Some of the research projects currently running in the Centre include the following:

  • The end of history? The ANC centenary in perspective (completed)
  • Gendering security sector reform in Africa (completed)
  • Sexual and gender-based violence in South Africa: corrective rape and the prevalence of heteronormative and hypermasculine codes
  • Post-conflict reconstruction and development in Africa: conceptual roots, role-players, policy and practice (completed)
  • Discursive and material gender dynamics of liberal peace-building in Africa
  • Dynamics of intertextuality in the rhetorical imprint of Nelson Mandela
  • The rhetoric of ritual: Sacred sites and the oral tradition in the Mohakare Valley (completed)
  • Oral histories and the cultural uses of clay at sacred sites in the Free State
  • Communities in communion: Religious integration at South African sacred sites in the Eastern Free State (completed)

African Identities and the Politics of Space and Othering

This project was the outflow of a CAS Colloquium entitled “Researching Africa across the Disciplines” as part of the Africa Day celebrations on 22 May 2013. The aim of the symposium was to raise awareness and theorise the interdisciplinary nature of African Studies across the Humanities, Social, Natural and Health Sciences. The event aimed to showcase cutting edge work done at the interface of various disciplines, and to explore the politics of interdisciplinary research on Africa. The African knowledge project with all its contestations was therefore central to the deliberations on the day.

The publication, a Special Issue of Africa Insight 44(1), June 2014, guest edited by Professor Heidi Hudson and Professor Henning Melber, examines a range of African cases of ‘othering’ and interrogates the exclusionary effects of both discourses/narratives and political practices. The Special Issue covers a variety of academic disciplines in its theoretical synthesis of insights on alterity and the African knowledge project. Rich case studies draw on fields such as history, political science, communication science, sociology, cultural studies and social anthropology to capture the contemporary nuances of othering in an African context.

Indigenous Knowledge Systems Documentation Centre (IKSDC) Project

At the end of 2012, the UFS and CAS signed a contract with the National IKS Office in the Department of Science and Technology (DST) to establish the Free State IKS Documentation Centre as part of the National Recordal System (NRS). The aim of the DST is to establish IKSDCs in every province. The NRS initiative aims to address critical questions regarding the individualistic nature of intellectual property regimes that create complications when applied to local communities. A recordal system will secure the rights to knowledge where communities, guilds and other IK holders can record their knowledge holdings sequentially to assist their interest in the future knowledge economy, educational and economic benefits and social good. The NRS will be managed on a national multi-media platform and research and development strategies informs the minimum standards for information that needs to be aligned with appropriate legal frameworks that provide adequate legal mechanisms for benefit sharing. The vision of the NRS initiative is “to be the leading IKS treasure hub for communal socio-economic development”. This will be realised through the preservation, protection, promotion of IK and development of indigenous products for communal socio-economic development.

Centre for Africa Studies at the National Science Expo

Description: Caitlim Nikon Tags: Caitlim Nikon

The Department of Science of Technology (DST) launched the national science week with an expo at the University of Free State’s South Campus on 02 August 2014. The Centre for Africa Studies (CAS), which hosts the DST-funded office of Indigenous Knowledge Systems Documentation Centre (IKSDC), was invited to be part of the many exhibitions about science. The IKSDC gave presentations to large groups of learners from all over the Free State Province about indigenous knowledge and well as its intersections with science as traditional technologies of knowing. It is estimated that over 4 000 people, including learners, educators and parents attended the expo. The IKSDC’s main objective at the fair was to generate awareness and interest about the documentation of indigenous knowledge that is also underway in the Free State and to give learners early exposure to the value of knowledge already embedded in their own cultures and traditions.

Representations of Otherness and Resistance

This project seeks to capture the multi-layered nuances of spatial, temporal, visual, sonic and performative dynamics within the context of Africa, and more specifically South Africa, as these relate to the core pillars of various artistic and alternative creative forms of representation of otherness and resistance. Among others, the project entails a critical examination of a range of South African cases of ‘othering and resistance’ by focusing on the exclusionary effects of both discourses/narratives and political practices. The goal is further to establish a digital archive on the theme of otherness, which would not only capture the South African space, but which would eventually include other parts of (Southern) Africa.


T: +27 51 401 2240 or

Marizanne Cloete: +27 51 401 2592

Katlego Mabulana: +27 51 401 2495
Juanita Hlongwane: +27 51 401 3269

Humanities photo next to contact block