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25 Years

Partnership with University of the Western Cape

Signing an MOU with University of the Western CapeICGC houses the University of Minnesota's graduate education and faculty research collaboration with the University of the Western Cape in South Africa. The initiative involves graduate student and faculty exchanges, co-taught courses between the campuses using web and ITV technologies, and has the goal of further developing other networks among institutions in the global south. The partnership is supported in part by funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the partner universities.

ICGC and the Centre for Humanities Research at UWC formalized a partnership in graduate education and faculty research through an MOU put in place during a visit to UWC by former Senior Vice President Robert Jones and ICGC Director Karen Brown, pictured here with UWC colleagues Rector Brian O’Connell; Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic Ramesh Bharuthram; Dean, Faculty of Arts Duncan Brown; and Deputy Dean, Faculty of Arts, and Former Director (and ICGC alumnus), Centre for Humanities Research Premesh Lalu.

Through the partnership between ICGC and the Centre for Humanities Research at the University of the Western Cape, our collaborative graduate education and faculty research initiative offers faculty and student exchanges; graduate student fellowships; and joint research projects, workshops, conferences and courses. Current activities include an ongoing faculty and doctoral fellow exchange program with faculty and students from each institution spending time conducting research and engaging with students and faculty on the partner campus. 

Our work also focuses on teaching, the arts in an interdisciplinary context, and the support of exceptional and diverse graduate fellows and faculty. These activities support the objectives of both partner institutions to provide more pedagogical training and experience to graduate fellows and, at ICGC, to more fully integrate humanities and arts across its interdisciplinary curriculum.

Some examples of recent activities include: Art and Social Justice events, Global Apartheid doctoral seminars, and lectures in ICGC by Ciraj Rassool, Patricia Hayes, Ross Truscott,  Michelle Smith, and Ayanda Wiseman Nombila



Akoth, Steve


Dr. Steve Ouma Akoth is a Kenyan scholar, advisor and activist in the field of human rights and social anthropology with over 15 years’ experience working in diverse national, regional and international fora. He is a former ACLS scholar. He grew up in Korogocho slums of Eastern Nairobi and was educated at Moi University, Eldoret, Kenya and The University of the Western Cape South Africa where he obtained his Ph.D. He is currently the Executive Director of Pamoja Trust (www.pamojatrust.org) and faculty members at the Department of Applied economics at the Kenyatta University. His areas of ongoing research touch on culture and the constitution, Multiple Justice Systems, and minoritarian urban modernity.


His current research project is in collaboration with Thomas Asher, a Colombia University based Scholar. The project focuses on Mobility in Southern Urbanism. In this work they explore how our cities and neighborhoods are fashioned in ways that do not readily accommodate this constant movement, not least because we do not know adequately how to read this churn of people and goods. To understand this, they pose the following questions: Why is our sociological imagination so impoverished? What might we gain if we were to become fluent in reading mobility and how might this reshape both our understanding of urban life and how we design for those informal spaces that increasingly make up our cities?

August, Tyrone

Visiting Scholar 

Visiting Scholar from the University of the Western Cape

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Tyrone is a doctoral student at the University of the Western Cape's Department of English and a fellow at the university's Centre for Humanities Research. His previous degrees include: * a Bachelor of Social Science, majoring in sociology and psychology, from the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban; * an Honours degree in sociology from the University of South Africa; and * a Master of Arts degree in history, politics and literature from the Institute of Commonwealth Studies and the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London.

He previously worked as a journalist on several daily and weekly newspapers as well as various monthly magazines in Johannesburg and Cape Town. His most recent position was editor of the Cape Town daily newspaper, the "Cape Times". He still writes a weekly column for the newspaper and is also currently a judge for the annual Standard Bank Sikuvile Journalism Awards, which recognizes distinguished journalism in the print media.

Brown , Duncan


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Duncan Brown is the Dean of the Faculty of Arts at the University of the Western Cape. 

Campbell, Kurt

Visiting Scholar 

Visiting Scholar from the University of the Western Cape

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As a practicing artist and academic, Kurt is a multidisciplinarian. His artwork is represented in national and international collections. He has published on aspects of visual cultue, most recently in the European Journal of English Studies and Musiques et Cultures Digitales. His current research is based on the textual ideation of a blind Cape Town born boxing champion from the early 1900's. Kurt holds degrees from Stellenbosch University and the University of Cape Town. His PhD research is based at the Center for Humanities Research at the University of the Western Cape. www.kurt-campbell.com

