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Academics

Email: hbecker@uwc.ac.za

Heike is a social and cultural anthropologist. Her research and writing explore the intersection of culture and postcolonial politics with a focus on social identities (ethnicity, gender, ‘race’ and nationalism), memory cultures, popular culture, and social movements. Her work in the field of popular culture ranges across film, photography, music, and digital technologies. She recently directed research projects on Aesthetics, Politics and Diversity — studying connections between popular culture, performance, belonging and citizenship in contemporary South Africa, and elsewhere on the African continent — together with local and international colleagues and postgraduate students. 

Heike completed her PhD at Bremen University, Germany, in 1993 with a dissertation on women in the Namibian liberation struggle. After three decades of ethnographic research in southern Africa Heike is currently conducting research on decolonisation and anti-racist politics in Germany and the United Kingdom.

She is the author of Namibian Women’s Movement, 1980 to 1992: From Anti-colonial Resistance to Reconstruction, and editor of several edited collections. She is currently completing a monograph on nationalism and memories of the Namibian liberation war. She has also published widely in local and international academic journals such as Africa, Journal of Southern African Studies, American Anthropologist, Anthropology Southern Africa, Visual Anthropology, Periphery, Social Dynamics, and the Canadian Journal of African Studies. She is a regular contributor to blogs and other online and print publications, and her writing surpasses ethnography, history, and journalism, cutting across fiction and non-fiction.

Publications

  • Becker, H. 2018. “‘Global 1968’ on the African continent.” FocaalBlog, 9 February. www.focaalblog.com/2018/02/09heike-becker-global-1968-on-the-african-continent.
  • Becker, H., and D. Schulz (Eds.) 2017. “Un/making Difference through Performance and Mediation in Contemporary Africa.” Special Issue of Journal of African Cultural Studies 29 (2).
  • Becker, H. 2015. ‘How We See Our Culture’: Photographic self-representations from the Cape Flats, South Africa. Visual Anthropology 28(5): 373-397.
  • Becker, H. 2012. “Anthropology and the Study of Popular Culture: A Perspective from the southern tip of Africa.” Review of African Literatures 43(4): 17-37.
  • Becker, H. 2011. “Commemorating heroes in Windhoek and Eenhana: memory, culture and nationalism in Namibia, 1990-2010.” Africa. Journal of the International African Institute 81(4): 519-43.
  • Becker, H., E. Boonzaier, and J. Owen. 2005. “Fieldwork in shared spaces: positionality, power and ethics of citizen anthropologists in southern Africa.” Anthropology Southern Africa 28(3&4): 123-132.
  • Becker, H. 1995. Namibian Women’s Movement 1980 to 1992. From Anticolonial Struggle to Reconstruction. Frankfurt (Germany): IKO-Verlag für interkulturelle Kommunikation.
  • Becker, H. (2020); Writing Genocide: Fiction, Biography and Oral History of the German Colonial Genocide in Namibia, 1904-1908, Matatu 50 (dated 2018; published February 2020): 361-395.
  • Becker, H. (2018): Changing Urbanscapes: Colonial and postcolonial monuments in Windhoek, Nordic Journal of African Studies, 27(1), 1-21.
     

Email: wellis@uwc.ac.za

William is a lecturer in Anthropology at UWC. He teaches courses in Economic Anthropology, Anthropological Theory, and the Anthropology of Africa. His Economic Anthropology course focuses on the link between religion and economy and explores works by Georges Bataille, Marcel Mauss and Marshall Sahlins on the gift and questions the market through the work of Karl Polanyi.
 
His courses also explore the well-known debates in social sciences such as the dialectic of the master and the slave, Marx’s labour theory of value, Lewis’ culture of poverty and the economic value of human life. His postgraduate theory course teaches the history of anthropology, the ontological turn and the ethnography of the ‘more-than-human’. He maintains strong interests in Khoisan studies, indigeneity and is passionate about researching the human plant interface. 
 
