Prof Stephanie Cawood
Associate Professor
Centre for Gender & Africa Studies
112 313
Centre for Africa Studies
IB 110
President Steyn Annex 313

Short CV

Prof Stephanie Cawood (PhD) is the current Director of the Centre for Gender and Africa Studies at the University of the Free State, a position she has held since July 2019. Prior to that, she was Acting Director of the Centre from October 2017. From 2012-July 2019, she also served as Programme Director of the Programme for Africa Studies. She obtained her PhD in 2011 with her thesis titled, The Rhetorical Imprint of Nelson Mandela as Reflected in Public Speeches, 1950-2004. In her work, she argued that the structure of human thought and consciousness is derived from the nature of embodied experience and that all forms of expression are the products of this dynamic interaction. Prof Cawood is experienced in interdisciplinary scholarship and from 2008 to 2010 successfully led a National Heritage Council-funded project on the oral histories and the cultural uses of clay at sacred sites in the eastern Free State. As scholar, she is interested in the interdisciplinary spaces between Africa and Gender Studies from a postcolonial/decolonial perspective with particular interest in matters of culture and heritage, rhetoric, the oral tradition (indigenous knowledge systems) and memory. She has taught in the Africa and Gender Studies programmes where she is involved in the supervision of postgraduate students and has successfully graduated 30 postgraduate students from Honours (10) through to Master’s (11) and PhD level (9). In 2013, she went to the University of Bologna on a staff exchange (EUROSA) and, in 2016, took up a visiting research fellowship at the African Studies Centre Leiden. From 2016-2019, she was awarded a Newton Advanced Fellowship from the British Academy and Newton Fund in collaboration with Prof Jonathan Fisher from the University of Birmingham to pursue research titled, The memorialising of struggle and the dynamics of memory, space, and power in post-liberation Africa. From 2008-2010 and again from 2018-2019, Prof Cawood collaborated with Dr Tascha Vos (Centre for Environment Management at UFS) on an interdisciplinary project called, ‘Testing the Waters’: The application of the Rapid Integrity Appraisal (RIA) model to Mohokare informal heritage sites. From 2021-2022, she also guest edited a special edition in the journal, Acta Academica, titled, Xenophobia in Africa, in collaboration with Prof Peter Olapegba from the University of Ibadan (Published Nov 2022).


Publications (Short List)

  • Mushonga, M. & Cawood, S. 2024. ‘You have to pay with your body’: The precarity of subaltern Basotho migrant women within the Lesotho-South Africa border(land)s. In: M. Mushonga, J. Aerni-Flessner, C. Twala and G. Magaiza (Eds.). Migration, Borders and Borderlands: Making National Identity in Southern African Communities. Lanham: Lexington Books. ISBN 9781666942811 (ebook).
  • Human, C., Cawood, S., & Van As, L.L. 2023. IKS and gendered ecologies: The Okavango Panhandle in context. Africa Review (published online ahead of print 2023). (IBSS, Scopus).
  • Cawood, S. 2023. Rising to the occasion? Appraising the rhetoric of selected African Presidents in their response to COVID-19. African Journal of Rhetoric, 15: 344-374. [Special issue: Rhetoric inthe Time of Covid 19: Global African Perspectives] (SA DHET).
  • Cawoods, S. and Fisher, J. 2022. “It should be a constant reminder”: Space, meaning and power in post-liberation Africa. Political Geography, 99(2022): 102782. (Open Access, Norwegian List, WoS, Scopus, IBSS, Impact Factor 4.1).
  • Cawoods, S. and Olapegba, P (Guest editors). 2022. Xenophobia in Africa. Acta Academic Special Issue, 54(20): 1-5. [Introduction]. (DOAJ/SA DHET).
  • Cawood, S. & Vos, A.T. 2021. Water and heritage: Saving sacred waters: The future of the Mohokare Valley sacred sites and water resources. The Water Wheel, 23(3): 28-31. (Popular science article, Scopus). 
  • Cawood, S. 2016. Violence in/and the Great Lakes: The thought of V-Y Mudimbe and Beyond. By Grant Ferrad, Kasereka Kavwahiri and Leonhard Praeg (eds.). Acta Academica, 48(2): 151-153. (DOAJ/SA DHET).
  • Cawood, S. & Vos, A.T. 2016. Water quality as bio-cultural screening indicator for the integrity of informal heritage sites. Water SA, 42(4): 516-526. (WoS, ScIELO).
  • Cawood, S. 2014. The ‘Recalcitrant Other’: The rhetorical identity and struggle of Nelson Mandela. Africa Insight 44(1): 38 – 50. (SA DHET).
  • Cawood, S. 2014. The rhetoric of ritual: Sacred sites and the oral tradition in the Mohokare Valley. In: P. Post, P.J. Nel & W. van Beek (Eds.). Sacred Spaces and Contested Identities: Space and Ritual Dynamics in Europe and Africa. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press. Chapter 11: pp 203-224. ISBN 9781592219544.
  • Cawood, S. & Moephuli, J. 2014. Site descriptions of the sacred sites of the eastern Free State.In: P. Post, P.J. Nel & W. van Beek (Eds.). Sacred Spaces and Contested Identities: Space and Ritual Dynamics in Europe and Africa. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press. Addendum: pp 27-38. ISBN 9781592219544.
  • Cawood, S. & De Wet, J.C. 2014. The rhetorical imprint from a constructivist perspective. Communitas, 19(2014): 60 – 79. (SA DHET).
  • Vos, A.T & Cawood, S. 2010. The impact of water quality on informally declared heritage sites: A preliminary study. Water SA Young Water Professionals Special Edition 2010, 36(2): 185-192. (WoS, ScIELO).

Area(s) of Interest

Rhetoric and discourse (Cognitive linguistics, embodied realism, pragmatic constructivism)

Africa Studies (Postcolonial critique, thought systems, epistemology)

Gender Studies (Patriarchy, media representation)

Heritage Studies (indigenous knowledge systems, ritual, oral tradition and memory)

Culture and Media Studies (Pop culture, consumerism, media representation, gender)



Courses Presented


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

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