Ms Azra Rajah 



Ms Azra Rajah is an administrator and research assistant in the Engagement & Transformation Portfolio at Nelson Mandela University. She holds a Bachelor of Arts majoring in English Literature Studies and Applied Language Studies (2020) and an Honours degree in Applied Language Studies (Cum Laude) (2021). Her research interests include: Critical Discourse Analysis; Applied Linguistics; Sociolinguistics, Semantics; Semiotics; and Women and Gender Studies.


Azra began her career at Nelson Mandela University as a student assistant for the South Campus Library (2017 to 2020). During her second year, she was appointed as a ‘How2Buddy’ for the International Student Orientation Programme (2018 to 2019) and as a tutor for the Department of Applied Language Studies and the Department of English Literature Studies respectively (2018 to 2020). While pursuing her postgraduate degree, Azra was appointed as a marking assistant for the Department of English Literature Studies (2020-2021). Subsequently, she was appointed as research assistant and administrator for the DVC’s Office, Engagement and Transformation Portfolio.


Believing in leading a balanced academic, professional and student life, Azra served as the Vice-President (2019) and President (2020) of the Golden Key International Honour Society Nelson Mandela University Chapter. Proud and deeply rooted in her Indian heritage, Azra is also an Indian classical dance graduate (in Bharathanatyam and Kathak) who has performed for numerous events across the Nelson Mandela University space and society at large.


Azra aspires to become an academic scholar who contributes meaningful, research that explores various ideologies and discourses to problematize gender binaries, hegemonies, and stereotyped notions of language, culture, and identity.




Getting to know me

1. How would you define your role within the Engagement and Transformation team?

I am the jack of all trades. Kidding! I work as both an administrator and research assistant. From an administration perspective, my role is to provide writing support, assist with logistics and develop a documentary archive. From a research perspective, my role is to assist and provide support to the various research projects.


2. What does Engagement and Transformation in Higher Education look like to you?

It looks like an ecosystem where higher education institutions, students and society engage with each other to bring about positive, meaningful transformation. It is a space promotes the infinite pursuit of knowledge, problematizes and disrupts racism, promotes fluid identities, interrogates how the need of students and society can be met, and assists in meeting these needs.


3. Describe your job in 3 words.

Heterogenous, Intellectually Stimulating, and Collaborative.


4. What is your favourite activity when you are not in the office?

Cooking / baking and dancing.


5. What is your favourite place on Earth?

It is mood dependent. Generally, it’s home sweet home or somewhere relaxing with good food and views. This can even be my car parked near the beach.


6. What is your favourite quote?

"I stand on the sacrifices of a million women before me thinking what can I do to make this mountain taller so the women after me can see farther." - Rupi Kaur


7. If you could change something in the world, what would it be?

Stop gender-based violence and violence against children.


8. What would you be able to give a 30-minute presentation about without any advanced preparation?

How do women in hip hop culture use the politics of pleasure to subvert the androcentric discourses and sexually exploitative narratives of women in hip hop culture.


9. What is the best piece of professional advice you have ever received?

My lecturer told me that "Dreaming is for the lazy who romanticize life. Set goals, continue to work diligently, and achieve these goals. That is what [I] can control."


10. What motivates you?

My life experiences.


Ms Azra Rajah CV