William has done extensive fieldwork among the San people in the southern Kalahari. The main thrust of his fieldwork there was land reform, natural resources management and the intersections with culture. Currently, he is working on several projects in the Northern Cape that aim to examine knowledge connections and plant ontologies. These projects have focused on various plant practitioners, and the current phase is a collaboration with the herders in Leliefontein. Additionally, he has a keen interest in the Afrofuturist movement and science fiction in Africa.
 

Publications

  • Ellis, W. (2019). “Situational chiefs: notes on traditional leaders amidst calls for Khoisan recognition after 1994” in Skosana, D., M. Buthelezi, Beth Vale Traditional Leaders in a Democracy: Resources, Respect and Resistance MISTRA, Johannesburg. 
  • Ellis, W. (2019) A Tree Walks through the Forest: Milkwoods and Other Botanical Witnesses in Catalyst: Feminism, Theory, Technoscience. Critical Perspectives: Plants, Race, and Colonialism, 5 (2).
  • Ellis, W. F. 2018. “Ethnographies of race and identity.” In Balibar/Wallerstein’s race, nation, class: rereading a dialogue for our times, Bojadzijev, M. And Klingan, K. (Eds.) Hamburg: Argument Verlag, Haus der Kulteuren der Welt, 88-93.
  • Ellis, W.F. 2018. “Vetkat’s cinematic: oneironauts of critique in the Kalahari.” In Southern hemisphere ethnographies of space, place, and time, Rinehart, R., Kidd, J. and Garcia, A. (Eds.) Bern, Switzerland: Peter Lang, 213-232.
 

Email: jforte@uwc.ac.za

Jung Ran Annachiara is an anthropologist and joined the Department of Anthropology and Sociology in 2014. She completed her PhD in Social Anthropology at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris in 2007. Her research is located at the intersections of the study of ‘traditional’ African religions and subjectivity. In her doctoral dissertation, Chevauchés par les dieux. Initiations des Occidentaux aux cultes Vodun béninois: pratiques culturelles et trajectoires identitaires, grounded on extensive fieldwork in the Republic of Benin, West Africa, she explored the dynamics of change of a traditional religion.

Historically characterised by a striking extraversion and flexibility, Vodun cults have travelled, adapted, and transformed across time and space, creatively reinventing their traditions, generating new meanings and redefining regimes of practice, both locally and globally. Recently, in collaboration with Leslie Witz and Paolo Israel, Annachiara published an edited volume that charts new trends in South African historiography through a series of essays from the early 1990s to the present. In the Department, she teaches classes on rituals, beliefs, traditional practices, gender and kinship, and popular culture.

 

Publications

  • Forte, J. 2021. “Objets Trouvés and Tchamba Gods: Ritual Memory and Slavery in Contemporary Benin,” Journal of Religion in Africa (Forthcoming, accepted).
  • Forte, J. 2020 Vodún: Secrecy and the Search for Divine Power, written by Landry, Timothy R., Journal of Religion in Africa (forthcoming)
  • Forte, J. 2019, “Mirrors and Waters: The Practice of the Visual in Beninese Mami Wata Cults” in Patricia Hayes and Gary Minkley (eds), Ambivalent: African Engagements with Photography and Visibility. Athens: Ohio University Press.
  • Witz, L. , J. Forte, P. Israel. 2016. “Epistemological Restlessness: Trajectories in and out
    History.” In Out of History. Re-imagining South African Pasts. Cape Town: HSRC Press, 1-30.
    Forte, J., P. Israel and L. Witz 2016. Out of History. Re-imagining South African Pasts. Cape Town: HSRC Press.
  • Forte, J. 2010 “Black Gods, White Bodies: Westerners’ Initiations to Vodun in Contemporary
    Benin,” Transforming Anthropology18(2): 129-145. Forte, J. 2010. “Diaspora Homecoming, Vodun Ancestry, and the Ambiguities of Transnational Belongings in the Republic of Benin,” In Percy C. Hintzen, Jean Muteba Rahier, and Felipe Smith (eds.), Global Circuits of Blackness: Interrogating the African Diaspora. Urbana-Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 174-200.
  • Forte, J. 2009. “Marketing Vodun: Cultural Tourism and Dreams of Success in Contemporary Benin,” Cahiers dEtudes africaines XLIX (1-2), 193-194: 429-451.
  • Forte, J. 2007. “Ways of Remembering: Transatlantic Connections and African Diaspora
  • Homecoming in the Republic of Benin,” Social Dynamics 33(2): 123-143
 

