Paula Ensor is the Director of the Tshisimani Centre for Activist Education. She entered politics as a student activist in the late 1960s, at a time that the Black Consciousness Movement was emerging under the leadership of Steve Biko, Barney Pityana and others, and that saw the re-emerging of the independent trade union movement. She held office in the Students Representative Council at the then University of Natal, as well as in the National Union of South African Students (NUSAS). She was banned under the Suppression of Communism Act in 1973 but continued to work in support of the Western Province Workers Advice Bureau which laid the foundations for the development later of the General Workers’ Union. In 1976 she went into exile and worked for a period in the South African Congress of Trade Union offices in London, where she was involved in the production of the SACTU newspaper, Workers’Unity and was a member of the ANC London section. She was involved in the formation of the Marxist Workers’ Tendency of the ANC.
Paula lived in exile in England and Botswana for 15 years, returning to South Africa in late 1991. She worked at the University of the Western Cape in the area of academic development before taking up a position in mathematics education at the University of Cape Town. She holds an MSc in education and a PhD in the field of mathematics teacher education from the UCL Institute of Education in London. She is a Professor of Education and was elected Dean of the Faculty of Humanities at UCT in 2004, a position she held for 10 years. Paula was a member of the National Council of Equal Education for many years and has supported the movement since its inception.