Daki , Ncedile


Visiting Artist

Ncedile Daki (Ned), (d.2017)  was a vital part of the team that made the horses which starred in War Horse, one of the most extraordinary puppet shows ever produced. Daki was born at Cofimvaba in the Eastern Cape on September 1 1990 and attended Isilimela Comprehensive School in Langa, Cape Town. After he matriculated in 2009, he moved to Masiphumelele (meaning "we will succeed") township near Kommetjie. He began attending art classes at the local library, where his artistic imagination and talent for making things caught the eye of its founder, Sue Alexander. She introduced him to the founders of the Handspring Puppet Company, Adrian Kohler and Basil Jones. He joined their factory in Muizenberg in 2010 and began working on the horse puppets they were building for their sensational show. War Horse was a huge hit around the world and the horses he helped to build came alive on stages in London, New York, Toronto, Berlin, the Netherlands, Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo, Johannesburg and Cape Town. He and 21 other members of the Handspring team were invited by the National Theatre of Britain to see War Horse in London. When the National Theatre brought it to South Africa for a 10-week run in 2014, he was put in charge of the backstage technical team to ensure that the horses were in perfect working condition for every show. He attended the opening of a special exhibition in London on the making of War Horse and was given a standing ovation by the audience when introduced on stage along with the rest of the team. In 2013 Daki toured Europe and India with Janni Younge's production of Ouroboros, which used puppets as a medium of discourse about time and the cycles of life.  The work was seen in CNN's Inside Africa documentary, which was broadcast in 212 countries. In 2010 Daki helped start the Masiphumelele Youth Development Theatre Group, which gave birth to the Ukwanda Puppet and Design Company consisting of himself and three others. Their first production, Qhawe, a Xhosa fairytale, won a Standard Bank Encore Ovation Award at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown in 2015. In 2016 he was the designer of Ukwanda's giant Slyza Tsotsi pantsula dancing puppet that was a crowd favourite at the Cape Town Carnival and manipulated the elephant puppets at an annual Day of Reconciliation puppet show in Barrydale, South Africa. 

He and fellow puppeteer and artist Luya Ngodlwana were artists in residence at ICGC in May 2016, where they built a large heron puppet for the May Day Festival in Minneapolis with the In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre. 

Erasmus, Aidan

Visiting Scholar 

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Aidan Erasmus is currently pursuing a PhD in History and is based at the Department of History and the Centre for Humanities Research at the University of the Western Cape. His M.A. examined the permutations of race alongside the development of the local rock music scene in South Africa from the 1960s through to the present. Interested in questions of sound after apartheid, music and its repercussions, and postcolonial reverberations, his doctoral project seeks to think war through sound in an attempt to make war audible, and is concerned with the ways in which history might be thought of as resonant. He is also the host of a programme on South African music called ‘The Shortwave’ on the Wrong Rock Show on Bush Radio 89.5 FM, a local community radio station in Cape Town.

Frieslaar, Geraldine

Visiting Scholar 

Geraldine is a practicing archivist at the UWC Robben Island Mayibuye Archives and doctoral fellow at the Centre for Humanities Research based at the University of the Western Cape (UWC), South Africa. For her Ph.D research she is exploring the biography and the history of the archive by focusing on the making of the International Defense and Aid Fund (IDAF) as an archival collection. She holds a Masters degree from UWC and a BA Honours degree from the University of Stellenbosch.

Hayes, Patricia


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A scholar of African history, gender studies, and visuality, Patricia Hayes began research on photography and the question of history after completing her Ph.D. at Cambridge University. Supported by an innovative history department, research and teaching in visual history became established at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) from the late 1990s. Specific paradigms and postgraduate research associated with the Chair now include documentary photography; liberation struggles and the post-apartheid; digital photography in the postcolony; and photography and historical method.

Patricia Hayes has edited several journal special issues on visuality and gender including Gender & History (2006) and Kronos (2000). She co-authored Bush of Ghosts: Life & War in Namibia (Umuzi, 2010) with photographer John Liebenberg, and has published articles on several South African and Mozambican photographers. Her work appears in Okwui Enwezor’s The Rise and Fall of Apartheid (International Centre for Photography, 2012), Crais and McLendon’s The South African Reader (Duke, 2014), and Mofokeng’s Chasing Shadows (Prestel, 2011). Recent critical historical articles on photography and the making of publics have appeared in Cultural Critique (Issue 89, 2015), Sanil V & Divya Dwivedi’s The Public Sphere from Outside the West (Bloomsbury, 2015), and the 2017 special issue on the 1980s of the journal Photographies. Hayes is also series co-editor of the new Photography, History: History, Photography series at Bloomsbury Academic publishers.

Patricia Hayes was educated in Zimbabwe. She gained her BA (Hons) in Modern History & Modern Languages from Oxford University (UK), a Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE) from the University of Zimbabwe, and completed her PhD on the history of the colonization of northern Namibia at Cambridge University in 1992.

As a postdoctoral Junior Research Fellow at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge (1993–5), Hayes began work on two collaborative research projects on Namibia supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities (USA), resulting in Namibia Under South African Rule (James Currey, 1998) and The Colonising Camera (Ohio University Press, 1998). She joined the history department at UWC in 1995, teaching 20th century African history as well as postgraduate courses on gender and visual history. She co-edited Deep hiStories: Gender & Colonialism in Southern Africa (Rodopi, 2002) with UWC colleagues Gary Minkley and Wendy Woodward. She was chair of the history department in 2006–07, and national convenor of the NRF Rating Panel for History in 2011–12. She has held visiting fellowships at Columbia University (1993), Emory University (2001), University of Michigan (Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies 2005), Cambridge University (Smuts Fellowship 2006), Calcutta Centre for Social Science Research (2008), Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi (2009), and the Internationales Kolleg Morphomata at the University of Cologne (2011 and 2013). Hayes is one of the convenors of the Seminar in Contemporary History and Humanities, co-hosted by the history department and the Centre for Humanities Research. She was seconded to the CHR in 2016 when appointed to the SARChI Chair in Visual History & Theory.