Email: kgillespie@uwc.ac.za

Kelly is a political and legal anthropologist with a research focus on criminal justice in South Africa, particularly concerned with how criminal justice has become a vector for the continuation of apartheid relations. She joined the UWC Anthropology Department in 2018. Before UWC, she worked in the Department of Anthropology at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) for a decade, serving as the head from 2015-2017. She completed her PhD at the University of Chicago in 2007 with a dissertation on South African prisons. 
 
Kelly writes and teaches about law and justice, urbanism, sexualities, race, and the praxis of social justice. In 2008, she cofounded the Johannesburg Workshop in Theory and Criticism (JWTC), an experimental project tasked with recrafting the work of critical theory beyond the Global North. She has been involved in work on the decolonisation of the university in South Africa, supporting student movement activism and disciplinary/curriculum reconstruction. She also works beyond the university in popular education projects, supporting a broad range of social justice formations.
 

Publications

  • Gillespie, Kelly and Naidoo, Leigh-Ann. forthcoming. ‘Abolition Pedagogy: Force fields of Critique’ Critical Times.
  • Gillespie, Kelly. 2021. ‘Robben Island, Abolition, Prison Museum’ in Hilton Judin and Arianna Lissoni (eds) Falling Monuments, Hidden Ruins. Johannesburg: Wits University Press.
  • Gillespie and Simone. 2020. ‘The pandemic, southern urbanisms and collective life’. Society + Spacehttps://www.societyandspace.org/articles/the-pandemic-southern-urbanisms-and-collective-life
  • Gillespie, Kelly and Naidoo, Leigh-Ann. 2019. ‘Between the Cold War and the Fire: The Student Movement, Anti-assimilation, and the Question of the Future in South Africa’. The South Atlantic Quarterly 118(1), January, pp.226-239.
  • Gillespie, Kelly. 2017. ‘Before the Commission: Ethnography as Public Testimony’ in Fassin, Didier (ed) If Truth Be Told: The Politics of Public Ethnography. Durham: Duke University Press.
  • Gillespie, Kelly. 2015. ‘Toward a Queer Palestine’ in Jacobs, Sean and Soske, Jon (eds) Apartheid Israel: The Politics of an Analogy. Chicago: Haymarket Books.
  • Gillespie, Kelly. 2014. ‘Tausa: The making of a prison photograph and its public’ in Kurgan, Terry and Murinik, Tracy (eds) Wide Angle: Photography as Participatory Practice. Johannesburg: FourthWall Books.
  • Gillespie, Kelly. 2014. ‘Murder and the Whole City’. Anthropology Southern Africa, Vol 37 (3/4), pp.203-212.
  • Gillespie, Kelly. 2011. ‘Containing the “wandering native”: Racial Jurisdiction and the Liberal Politics of Prison Reform in 1940s South Africa’ in Journal of Southern African Studies, Vol 37 (3).
  • Gillespie, Kelly. 2010. ‘Reclaiming nonracialism: reading The Threat of Race from South Africa’ in Patterns of Prejudice, Vol 44 (1).
  • Gillespie, Kelly and Dubbeld, Bernard. 2007. ‘The possibility of a critical anthropology after apartheid: relevance, intervention, politics’. Anthropology Southern Africa. Vol 30(3&4).
 

