An experienced academic and astute diplomat, Makalima holds a Bachelor of Social Science Degree from the University of South Africa; a BA Honours in Sociology from the University of Fort Hare; a Masters Degree in Sociology from the State University of New York at Binghamton (SUNNY-B) and a second Masters in Southern African Studies from the University of York in England. Professor Makalima was born in Ntabankulu in the Eastern Cape and spent most of his student, professional and political life in the province. He taught Sociology at the University of Fort Hare as a lecturer, a senior lecturer and Acting Head of Department and member of the University Senate, from 1982 – 1989. He was later appointed Associate Professor and substantive Head of the Department of Sociology at the same university in 1990.
In addition to teaching and supervising academic research, and introducing radical perspectives in the Department’s sociological discourse, Makalima participated in several processes towards the democratisation of the governance of the University, including serving on the executive committee of the then Black Staff Association. In the context of transformation efforts of the sociological profession in South Africa, he was one of the founder members and vice-president of the Association for Sociology in Southern Africa (ASSA); an organisational initiative conceived as a counterweight to the hegemony of the then dominant but backward-looking South African Sociological Association.
In response to the South African government’s declaration, in 1987, to clamp down on political activism and dissent on university campuses, Makalima participated in a nation-wide organisational process that culminated in the formation of the progressive Union of Democratic Universities Staff Association (UDUSA).
Makalima also played a prominent role in the post-1990 academic and related transformative initiatives undertaken by the University; including leading negotiations, on behalf of the University of Fort Hare, with the Swiss Ministry of Education that culminated in the establishment of an academic exchange program between Fort Hare and the Graduate Institute of Development Studies in Geneva, and served as one of the visiting professors under that program. He participated in the establishment and also the board of the Govan Mbeki Social Science Research Fellowship and co-ordinated Fort Hare’s engagements with the ANC’s Macro-Economic Research Group (MERG), as chair of Fort Hare’s MERG Steering Committee. The MERG program culminated in the publication of Making Democracy Work, with a stress on the implementation of the concept and practice of Reconstruction and Development, for a post-Apartheid South Africa.
Prof Makalima has served as a member of the executive committee of the International South Group Network; a network of African, Asian and Latin American non-state development organisations, conceived and established within the framework of promoting South-South cooperation.
Makalima has also held various leadership positions in the Eastern Cape Provincial Government. In 1997 he was appointed as a Director responsible for policy and planning at the Eastern Cape Department of Transport, during which time the Green Paper on the Eastern Cape Provincial Transport Policy was published. He later went on to become the Head of the Department of Social Development in the province, and contributed to the provincial Top Management’s efforts to deepen the integration of the previously disparate governance structures of the erstwhile Apartheid state.
Makalima has 14 years of experience in the practice of international diplomacy, having been appointed, in 2001, as the South African Ambassador to the Republic of Argentina; with concurrent accreditation to the Republic of Paraguay and the Oriental Republic of Uruguay.
Among other assignments, in this position, Makalima supported negotiations towards the conclusion of a Preferential Trade Agreement between South Africa/SACU and MERCORSUR (the Common Market of the Southern Cone); resulting in the enhancement of trade, commercial and socio-cultural relations between MERCOSUR and South Africa, including the rest of SACU.
Between 2005 and 2011,Makalima served as the South African High Commissioner to the Republic of Zimbabwe; a major assignment, in the context of South Africa’s strategic diplomatic objectives and interests in the SADC region, on the continent and internationally. It was during this time (September 2008) that South Africa successfully brokered the Global Political Agreement, which paved the way for the formation of a Unity Government in Zimbabwe.
This was a culmination of the implementation of the SADC mandate that South Africa facilitate a political dialogue process between the then warring Zimbabwean factions, thus validating the political value of dialogue, rather than confrontation, as a conflict resolution mechanism.
From 2011 until 2015, Makalima served as Ambassador to the State of Palestine. This was an important assignment, in the context of reproducing and sustaining Nelson Mandela’s human rights legacy in Palestine, promoting dialogue and pursuing South Africa’s broader diplomatic objectives in the Middle East region.
Makalima joins the ELIDZ at a crucial time of extensive changes, in the wake of the imperative to transition from the Industrial Development Zones programming, following the codification of the Special Economic Zones dispensation; setting up new operational and institutional arrangements; increased competition for in-bound Foreign Direct Investment, in a climate of inelastic and even shrinking national funding resources. His experience as an academic as well as his exposure in both government administration and international relations will add value to the ELIDZ.