Mr Kester Onor.

PhD student in the School of Social Sciences Pastor Kester Onor of Nigeria was overjoyed after being awarded the Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa: Doctoral Dissertation Completion Fellowship from the Social Science Research Council.

Onor applied for three years before finally receiving the Fellowship for his doctoral dissertation: “United States African Command and Human Security in Africa.”

‘I am very happy to receive this Fellowship – 200 applications from 60 universities and my paper was chosen! I thank God for this landmark achievement,’ he said.

The Fellowship provides a stipend of up to R144 000 to permit the completion of a dissertation that advances research on peace, security, and development topics.

The thrust of Onor’s work is to explore the promise, prospects and challenges of USAFRICOM for human security in Africa from a critical and empirical perspective. The study seeks to assess critically the military-driven and state-centric security approach of USAFRICOM in addressing the human insecurity challenges facing the African continent.

Onor’s research work is both feasible and timely, holding great promise for understanding the central issues that drive not only important aspects of the global security dynamics but also the peculiarities of its African subsets, especially with respect to regional (in)human security.

Onor decided to major in Peace, Security and Development on the basis of his experiences in Liberia and Sierra-Leone when he served with the ECOMOG Peacekeeping Force. He served in the Nigerian Army in various capacities for 17 years.

‘Being exposed to international conflict, I discovered that the crises of human security in Africa can be ameliorated by good governance and development and I resolved to go back to University to complete my studies to pioneer a revolution in human security and development scholarship in Africa.’

He chose UKZN to do his PhD after receiving a tuition-free scholarship and believes that a degree from the University would give his education an international perspective and a better academic standing.

He is grateful to his Supervisors Dr Alison Jones and Dr Sadiki Maeresera and his Mentor and father-figure, Professor Ufo Okeke Uzodike.

‘As a security Scholar, I plan on peace advocacy and creating awareness through scholarly writings.  I may gravitate away from the classroom and into politics in Nigeria and to one day open an NGO that advocates for peace and operates as a charitable organisation.’