Email: smfecane@uwc.ac.za

Sakhumzi is an Associate Professor at UWC with a background in Medical Anthropology. He received his PhD from Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WISER) in 2010. His research areas of specialisation are gender, masculinities, medical anthropology, men’s health, and social theory. Before joining UWC in 2010, he researched social and behavioural aspects of HIV and Health for the Perinatal HIV Research Unit (2001-2002); Human Sciences Research (2002-2005) and Centre for AIDS, Development and Research and Evaluation (2009-2010). His current research focuses on developing African-centred theories of masculinity.
 

Publications

  • Mfecane, S. 2020. Decolonising Men and Masculinities Research in South Africa. South African Review of Sociology. DOI: 10.1080/21528586.2020.1803763.
  • Mfecane, S. 2018. Towards Africa-centred theories of masculinity. Social Dynamics. DOI: 10.1080/02533952.2018.1481683. 
  • Mfecane. S. 2018. Unknowing men: Africanising gender justice programmes in South Africa. Centre for Sexualities, Gender and AIDS. Pretoria: University of Pretoria Press. 
  • Mfecane, S. 2016. Ndiyindoda (I am a man): Theorising Xhosa masculinity. Anthropology Southern Africa 39 (3): 204-214.
  • Mfecane, S. 2016. Narratives of sexual negotiation among men living with HIV in a South African village. International Journal of Men’s Health 15 (2): 129-142. 
 

Email: hparker@uwc.ac.za

Hameedah is a PhD Anthropology candidate and lecturer at UWC. Her research interests include practices of medicine, health, and healing. In particular, she has an interest in the relationships between diseases, technology and spaces of treatment and management for chronic medical conditions. Her PhD research focuses on Metabolic Syndrome (MetS) with an emphasis on medical knowledge systems (both clinical and ethnobotanical) in South Africa. This research project is motivated by biocultural narratives of both clinical and plant medicine practices within and beyond anthropology. 
 
Her fieldwork explores walking ethnography and the rethinking of anthropological analyses for diseases. She has also collaborated in formulating clinical guidelines for Primary Health Care (PHC) practices through the NRF at Stellenbosch University. At present, Hameedah is part of an International Development Research Centre (IDRC) project titled Promoting inclusive policies and approaches to address youth networks of gang violence in South Africa. The project provides insight to safety, policy, and youth gang violence in the areas of Manenberg, Gugulethu and Nyanga East in Cape Town. Working in Manenberg, her research involves rewriting narratives of place-making and resilience amidst gang violence through the lenses of female youth. 
 

Publications

  • Parker, H. 2020. “Women in the making of place, social networks and surviving the gang streets. Politeia, 39(1), pp.1-18.
  • Louw, Q., Grimmer, K., Dizon, J.M. et al. 2018. “Building capacity in primary care rehabilitation clinical practice guidelines: a South African initiative.” Health Res Policy Sys 16(96). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12961-018-0368-z
  • Parker, H. 2018. “‘Doing’ diabetes: the unobtrusive presence of plants.” Anthropology Southern Africa, 41(2): 153–163. 
  • Dizon, J.M., Grimmer, K.A., Machingaidze, S. et al. 2018. “South African primary health care allied health clinical practice guidelines: the big picture.” BMC Health Serv Res 18, (48. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12913-018-2837-z
  • Dizon, J.M., Grimmer, K., Louw, Q., Machingaizde S., Parker, H. & Pillen, H. 2017 “Barriers and Enablers for the development and implementation of allied health clinical practice guidelines in South African primary healthcare settings: a qualitative study.” 10.1186/s12961-017-0243-3. Health Res Policy and Sys 15(79). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12961-017-0243-3.
 

Administrative Staff

Mrs Melissa Moti
BA, BA (Hons), MA (Western Cape)
Sociology Administrative Officer