Department of History
Welcome to the University of the Free State History department! Established in 1905, one year after the founding of the University of the Free State, our department is one of the leading research-intensive history departments in the country. Our expertise covers precolonial history to the present, across different parts of South Africa, Africa and the world. Researchers in our department are interested in the following areas, amongst others:

  • Histories of liberation movements and decolonisation in southern Africa
  • Medical history
  • Histories of childhood, youth and education
  • Histories of colonialism in British imperial contexts
  • Museology and heritage studies
  • Songs and music as historical sources
  • Histories of gender, trauma and reconciliation
  • Oral history: theories and methodology
  • Sports histories
  • Economic history of southern Africa
  • History of Christianity and humanitarianism
  • Decolonisation and the production of historical knowledge

We invite you to engage with us on these topics in our undergraduate courses, postgraduate teaching and supervision, and through our online seminar.

Why study history?

At the Department of History, you will develop deep insights into our fascinating past and learn to apply this knowledge to the constantly changing contemporary world. Why do countries go to war? Why do we play sports by particular rules? Why is the Free State named the way it is? Why is South Africa one of the most unequal countries in the world? The answers to all of these questions, and many others, lie in the past. In our modules, you will learn how to think historically about the past. Historical thinking allows you to understand:

  • Change over time: as time passes, some aspects of our world stay the same, while others change
  • Context: the broader context in which events took place
  • Causality: the reasons for specific historical events taking place
  • Contingency: how different historical events are connected to each other
  • Complexity: being able to understand the unfolding of history beyond a chronological retelling of events

Career opportunities for History graduates

  • Education: working as a history teacher or lecturer at a university
  • Research institutions, think tanks, NGOs and Foundations employ historians because of their excellent research skills and understanding of the complexity of the past
  • Museums or museum services as a researcher, research assistant, historian, oral historian, historical archaeologist, collections manager, or in management
  • Private or public heritage sector as a heritage practitioner or consultant for environmental impact studies
  • State or private archives as archivist or archival assistant
  • In the tourism sector, as a tour operator or tour guide
  • In local or national government, within the Department of Arts and Culture or in the heritage portfolios

Because history teaches you critical skills of reading, writing, analysing data and conducting interviews, these are just a small sample of possible careers for history graduates.


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Useful links:

Contact Details

Head of Department 

Dr Clement  Masakure
T: +27 51 401 7945


Nicole Masalla
T: +27 51 401 2330/2541


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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