When the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) African Studies library was destroyed by fire in April this year, so too were many resources on the cultures and languages of Southern Africa’s indigenous people. But new knowledge produced by the university’s youngest research entity, the San and Khoi Centre, is set to revive this archive. The San and Khoi Centre in the Centre for African Studies (CAS) calls this “unburning the fire”. It’s a powerful metaphor coined by A/Xarra Restorative Justice Forum chair, Tauriq Jenkins, for the restoration process and knowledge gathering, and was also the title of the inaugural Faculty of Humanities San & Khoi Heritage Month Colloquium on 29 September 2021.
Yasmin Sooka, renowned human rights activist and the inaugural Faculty of Humanities’ inaugural Honorary Research Fellow for Activism and Social Change, presented a public lecture on 11 August 2021 on the ongoing struggle for justice for victims of apartheid. In her lecture, titled, “Unfinished Business of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC)”, former TRC commissioner and human rights lawyer Yasmin Sooka focused on why nobody has been prosecuted under the ‘Crime of Apartheid’ and how denial persists in our country that apartheid was declared a crime against humanity and that the apartheid state was a criminal state.
In her recently completed doctoral thesis “Researching Race, Space and Masculinities in Bishop Lavis: A critical ethnographic study”, UCT PhD graduate Simone Peters aimed to showcase more holistic and alternative narratives about Bishop Lavis, its community and ‘coloured’* identities. This has opened a conversation about the complexities of race and place in post-apartheid South Africa, the legacy of colonial and apartheid history on such communities, and the resilience of men and their communities to persevere despite the massive challenges they face.
As the largest faculty on campus, the Faculty of Humanities is home to more than 6000 Undergraduate and Postgraduate students annually. Currently 43 countries are represented in our student body. We attract students and academics from across the globe which means exposure to a rich diversity of knowledge, experience and best practice.
Research and Teaching
UCT Faculty of Humanities has a reputation for demanding excellence from our staff and students. We are home to some of South Africa's most celebrated intellectuals, including: award-winning composers and singers; renowned artistic directors and literary critics; world famous novelists and poets; national policy makers and advisors to government; sought-after economists; and highly respected social science researchers.
We produce exceptional young people who possess imagination, insight, mental agility and analytical skills. As a result of these attributes, our graduates are highly sought after both locally and abroad. Most of our students advance to postgraduate study which further enhances their skills and employment opportunities. A Humanities qualification prepares you for a multitude of career paths in the public sector, corporate workplace and in academia.
“The Humanities Faculty at UCT produces exceptional scholars who possess imagination, insight, and analytical skills – who are able to impart innovation and leadership to a society grappling with transition and reconstruction. I am proud to say that the Humanities experience at UCT prepares students well for life as a global citizen who can co-exist and engage with the world.”