Dr. Hayes is in residence with ICGC October through December 2018.

Highman , Kate


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Kate Highman recently completed an Andrew W. Mellon postdoctoral fellowship at the Centre for Humanities Research (CHR), University of the Western Cape (UWC), on 'The Disciplinary Forces of English Literature: Aesthetic Education at Historically Black Universities'.  This formed part of a larger research project on the history and politics of English literature as a university discipline in South Africa that she is continuing to work on while a visiting scholar at the Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change. Prior to joining the CHR she was a postdoctoral research fellow in the UWC English Department, working on debates about plagiarism, copyright and cultural ownership in South African letters. This research built on her doctoral thesis, 'Forging a New South Africa: Plagiarism and the National Imaginary', completed at the University of York (UK).  In 2018 she will begin work on a collaborative project on ‘Writers’ Organisations and Free Expression’, as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Oxford. 

Visiting Term: Fall 2017

Kabwete, Charles


Dr. Charles Kabwete Mulinda is Associate Professor at the University of Rwanda and Acting Head of the Department of History and Heritage Studies. He is also Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Institute of National Museums of Rwanda.

Charles completed his PhD in History in 2010 at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa. He has also studied courses and done internship programmes in Belgium, USA and France.

Dr. Charles Kabwete Mulinda has published extensively on Rwandan history, democracy in Africa, China – Africa relations and genocide studies. His area of expertise includes history, African studies, genocide studies, reconciliation, history of cooperatives and education of women. He is currently pursuing a postdoctoral research programme at the School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg.

Layne, Valmont


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I was born in District Six, Cape Town and grew up on the Cape Flats in the 1970s. My formative journey to adulthood is contained in this historical frame – the triumphant years of Grand Apartheid, the destruction of black urban neighbourhoods, the bannings and repression and the rise of a radical new generation in 1976.


For me, the critique of inequality under Apartheid took a decidedly cultural one – being frogmarched to the segregated Nico Malan Theatre Centre (now Artscape) as a primary school child brought home to me the possibility of acting against cultural apartheid.  In my extended family constellation one finds a cast of farmworkers, factory workers, and teachers. As a young boy, I realised I had a singular talent for reading, writing, and music – and kept vivid memories of the sights, sounds and characters as the cosmopolitan life in District gave way to monoculture dormitory townships in Bontheheuwel, Parkwood, and Hanover Park. 


I became part of the radicalised youth of the Cape Flats, quickly finding a political angle to my musical longings, and discovering black South African urban music – jazz, soul, mbaqanga, carnival - and its insistence on securing a place for all South Africans in its cities – something Apartheid would deny. 


I became a young university student, musician and member of cultural movements during the 1970s and 1980s. I encountered absences and continuities and a world of creative possibilities through reading and through listening to music and through gradually rejecting the SABC’s attempts to mould my auditory landscape – sometimes against the grain of my own poorly formed aesthetic and audible sensibility. Other absences were triggered –notably that of jazz in the vernacular idiom as my young ears attuned to an aesthetic sensibility that lay beyond the black American music to which I aspired as a teenager. I started to realise this in an aesthetically loaded gesture even at the tender age.


I started a lifelong lesson in the enabling possibilities that came into play when vernacular sensibility was given expression in a creative encounter with new global cultural expression. Crucially, the question would grow into a concern with the vernacular as a category of agency from which people could assert by vocalising and visualising – seeking an integration of the everyday and the extraordinary, the vernacular and the festive/ carnivalesque.


I completed an MA Thesis on the history of jazz and dance band music in postwar South Africa – in the process combining political economy and cultural critique.


It should come as no surprise, then, that I ended up working as a Sound Archivist at the District Six Museum, a harbinger of a new museum practice, pro poor in its orientation, throwing away the museum ‘textbook’ and conceiving of the museum as a place of community development, advocating for land restitution and social justice in Cape Town. I spent a decade developing a dialogue with colleagues and scholars in a new Museum practice that would revitalise the notion of the museum – at a time when the turn towards the ‘living museum’, it turned out, was a global one and not confined to the new South Africa.


In fact, this search for a new relevance affects every cultural institution. In the late 2000s, I worked for a major national arts festival where an analogous set of challenges came to the fore – this time about a relevant festival practice that could transcend the limitations of race that all institutions inherit from the recent past. It is a question which bedevils debates about institutional transformation, but it is at the heart of the question of the post apartheid – how to transcend apartheid at a fine grain, working not with grand narratives, but with everyday practice building institutions of public culture? 


Visiting Term: Fall 2017

Longford, Sam


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Sam Longford is a final year PhD candidate and coordinator of the Remaking Societies, Remaking Persons (RSRP) Forum at the Department of History, UWC, and a Centre for Humanities Research Fellow. His PhD thesis is titled, ‘The Untimely Deaths of Chris Hani: Discipline, Spectrality, and the haunting possibility of return’, and is grounded by a sustained engagement with public history and different philosophies of history and of social change. This thesis focuses on the contested ways in which former General Secretary of the South African Communist Party (SACP), Chris Hani, who was assassinated in 1993 just before South Africa’s first general election, is remembered and memorialised today, and what these invocations mean for both thinking through the transitional period from apartheid to democracy, and the ANC’s postapartheid project. As well as his work at UWC, Sam is a co-founder of The Commons, a collaborative and experimental space which seeks to build an inclusive platform for the arts in and around Muizenberg, Cape Town.

