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Housed in the Faculty of The Humanities, the University of the Free State’s Department of Sociology provides academic facilities and services to thousands of students across the Bloemfontein and Qwaqwa campuses, as well as an array of smaller satellite campuses. The Department has a proud history spanning over fifty years and continues to produce disciplined and knowledgeable graduates that are equipped with the skills to comprehend, study and navigate society’s challenges and experiences.

In order to do this, the Department’s diverse group of staff members draw on their specialised ability to provide teaching and learning content that is locally and globally relevant, as well as culturally sensitive. The Department’s ability to successfully achieve this is defined by the quality of its lecturing and support staff. Staff members research is used to strengthen the wide array of modules taught across campuses, that range from introductory courses that explore concepts of sociology and social institutions, to more specialised modules that target elements of social experiences such as the family, health, work, consumerism and consumption, environment and population, as well as theory and research methodology. All of these modules allow for students to situate themselves in and understand the context of social interaction in contemporary society.

Overall, the Department of Sociology through research-oriented teaching attempts to contribute to the sociology of South Africa, the continent of Africa, and the world; producing critically minded students and researchers. The Department of Sociology is made up of the following permanent staff members:

Professor Sethulego Matebesi is the Head of the Department of Sociology and lectures the research methodology module at an honours-year level. His recent research interests include the sociology of social movements and service delivery protests against local government. Currently, his body of work has targeted social licensing and mining company/community relations.

Leane Ackermann lectures first- and honours-year modules that explore the introductory concepts and theory of sociology and the sociology of health. Her research interests include the sociology of health, illness and work. She is currently studying underemployment and identity in her doctoral thesis study.


Nontombi Velelo is a lecturer in second- and honours-year sociology modules concerned with the sociology of family and health, as well as industrial sociology. Her doctoral thesis is studying how South African men construct notions of manhood and fatherhood. She is also researching teaching and learning during periods of COVID-19 and lockdown.

Nombulelo Shange is a lecturer who has lectured in a variety of second-, third- and honours-year modules that include consumerism and consumption, family sociology, industrial sociology, environmental sociology, the sociology of health and sociological theory. Her research interests include the sociology of religion, healing and identity, the environment and gender. Her doctoral thesis studies sack cloth communities in Cape Town, with interest in their notions of healing and identity.

Professor  Deborah Posel is a Research Professor whose research has previously explored questions of power and statecraft and aspects of white supremacy in South Africa. Her current research is focused on the history of consumerism in South Africa.

Professor  Katinka de Wet is an Associate Professor who lectures sociological theory at third- and honours-year level. Her research has seen her explore topics in medical sociology, narrative methodology, and digital sociology. Currently, she is exploring the experiences of community health workers in times of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kali Nena lectures first- and honours-year sociology modules that serve as entry points for undergraduate students such as the introduction to sociology and social institutions, as well as the sociology of health. His research interests include race and identity, as well as class and stratification studies.

Dr Wade Goodrick lectures second- and honours-year modules that include the sociology of consumerism and consumption, as well as the sociology of population and environment. His research interests focus on environmental sociology, perceptions of risk, and energy and society studies in South Africa.

Dehan Jonker is a teaching assistant and facilitator working in the first-year sociology modules concerned with the introduction to sociology and social institutions. He is currently working towards his master's degree and is interested in the notion of a paradigm shift in education.

Dr Mosa Phadi is a senior lecturer who presents sociological theory and research methodology at third- and honours year. Mosa’s previous research had focused on issues of state formation, but she is currently exploring Du Bois’ conversations with Sol Plaatje, and the ways in which these circulated and intersected with emerging  discourses of blackness. She is also studying the history of the Bureau of African Affairs and its role in South Africa’s liberation struggles.

Dr Emmanuelle Mayeza is a senior lecturer presenting first-year sociology modules on the University of the Free State’s Qwaqwa campus. His research interests include gender, sexuality, sex education and violence in schooling. Currently, his work explores how memories of schooling may have impacted on the construction of identify of students who identify as LGBTIQ.

Dr Divane Nzima is a lecturer and subject head presenting third-year sociology modules on the University of the Free State’s Qwaqwa campus. He has previously researched topics concerning the sociology of migration, with emphasis on the theme of return migration. He has become increasingly interested in family dynamics, with consideration for the relationship between parenting and youth violence.

Nthabiseng Matsoso and Mathabiso Hoeane are the Qwaqwa and Bloemfontein Campus assistant officers who through their energetic and helpful manner, allow the Department of Sociology to actively meet its teaching and research goals.

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