Change the world


Nelson Mandela University wishes to announce a second National Research Foundation (NRF) SARCHI Research Chair in Humanities.

The Research Chair on African Feminist Imaginations, to be occupied by Professor Pumla Dineo Gqola (left) from the Centre for Women and Gender Studies, is the second Chair to be awarded in the Humanities Faculty within the space of two months.

Earlier this month, a Tier 1 Research Chair in Ocean Cultures and Heritage was also awarded to the University.

A chair is one of the most prestigious recognitions for institutional research capacity and the individual researcher.

The Chair in African Feminist Imaginations   comes at a time when the country is seeking answers regarding gender relation crisis in the form of gender-based violence (GBV).

It also comes as a direct institutional response and intention to ending gender inequalities and boosting academic research on gender issues broadly.

The African Feminist Imaginations Research Chair will promote interdisciplinary studies across different faculties, attract high quality postgraduate students across the continent and build an African Research Feminist hub in the Eastern Cape while increasing the research output on gender scholarship around creative art genres. 

“This Chair will advance knowledge by interrogating transhistorical articulations of African feminist radical knowledge in creative genres juxtaposed with a comparative analysis of emergent travelling strategies of feminist intervention,” says Prof Gqola.

“Breaking with African feminist convention within the Humanities, the Chair will read African feminist articulation across the boundaries of creative genre, historic language tradition and performance cultures.”

Prof Gqola was appointed in May 2020 at the new Centre for Women and Gender Studies to strengthen the gender academic project of the Centre while contributing to the broader “Revitalisation of the Humanities” project at Mandela University.

She holds a DPhil (magna cum laude) in Post-Colonial Studies from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universit√§t M√ľnchen in Germany, and MA degrees from the universities of Warwick and Cape Town.

She is a full professor in Literature, with specific focus on African feminism, African literature, postcolonial literature, and slave memory.

Prof Gqola has authored books, book chapters, journal articles and magazines on African feminist studies.

Her book on “Rape: a South African Nightmare” was the winner of the 2016 Sunday Times, Alan Paton Award, and is one of the most read and well-circulated books on rape today.

In 2019, she was appointed to the DHET Ministerial Task Team to advise on matters relating to sexual harassment and GBV in public universities in South Africa.

Prof Gqola is a product of the deep intellectual histories of the Eastern Cape, growing up in a family of intellectuals inside the University of Fort Hare’s Alice campus, only to become a Dean of Research in the same university in 2018. Professor Gqola spent more than a decade in the School of Literature, Language and Media at Wits University between 2007 and 2017, rising from associate to full professor.

Her previous appointments include Chief Research Specialist with the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), and the Department of English and Classical Culture, at the University of the Free State from 1997 to 2005.

Prof Gqola has won numerous awards, served on different research boards and visited numerous universities across the globe as a visiting professor.

Prof Gqola is undoubtably the most suitable candidate to occupy this prestigious position granted to Nelson Mandela University.

Contact information
Mrs Debbie Derry
Deputy Director: Communication
Tel: 041 504 3057