Sam is in virtual residency with ICGC during the Spring 2021 semester. 

Maduma , Thozama


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Thozama Maduma is a Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Humanities Research (CHR) at the University of the Western Cape. She holds a PhD, MA, and B.A. Honors - all in History from the UWC. She writes on Women and Feminist Historiography with a dissertation titled ‘Theorising Women: The life of Charlotte Maxeke’. She is currently working on the broad historiography of colonialism in the Eastern Cape and on de-colonial and nationalist thought.She has worked and taught in various educational institutes in South Africa.  She has published two books and presented at many conferences and seminars around her work. Most recently she was moderator of a conference at the annual ICGC/CHR/Fort Hare Winter School in South Africa.


Visiting Term: Fall 2017

Minkley, Emma


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Emma Smith Minkley is a South African artist and scholar, and currently holds an Early Career Doctoral Fellowship at the Centre for Humanities Research (CHR) at the University of the Western Cape, Cape Town. Minkley has a background in visual art, and completed her M.Tech Degree in Fine Arts at Nelson Mandela University, Port Elizabeth in 2015. She is interested in the connections that can be made when history relocates itself within the realm of art, and conversely, when art takes on history as its medium. Her current project is focussed on the hand as it appears variously in the production, performance and reception of puppetry; taking the archive of the Handspring Puppet Company as the crux or medium of study. The project is both a theoretical and practical inquiry encompassing archive, art and text. Minkley’s broader research interests include art (particularly drawing), play, gesture and subject/object relations.

Emma is in residence at ICGC from February through May 2019.


Moodley, Therona

Visiting Scholar 

Visiting Scholar from the University of the Western Cape

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Therona is a Ph.D. Fellow at the University of Fort Hare (South Africa). She is exploring the concept of the disorderly woman in Indian cinema. She holds a Masters from the University of Minnesota. Her undergraduate degree was completed at the University of Natal (South Africa) with majors in English and Drama. She was also a lecturer in the Department of English at the University of South Africa where she developed courses on visual culture and film.

Mpofu , Siphokazi


Visiting Artist

Siphokazi Mpofu is a puppet artist with Ukwanda Puppets and Arts Design Collective, who was in residence with ICGC in April and May 2018. She came to us through our collaboration with the Centre for Humanities Research at the University of the Western Cape in South Africa, supported by the arts and humanities initiative through a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.  She and her colleague Sipho Ngolxa visited Minnesota to work with the In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theater in Minneapolis to build a puppet and work with the community for the annual MayDay Festival and Parade.  They also presented on their work as a part of the ICGC Brown Bag talk series. 

Nefdt, Ryan


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Ryan Nefdt completed his Ph.D. at the joint program in philosophy at the Universities of St. Andrews and Stirling in the UK. There, he was a member of the Arché Research Centre for the study of Logic, Language and Epistemology.

His research interests lie at the intersection of the philosophy of language, science, and theoretical linguistics. He is also interested in issues of linguistic injustice, as well as the philosophy of race and African philosophy more generally.

He has previously studied at the Institute for Logic, Language and Computation at the University of Amsterdam, the department of philosophy at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and the department of philosophy at the University of Cape Town. He has also conducted research at Yale University, the University of Texas at Austin, and the University of Leeds.

Ryan is in residence with ICGC November 2018–January 2019.

Ngodlwana, Luyanda


Visiting Artist

Luyanda Ngodlwana is a puppet artist with Ukwanda Puppets and Arts Design Collective. He came to us through our collaboration with the Centre for Humanities Research at the University of the Western Cape in South Africa, supported by the arts and humanities initiative through a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.  


He and fellow puppeteer and artist Ncedile Daki were artists in residence at ICGC in May 2016, where they built a large heron puppet for the May Day Festival in Minneapolis with the In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre. 

Ngxola, Sipho


Visiting Artist

Sipho Ngoxla is a puppet artist with Ukwanda Puppets and Arts Design Collective, who was in residence with ICGC in April and May 2018. He came to us through our collaboration with the Centre for Humanities Research at the University of the Western Cape in South Africa, supported by the arts and humanities initiative through a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.  He and his colleague Siphokazi Mpofu visited Minnesota to work with the In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theater in Minneapolis to build a puppet and work with the community for the annual MayDay Festival and Parade.  They also presented on their work as a part of the ICGC Brown Bag talk series. 

Nwafor , Okechukwu


Okechukwu Charles Nwafor is currently a Research Fellow at the LSA, History of Art at the University of Michigan and teaching courses on African Art History.  Nwafor holds a Ph.D. in Visual History from the Department of History, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa. He was formerly a Research Associate at the Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change (ICGC), University of Minnesota and a former fellow at the Center for Humanities Research of the University of the Western Cape, South Africa. He was a recipient of the African Humanities Postdoctoral Fellowship in 2013 and a member of the American Council for Learned Societies. He is currently the Head of Department of Fine and Applied Arts at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Nigeria. His articles have appeared in many journals including, Postcolonial Studies, Fashion Theory, Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Arts, Critical Intervention, and African Arts, among others. He presented the paper, “The Fabric of Friendship: Asọ Ebì and the Moral Economy of Amity in Nigeria” in panel V-Q-3.

Pillay , Suren


Suren Pillay is currently Senior Researcher and Associate Professor in the Centre for Humanities Research. He has held this position since 2010. From 2007-2010 he was seconded to the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) of South Africa as a Senior Research Specialist in the Democracy and Governance Programme. From 2003-2004 he served as a Programme Officer at the Centre for African Studies at Columbia University. He held a position of senior lecturer in the Dept. of Political Studies, UWC, from 1995-2010. Prof. Pillay holds an Mphil, and a Phd in Anthropology with distinction, from Columbia University in New York (2011). He also has a Masters (cum laude) in Development Studies from the University of the Western Cape (UWC).


While at the HSRC, Pillay led a research team on violence. The team initiated projects, developed funding proposals, and established international research networks, with an emphasis on the global South. In 2008 he helped co-ordinate a team of researchers from the HSRC in response to the xenophobic violence which broke out in South Africa. He currently plays an active role in the Centre for Humanities Research: in 2011 he served as Acting Director of the CHR during the sabbatical year of its director. Pillay also served as Editor of the journal Social Dynamics, published by Centre for African Studies, University of Cape Town (UCT) between 2009 and 2012. He has published extensively in the press, including the Mail and Guardian, Cape Times, Ugandan Monitor, Jerusalem Post, and Al Jazeera international online. His awards include a prestigious Wenner-Gren Foundation Dissertation Award for Anthropological Research, a CHOICE Award from the American Publishers Association for Outstanding Book title (2011), and a Special Mention for authoring one of the ten most downloaded articles in African Studies by the African Studies Association (USA) in 2010.

Pillay, Miranda


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Miranda Pillay is senior lecturer in New Testament Studies and Ethics at the University of the Western Cape.

She is also the coordinator of the UWC Chapter of Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians.The Circle (as it is known) encourages women of faith to write about their lived-experiences and to seek alternative ways of interpreting their faiths, Scriptures and cultures – that are liberative to women and men.

Pinto de Almeida, Fernanda


Fernanda Pinto de Almeida is an Early Career Researcher at the Centre for Humanities Research and a PhD candidate at the Department of History at the University of the Western Cape. Her research maps Cape Town's landscape of cinemas in the twentieth century, exploring the relations between cinema-going, aesthetics and inhabiting urban space. Approaching the neighbourhood bioscope as medium of particular kinds of politics, public imagination and racial subjectivities, this project aims to understand how the spatialisation of aesthetics was central to the project of the modernising city before and during Apartheid. 

Rassool , Ciraj


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Ciraj Rassool directs UWC’s African Programme in Museum and Heritage Studies, managed in partnership with Robben Island Museum. He is a trustee and of the District Six Museum and the South African History Archive. He is also a councillor of Iziko Museums of Cape Town and previously served on the councils of the South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA) and the National Heritage Council. He has been a member of the Archaeology, Palaeontology, Meteorites, Heritage Objects and Burial Sites Permit Committee of SAHRA, and also serves on its Artworks Advisory Panel. Most recently he was appointed to the Human Remains Repatriation Advisory Committee of the Department of Arts and Culture. 

He has written widely on public history, visual history and resistance historiography and has published in the Journal of African History, the Journal of Southern African Studies, Cahiers d’etudes Africaines, African Studies, South African Review of Sociology and Kronos: Southern African Histories. 

Setai, Phokeng


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Phokeng Setai is a research fellow in the Centre for Humanities Research and a doctoral candidate in the department of Anthropology at the University of the Western Cape. In his doctoral research, Setai explores the evolution of curatorial practice as an independent field of cultural production on the African continent. His study is conducted by means of investigating the strategies that Black-African curatorial practitioners incorporate in the discursive and applied articulation of their practices in the form of exhibition-making, publication or institution-building. He draws from his ethnographic research on the lives and practices of three prominent Black-African curatorial producers to understand how their praxes have influenced modes of cultural production emerging out of the African art world in the present day. Setai holds a Master’s degree in Sociology from the University of the Free State, under a program called The Narrative Study of Lives​ . He is co-founder of ​About00Time​ , a digital cultural work initiative founded while doing archival research in the Mayibuye Archives at the University of the Western Cape. ​About00Time, ​ which makes use of artifactual and cultural archives to speculate and probe the possibilities of new cultural imaginaries into the contemporary, will be releasing its first book publication - ​Creativity Under Confinement - ​ in the second quarter of 2021. This collaborative book project, of which Setai is co-editor, was conceptualised during the early stages of the global lockdown in 2020. Phokeng is also co-founder of the ​Mutha_Ship Landing​ , an artistic project space located in Salt River, Cape Town, whose aim is to offer Black-African artistic and cultural producers a space for dialogue, experimentation, collaboration and knowledge production. Lastly, Setai works part-time as a research assistant at Zeitz MoCAA, Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, located in Cape Town, South Africa,  where he currently lives and works.  

Phokeng is in virtual residency with ICGC during Spring semester 2021. 

Shingwedha, Vilho


Dr. Vilho Amukwaya Shigwedha is a lecturer at the University of Namibia and an author. He received his PhD from the University of the Western Cape in Cape Town and is a lecturer in the Department of Geography, History and Environmental Studies at the University of Namibia. He is the author or co-author of two works on individual topics in Namibia's national history.

Smith, Michelle


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Michelle Smith is currently Convener of International Partnerships at the Centre for Humanities Research at the University of the Western Cape. She is concurrently a doctoral candidate in History at the University of Fort Hare. Her work is located in museum studies and public history, with a focus on visuality and race. Reflecting on the processes of transformation prescribed for museums and the intersection of these with the field of the visual within the South African public, her dissertation examines, with the museum as an interface, the relationship between the visual and history. In this regard, a particular focus area has been how the apartheid past becomes history within the Red Location Museum, South End Museum and the East London Museum spaces through exhibition. Simultaneously, her study is attempting to discern the complex relations of power and knowledge that are at work in the continuous exchanges, negotiations and reconfigurations of what public history is now, particularly how this manifests in the museum. She has published a paper in Kronos: Journal of Cape History, titled 'Interment: The Frame of the Red Location Museum (2006-2013)' in Kronos 42 (2016).

Stone, Kristy


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Kristy Stone is a PhD candidate in History and A.W. Mellon Fellow at the Centre of Humanities Research (CHR) at the University of the Western Cape. Her funding platform is the Re-centring AfroAsia Project: Musical and Human Migrations in the Pre-Colonial Period.

Her PhD research focuses on four objects of power (objects classified as charms, talismans or amulets) in the Iziko Social History Archives and Western Cape Archives.  In writing object histories, she pays particular attention to moments where they depart from typical object behaviour. Although the objects she studies may come from different geographic locations and historical times, they all share a tendency to disrupt subject-object binaries and provoke questions of object agency. She engages the ontological turns of New Animism and New Materialism and the Radical Black Aesthetic in order to consider how these objects point to other ways of knowing and being in the world. Acknowledging the limits of evidence based research, particularly in colonial collections, she use art-making as a method to disorder, experiment and creatively rework the archives.

Kristy has a background in Fine Art  (BA Hons.) and Education and Heritage Studies (MA) from the University of the Witwatersrand.  She worked in museum education for several years and continues run arts based teacher training through Assitej South Africa. In 2018 she was a contributing author for a new arts textbook funded by the Department of Education which will be distributed to primary schools nationally.

Creative collaborations 2017-2018:

A map of suffering (Part 1 and Part 2) based on an oratorio script written by Professor Ari Sitas (UCT). Musical score by Reza Khota (CHR Artist-in-Residence) and Shane Cooper and animation by Kristy Stone. http://www.chrflagship.uwc.ac.za/portfolio/a-map-of-suffering/

Ife and Bilal a live art and musical production performed at the AfroAsia Conference in Johannesburg and at Theatre Arts Admin Collective in Cape Town (2018). The artists drew inspiration from Islamic art and science traditions from 800-1000 AD in order  to imagine a non-representational aesthetics in the present. The artworks followed a process of co-creating with the material aspects of water, sound, metal and light.

Kristy is in residence at ICGC from February through May 2019.

Truscott, Ross


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Ross Truscott currently holds an appointment as a Next Generation Scholar at the Centre for Humanities Research, University of the Western Cape. His research is grounded in critical social theory and psychoanalysis. He has published on the relationship between social institutions and psychic life, on art and popular culture in the wake of apartheid, and the history of psychoanalysis. The book manuscript Ross is in the process of bringing to a close offers a critique of the discourse of empathy - tracing the history and the structure of the injunction to empathise, The Order of Empathy is most interested in the work of those who have critically reoriented conceptions of cosmopolitanism from the global south. His new research project looks at the history of the postal system in colonial government and its points of correspondence with Enlightenment philosophy. Ross is a co-editor of Remains of the Social: Desiring the Postapartheid (Wits University Press, 2017), an associate editor of the journal, Psychology in Society, an editor of Kronos: Southern African Histories, on the editorial board of Social Dynamics: A Journal of African Studies, and the international advisory board of Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society

van Bever Donker, Maurits


Maurits van Bever Donker’s current book project is titled Texturing Difference: Black Consciousness Philosophy and the Script of Man. He reads black consciousness as constituting a philosophical intervention that draws on and re-works the projects of figures such as Frantz Fanon and Aimé Césaire, so as to set to work on the limit of the philosophical and political constructions of man that order the world after Europe. Other current research projects include a book project on the concept of desire as this structures the post-apartheid, in conjunction with Ross Truscott and Premesh Lalu, as well as work on contemplation as a practice unfolding at the rough edge of what Deleuze calls “de-territorialisation”. More broadly van Bever Donker works at the intersection of postcolonial theory, critical theory, political theory and literature.

Van der Rede, Lauren

Visiting Scholar 

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Lauren Van Der Rede has grown up in beautiful Cape Town, South Africa, where she has also had the privilege of studying at the University of the Western Cape (UWC). She is currently based in the English Department of UWC and the Centre for Humanities Research (UWC), where she is an A.W. Mellon Fellow. With a focus on Africa, she studies the relationship between violence, psychoanalysis, trauma and the literary. Her Master’s thesis examined representations of the African child in select contemporary films, arguing that the African child is often represented as a liminal, ambiguous, and often paradoxical figure, through which the selected films are able to, at least to some extent, transcend Afropessimism. For the purposes of her Doctoral research project she is looking at select instances of genocide and genocidal violence in Africa, their post-traumatic effects and their literary representations, in the hope of contributing to psychoanalytic theory through the development of a new concept.

van Laun, Bianca


Bianca van Laun completed her Bachelor of Arts at the University of the Western Cape (UWC), Cape Town, in 2008 which she graduated Suma Cum Laude. She then went on to do her Honours degree in History (UWC) for which she investigated the role of the youth in the Rwandan genocide in 1994 and argued for a reassessment of the use of the concept youth especially in terms of those involved in violence. She graduated Cum Laude. Bianca completed her Masters thesis in History at UWC in 2012. The project dealt with questions of violence and historiography in relation to a Poqo uprising in the town of Paarl, South Africa, in 1962.  Bianca published an article titled “Of bodies captured: the visual representation of the Paarl march and Poqo in apartheid South Africa” in Social Dynamics journal, March 2014. Bianca is currently registered as a doctoral candidate at the UWC. Her thesis is interested in the bureaucratic apparatus surrounding the application of capital punishment in South Africa particularly during the 1960s. She is also a lecturer in the history department at the University of the Western Cape.

Van Wyk , Steward


Steward van Wyk is studying at the University of the Western Cape where he received his B.A. degree with distinction in Afrikaans & Dutch (1980), the Secondary Teacher's Diploma (1981), Honors B.A. in Afrikaans & Dutch cum laude (1984), MA cum laude (1992) and D.Litt (1999). The title of his M.A. dissertation is The dialectic of genre with specific reference to The wandering years of Poppie Nongena (Elsa Joubert). The title of his doctoral dissertation is Adam Small: Apartheid and Authorship. After a number of years in education, he started as a junior lecturer in the Department of Afrikaans and Dutch (UWC) in 1988 and was regularly promoted to full professor in 2012. He currently serves as departmental chair of the department of Afrikaans and Dutch. At the beginning of 2018, he will also be vice-dean for research and postgraduate studies in the Faculty of Arts of the UWC. He is the chairman of the Jan Rabie and Marjorie Wallace Management Committee and vice-chairman of the Southern African Association for Dutch Studies (SAVN). He is a member of the Board of the Afrikaanse Taalmuseum en -monument and serves on the board of the Foundation for Empowerment through Afrikaans (SBA) and the Helpmekaar Studiefonds (HSF). He teaches Afrikaans literature at undergraduate and postgraduate level and has a research interest in Black Afrikaans writing. He has already published a number of articles on this in accredited journals such as Stilet, Literator, Litnet Akademies, Tydskrif vir Letterkunde, Tydskrif vir Nederlands en Afrikaans and Tydskrif vir Literatuurwetenskap. He spent periods of research at the University of Minnesota in the USA as well as at the University of Ghent in Belgium. He has a C2 rating from the National Research Foundation. He received the Elisabeth Eybers Scholarship from the SA Academy in 2001 and an African Award from the ATKV in 2007. He is the recipient of the 2017 Sarton Medal from the University of Ghent for internationally recognized research.

Walters, Lee


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Lee Walters is a doctoral candidate at the University of the Western Cape’s Department of Women’s and Gender Studies. Majoring in Arts Culture and Heritage Management, Lee holds a Master of Arts in Cultural Studies from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. Lee previously worked as a researcher, curator and manager in various cultural industries organisations and continues to contribute to the works of several arts collectives in the continent. Her most recent formal work engagements include programme manager for music at Pro Helvetia Swiss Arts Council, Southern Africa; general manager for Moshito Music Conference and Exhibition in South Africa; and curator for the experimental youth arts programme at UJ Arts, University of Johannesburg. Lee is currently a fellow at UWC’s Centre for Humanities Research and National Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences scholarship recipient.

Lee is in virtual residency with ICGC during the Spring 2021 semester. 

Weintroub Hooper , Jill


Jill Weintroub Hooper is currently a researcher at the Rock Art Research Institute at the University of the Witwatersrand. Experienced researcher with a solid background in the higher education and print media industries. Skilled in News Writing, Editing, writing for online media and websites, Historical Writing, and Creative Writing. Strong research professional with a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in History from University of the Western Cape, South Africa. Broad interest in histories of rock art research and fieldwork in southern African landscapes, intellectual biography and histories of thought, heritage and museum studies, archives, visual histories and photography, urban studies and other contestations within the Humanities disciplines. Since 2015, I have worked on academic publishing projects (books and journals), in various capacities including Project Manager, Editor and Proofreader. 

