Dr Matumo Ramafikeng

School of Health and Social Care
Dr Matumo Ramafikeng



I am an Occupational Therapist with experience in mental health practice, research, and teaching in the Global South. My areas of expertise include teaching for diversity, design and delivery of occupational therapy curriculum that is contextually relevant and providing academic support to minority students in higher education. I draw on various strategies, such as academic literacies, translanguaging as a pedagogic strategy; drawing on students’ linguistic resources to support learning and attainment of educational outcomes. My research interests include decolonisation of curriculum, transformative pedagogy, practice education in health sciences, language in teaching and learning, as well as health and well-being of health professionals and community mental health. In research, I have used qualitative case study design, descriptive qualitative design, linguistic ethnography and analysis methods include discourse analysis, genre analysis and thematic analysis. I am the current President of the Occupational Therapy in Africa Regional Group (OTARG), an official branch of the World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT) for the Africa region. In this role I have a mandate to lead the organisation in developing and growing occupational therapy practice on the continent.


  • PhD Education University of Cape Town, (2018)

  • BSc Occupational Therapy University of Cape Town, (2003)

  • MSc, Occupational Therapy University of Cape Town, (2010)


University of Essex

  • Lecturer, Occupational Therapy, University of Essex (10/11/2021 - present)

Other academic

  • Senior Lecturer, Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Cape Town (1/1/2020 - 31/10/2021)

  • Lecturer, Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Cape Town (17/2/2016 - 31/12/2019)

Research and professional activities

Current research

Intercultural interactions as experienced by international students in placement settings

Language and culture are intertwined (Jiang, 2000), and language is the medium through which culture is expressed. Newsome and Cooper (2016) add that international students are required to learn through a foreign language, navigate the deeply ingrained cultural and religious aspects of the social environment, including rules and behaviours and this is often challenging for them. It was therefore, important to explore culture and its impact on interactions in Placement settings. The project aims were: 1. to explore experiences of intercultural interactions within Placement settings and 2. to facilitate co-production of recommendations on strategies to support intercultural development among students and educators.

Conferences and presentations

Feature of research proposal genre made easy

Invited presentation, Occupational Therapy Africa Region (OTARG) Congress 2023, Namibia, 24/8/2023

Languaging as an act of resistance

Keynote presentation, Bringing the Outside In Conference 2023, Colchester, United Kingdom, 21/7/2023

Teaching and supervision

Current teaching responsibilities

  • Concepts of Therapy (HS176)

  • Autonomous Practitioner (Occupational Therapy) (HS809)

  • Foundations for Occupational Therapy (HS892)

  • Mastering Occupation (HS895)

  • Occupational performance and process (HS893)

  • Professional Reasoning (HS272)

  • Collaboration and Leadership in Service Enhancement (HS276)


Journal articles (6)

Ramafikeng, MC., (2024). Pedagogical Translanguaging as a Socially Just Strategy for Multilingual Students in Occupational Therapy. Education Sciences. 14 (5), 462-462

Ramafikeng, MC. and Marshall, E., (2023). Navigating language discordance in public health care in rural South Africa: a qualitative descriptive study of occupational therapists’ perspectives. BMC Health Services Research. 23 (1), 867-

Ramafikeng, M. and Eboh, WO., (2022). Protocol for scoping review on well-being among theatre nurses in large public hospitals in low-income and middle-income countries.. BMJ Open. 12 (4), e057600-e057600

Ramafikeng, M., (2021). Features of the research proposal genre made easy for undergraduate occupational therapy students. African Journal of Health Professions Education. 13 (4), 214-214

Ramafikeng, M., Beukes, L., Hassan, A., Kohler, T., Mouton, TL. and Petersen, S., (2020). Experiences of adults with psychiatric disabilities participating in an activity programme at a psychosocial rehabilitation centre in the Western Cape. South African Journal of Occupational Therapy. 50 (2)

Ramafikeng, MC., Roshan, G. and Amesun, SL., (2019). Tobacco use and concurrent engagement in other risk behaviours: A public health challenge for occupational therapists. South African Journal of Occupational Therapy. 49 (1), 26-35

Book chapters (2)

Ramafikeng, M., (2023). Making Implicit Occupational Therapy Curriculum Expectations Explicit and Using Translanguaging to Navigate Literacy Practices. In: Transforming Teaching and Learning Experiences for Helping Professions in Higher Education: Global Perspectives. Editors: Pillay, R., Mkwananzi, S. and Moonsamy, S., . Brill. 194- 210. 9789004540811

Van Niekerk, L. and Ramafikeng, M., (2022). Ethics in practice and research. In: Creek's Occupational Therapy and Mental Health. Editors: Bryant, W., Fieldhouse, J. and Plastow, N., . Elsevier. 150- 158. 0702077453. 9780702077456

Thesis dissertation (1)

Ramafikeng, M., Students’ negotiation of practice education in occupational therapy: A case study



Colchester Campus