Department of History

It is a great pleasure to welcome you to the History Department at the University of the Free State (UFS). On our webpage, you will learn about our history, the research conducted by the academic staff, and the many activities and accomplishments of those associated with the department. The department’s outreach to wider community continues. Our seminar series brings together scholars and community leaders to discuss important issues in their historical and contemporary contexts.

The Department of History at the UFS was established in 1905, only a year after the University was founded. It is one of the University’s oldest departments. Adriaan Francken, originally from the Netherlands, was the first History lecturer – albeit that, from 1905 until 1910, he also had to teach Dutch, English, French and German. In 1926, Dr SP Barnard became the University’s first Professor of History; and in 1941, Prof. CJ Uys succeeded him.

In the course of the rest of the twentieth century, Prof JJ Oberholster, Prof MCE (“Tienie”) van Schoor, Prof H Marais, Prof J Moll, Prof SL Barnard, and Prof A Wessels successively served as heads of the Department of History. The present Head of Department is Dr Chitja Twala, Vice-Dean of the Faculty of The Humanities.

The department’s staff as well as its students reflect the cultural diversity of the broader South African community.

The department offers the following degree programs on both the Bloemfontein and the QwaQwa campuses:

  • Bachelor of Arts
  • Bachelor of Arts Honours
  • Master of Arts
  • Doctor of Philosophy

The current fields of research include:

  • the post-1948 political history of South Africa;
  • oral history;
  • South African military history (with special reference to the Anglo-Boer war and the South African National Defence Force, including, in particular, the South African Navy);
  • women and their stories in the context of conflict and violence;
  • liberation history;
  • South African film history;
  • history of apartheid culture and society;
  • other aspects of South Africa’s cultural history and heritage.
Contact Details

Head of Department 

Dr Clement  Masakure
T: +27 51 401 7945


Pulane Xaba
T: +27 51 401 7140


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

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