New associate professor for distinguished Optentia Research Focus Area

Annette Willemse -- Mon, 12/01/2014 - 09:30

New associate professor for distinguished Optentia Research Focus Area

The distinguished Optentia Research Focus Area, situated on the Vaal Triangle Campus of North-West University, will be welcoming a new staff member to their growing research enterprise.

Optentia is focused on doing research into the optimal expression of individual, social and institutional potential, with specific interest in the African context.

Dr Jaco Hoffman has been appointed as full-time associate professor in Optentia from 1 January 2015. Jaco completed his D.Phil. in Sociology at Oxford University and has been a James Martin Senior Research Fellow at the Oxford Institute of Population Aging since 2006. 

Dr Jaco Hoffman    

All Dr Hoffman’s previous research is based within the South African context and together with a colleague, Isabella Aboderin, they have worked over the past decade to develop research and capacity in the field of ageing in sub-Saharan Africa.

To this end, the UN-endorsed African Research on Ageing Network (AFRAN) was established, which has the aim of forging collaborative research around issues of ageing and poverty, health, and HIV/AIDS with intergenerational relationships as a cross-cutting issue. He is currently also the coordinator of AFRAN.

This is further complemented by AFRAN’s involvement with the Global Social Initiative on Ageing (GSIA), which is an international network of social gerontologists committed to addressing challenges arising from the impact of global trends on the quality of life for older persons. The focus of GSIA coincides with the personal research agenda Dr Hoffman hopes to pursue, which revolves around three themes:

  • Families

Identifying realities and trends in discourses regarding family and intergenerational obligations and strengths; and to move closer to creating strategies to strengthen and support them.

  • Liveability

Identifying trends in inclusion and exclusion of older persons from material resources (income, adequate food and helter), and the impact of these trends on their survival and citizenship.

  • Care

Documenting divers challenges in managing care by and for older persons and to work towards an appropriate balance between formal and informal care systems.

*The Optentia Research Focus Area has five sub-programmes:

  • Flourishing in Institutions
  • Pathways to Resilience and Post-traumatic Growth
  • Psychosocial Well-being and Communal Thriving
  • Unlocking Potential in Educational Processes
  • Talent Management

For more information on Optentia visit their website: