study is focusing on the service delivery for substance abuse in South Africa. His teaching duties include teaching at OT and Medical School and research supervision of undergrad and masters students.


Community engagement: Mr Mpanza co-founder of the JT Mpanza Foundation which runs youth upliftment programmes such as Siwela Cup held annually with an aim to unearth rural sport talents and divert the youth from social ills such drug abuse. He is an executive board member of South African National Council on Alcoholism Durban (SANCA) Branch and member of SACENDU. His passion for rural communities is not dampened by being in academia, as a result, he is an executive member of Rural Rehabilitation of South Africa (RuReSA), which advocates for rural health services in South Africa and convenes an academic conference annually focusing on rural health issues and improving quality of health care for all South Africans especial rural communities. 

Scholarships, Fellowships and Grants

1.    New Generation of Academics Programme-NGAP (2016-2021)

2.    DST-NRF Research Development Grants for nGAP Scholars (2016-2017)

List of publications


See ResearchGate Profile:

1.    DM Mpanza & P Govender (2017): Rural realities in service provision for substance abuse: a qualitative study in uMkhanyakude district, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, South African Family Practice. To link to this article:

2.    Pragashnie Govender, December M. Mpanza, Tarryn Carey, Kwenzile Jiyane, BicolĂ© Andrews, and Sam Mashele (2017): Exploring Cultural Competence amongst OT Students, Occupational Therapy International. To link to this article:

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