Wiseman Nombila, Ayanda


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Ayanda Wiseman Nombila works in the field of African Intellectual History. He is a lecturer of the Centre For Humanities Research and teaches Political Thought in Africa in the Political Studies Department, at the University of Western Cape. His PhD thesis is focusing on “The Intellectual History of African Debates at Codesria.” This thesis is a project that looks at postcolonial debates produced from within a pan-African institution, established in 1973 by a particular generation of intellectuals born during the near end of the colonial period. What does it mean to be postcolonial independent subjects? This is their major question, the thesis shows. He has also published a paper on the Journal of African Union Studies, on the early pan-Africanist thinking of Dr Silas Modiri Molema. A paper titled “Reading the Idea of Nation, Pan-Africanism and Globalization in the Thought of Dr. Silas Modiri Molema”, where he argued that at the center of this early pan-Africanist thinking in Africa was the question of what it means to be "modern in Africa."

Witz, Leslie


Leslie Witz was the ICGC Mellon Research Chair in residence in 2014. He is a professor in the History Department at the University of the Western Cape in Cape Town, South Africa. His major research centres around how different histories are created and represented in the public domain through memorials, museums and festivals and tourism. He has published extensively in all these fields. His book, Apartheid’s Festival: Contesting South Africa’s National Pasts, (Indiana University Press, 2003) examines how white settler pasts were produced, sustained and opposed in the second half of the twentieth century. His most recent book, co-authored with Noëleen Murray, Hostels, homes, museum: Memorialsing migrant labour pasts in Lwandle, South Africa (UCT Press, 2014) tracks museum making in a community that was meant to be invisible labour compound under apartheid. The book explores how, through employing strategies of orality and visuality, and by rehabilitating a migrant labour hostel, community histories were made by the museum in Lwandle. He has also written two books for popular audiences: Write Your Own History (1988) and How to Write Essays, (1990). At undergraduate level Leslie teaches the first year course on precolonial African history. He teaches at postgraduate level on issues in museum and heritage studies and public history and tourism. Leslie is the chair of the Board of the Lwandle Migrant Labour Museum and is on the board of the Human Rights Media Centre. He is presently working on a book on how the category of history has changed in selected South African museums. Over the years Leslie has worked closely with colleagues from UWC and the University of Fort Hare, Ciraj Rassool and Gary Minkley, and they are publishing a book that reflects on public history in South Africa since the 1990s. With Jung Ran Forte and Paolo Israel he is also bringing out a collection of papers from the South African Contemporary History and Humanities Seminar at the University of the Western Cape entitled Out of History.

Xakaza, Mdududzi


1. Education: PhD (History) (UWC); P-G Dip. Museum and Heritage Studies (UWC); MA (FA) (UKZN); Hons. History of Art (UNISA); HDE (UFH) and BA (FA) (UFH).

2. Examination papers moderated: 2015 - UFH, Alice, Eastern Cape: History of Art, Museum Studies, Philosophy of Art and Practical/Studio component.

3. Special skills: Painting and drawing (landscape), art teaching, research and academic writing, presentation.

4. Collections where my art is represented: Numerous public, private and corporate collections in South Africa and abroad.

5. Art Exhibitoions: Numerous group exhibitions in South Africa and abroad. A few solo shows in Durban, South Africa.

6. Papers presented: Numerous seminar and conference papers in cities that include Cape Town, South Africa; Pietermaritzburg, South Africa; Durban, South Africa; Minneapolis, USA and Washington, D.C., USA.

7. Journal articles reviewed: Frank England, ' Works of indictment: Santu Mofokeng on memory, identity, and place, 2016.

8. Auctions (paintings only - oil on canvas):

2015: KwaShange, Outside Pietermaritsburg. Art Auctioneer unknown *


2012: Mlambo Shop, KwaZulu-Natal. Art Auctioneer unknown *


2011: Rolling Hills of KwaZulu-Natal, Bonhams Knightsbridge (The South African Sale, Part 1), UK.

https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/18962/lot/44/ and http://www.artprice.com/artist/522021/mzuzile-mduduzi-xakaza/lots/pasts

* Such information is available to subscribers only.

Zinyengere , Nokuthula


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Nokuthula D Zinyengere Is a Doctoral fellow at the Centre for Humanities Research of the University of the Western Cape, History department. Her current academic interests focus on photographic portraiture and family histories. She is interested in how photographs offer new narratives of history that are different from conventional forms of historical reconstruction. She earned a Post Graduate Diploma in Museum and heritage studies at the University of the Western Cape a Bachelors in Fine Arts and a Masters in Heritage at the University of Witwatersrand.

Nokuthula is in residence at ICGC from February through May 2019.


Casarino, Cesare


Desai, Jigna


Duvall, Raymond


Larasati, Rachmi Diyah


Luxon, Nancy


Nagar, Richa


Pohlandt-McCormick, Helena


Mellon Research Chair

Professor Pohlandt-McCormick served as the Mellon Research Chair from the University of Minnesota in our partnership with the Centre for Humanities Research at University of the Western Cape from 2013-14.  As Research Chair, she worked to advance collaborative research activities across the two centers.  Her research interests include:  South African history; African & comparative women’s history; memory, oral history, life histories/autobiography; methodology; post-colonial theory; pre-colonial Africa; and the history of exile.

Scheman, Naomi


Sugnet, Charles