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She holds a DST/NRF SARChI Research Chair, Geopolitics and the Arts of Africa. She received her PhD from Harvard University in 2008, and was an American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) postdoctoral fellow as part of the Humanities in Africa programme in 2010.

Simbao has published in a number of national and international journals and exhibition catalogues, and was the recipient of the Vice-Chancellor’s Distinguished Research Award at Rhodes University in 2009. She is the founder of the Visual and Performing Arts of Africa (ViPAA) research initiative (2011), Residencies for Artists and Writers (RAW) (2014), and Art & Culture: Writers in Africa (ACWA) (2015).

Recent curatorial projects include SLIP: Mbali Khoza and Igshaan Adams (2014), the performance art programme BLIND SPOT at the National Arts Festival, and MAKING WAY: Contemporary Art from South Africa and China at the Standard Bank Gallery in Johannesburg (2013) and the National Arts Festival (2012).,

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