Ms Sonya Leurquain-Steyn



Sonya Leurquain-Steyn is a researcher, educator and musician whose research interests include gender, feminism and social justice education. Her work has focused on the post-schooling sector engaging with TVET colleges, Higher Education institutions as well as Community and Adult Education. She formed part of the Vocational Education Programme at the Centre for Integrated Post-School Education and Training (CIPSET) before teaching music at schools around the city, lecturing at NMU and joining the Engagement and Transformation Portfolio as a researcher. Sonya holds degrees in Linguistics (BA), Psychology (Honours), Music (BMus) and Education (MEd) from the University of the Witwatersrand, Nelson Mandela University and the University of Johannesburg, respectively. She is also a keen bass trombonist who has performed for various ensembles at NMU, within Gqeberha and abroad. 


Getting to know me


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

I lead a small research team looking into themes that are prevalent in writings about higher education in South Africa and across the continent.


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

A critical interrogation of the factors that shape our understanding of the world and our place in it, as well as deep commitment to resisting and challenging oppressive structures and practices within higher education that serve to reinforce the status of marginalised groups of people.


3. Describe your job in 3 words.

Reading, reading, writing.


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

Spending time with my family (the furry, four-legged kind included) and making music.


5. What is your favourite place on Earth?

My bed on a rainy morning.


6. What is your favourite quote?

This one is difficult… it would have to be a tie between two:

i) There is no spoon – The Matrix

ii) Where words fail, music speaks – Hans Christian Andersen


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

The hearts and minds of powerful people.


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

Sigmund Freud’s theory of the mind.


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

De omnibus dubitandum – doubt everything.


10. Who motivates you?

My parents.