Welcome to the Centre for Gender and Africa Studies (CGAS) which under the Faculty of The Humanities at the University of the Free State (UFS). The current Director of the CGAS is Dr Stephanie Cawood. We are an interdisciplinary research and postgraduate centre, first launched in November 2007 as the Centre for Africa Studies. Africa Studies is conceptualised as a branch of African Studies, along with Africana Studies (African Diaspora). ‘Africa Studies’ serves to emphasise the role of Africa’s agency in Africa(n) Studies. We study Africa, its people, politics, culture and relations with the rest of the world by taking a long and critical view of past and present. ‘Africa Studies’ was a deliberate choice to reflect the fact that, while we engage with the many contested meanings of who is an African, we study Africa and its complex manifestation of intersectionality.

In 2010, Gender Studies became associated with the Centre and by 2017 was fully embedded in its operations prompting an official name change in 2018 to the Centre for Gender and Africa Studies (CGAS) to properly reflect the role that both Africa and Gender Studies plays in its intellectual and pedagogic activities and research agenda. Africa Studies and Gender Studies are cognate intersectional fields that share a commitment towards intersectionality, postcolonial critical scholarship and interdisciplinarity. We firmly believe that it is impossible to do Africanist research without gender and equally impossible to understand gender in our context without accounting for Africa. The name of the Centre thus reflects our understanding and interpretation of what constitutes intersectional African and gender identities and subjectivities where identity is never a singular notion, but multifaceted and overlapping.


  • We are committed to the study of the realities and challenges of Africa as part of our teaching and research activities;
  • We are committed to the study of feminism, masculinities and gendered identity dynamics in society and how these fields intersect in Africa;
  • We actively promote the incorporation of an Africa and gender focus in academic activities as part of the strategic priorities of the UFS.

Core functions

  • Research/publication
  • Postgraduate Teaching
  • Short learning programmes
  • To promote the UFS focus on Africa, the centre initiates, facilitates, or coordinates and participates in projects with a focus on Africa. As it has limited academic staff, it operates through the assistance of colleagues in other departments and faculties at the university and beyond.
Interdisciplinary research areas include

  • Heritage studies and indigenous knowledge systems
  • Memory studies
  • Ritual studies and pilgrimage
  • Cultural studies and representation in multimedia texts in Africa
  • Women, migration, and border studies
  • LGBTQI+ identities in Africa, African sexuality, queer archives
  • Presidential rhetoric and discourse analysis
  • Portuguese colonial and Jesuit missionary history in India
  • Photography, tailoring, gender, and visual cultures in East Africa (Mozambique and Zanzibar)
  • Political Islam, terrorism, and discrimination against the LGBTQ community in North Africa
  • Decolonial studies, postcolonial studies, and oral history research methodologies
  • Livelihood research, mountain scholarship and participatory methodologies
  • Youth, community development and social entrepreneurship
  • Feminist security studies, gender, and peace-building
  • Gender-based violence and everyday assumptions of gender/sex role expectations reproduced through social and cultural norms
  • Gender and community development inclusive of the intersections between community especially rural development and rural education
  • Afrocentricity, Pan-Africanism and Sankarism
  • Service delivery and development


The CGAS offers postgraduate programmes in Africa and Gender Studies.

Memorial lectures

The centre hosts the annual Africa Day Memorial Lecture; as well as the Biennial Gendered Worlds and the Humanities Lecture, where guest scholars are invited to speak on crucial issues related to Africa and Gender.

Seminars and lectures

The CGAS seminar series offers a platform for scholars to share their research related to Africa and Gender.

Contact Us

Physical Address:
Centre for Gender and Africa Studies (CGAS) (IB 110)
University of the Free State
Bloemfontein Campus
205 Nelson Mandela Ave
Senate Street North
President Steyn Annex
Rooms 303 - 317 

T: +27 51 401 3121
F: +27 51 401 9676


General Enquiries:
Portia Gailele
Senior Assistant Officer
T: +27 51 401 3121

Academic Programme Enquiries:
Ankia Bradfield
Senior Assistant Officer
T: +27 51 401 9609


T: +27 51 401 2240 or

Marizanne Cloete: +27 51 401 2592

Neliswa Emeni-Tientcheu: +27 51 401 2536
Phyllis Masilo: +27 51 401 9683

Humanities photo next to contact block

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