Sandra Rowoldt Shell was born in Zimbabwe and has worked as a professional academic research librarian in African studies for several decades. She has focused on the history of the Eastern Cape, South Africa, in her research. She received her doctoral degree in history from the University of Cape Town. She is presently Senior Research Associate (Cory Library), Rhodes University, South Africa.
In Children of Hope, Sandra Rowoldt Shell details the life histories of sixty-four Oromo children who were enslaved in Ethiopia in the late nineteenth century, liberated by the British navy, and ultimately sent to a Free Church of Scotland mission in South Africa, where their stories were recorded through a series of interviews.