You are here: Home



































Professor Premesh Lalu is Director of the Centre for Humanities Research (on sabbatical September 2011-May 2012). His book, The deaths of Hintsa: Postapartheid South Africa and shape of the recurring pasts, is published by the HSRC press. He completed his PhD in 2003 as a MacArthur Fellow at the University of Minnesota and has published in History and Theory, the South African Historical Journal, Current Writing, Africa Today, the Journal of Higher Education in Africa, Kronos:Southern African Histories and Innovation.

Since 1995, Premesh has taught in the History Department at UWC, to which he is currently affiliated as an Adjunct Professor. He has also taught at Khanya College and the Worker's College in Cape Town.

Premesh's major research interests are in postcolonial studies, subaltern studies, and critical theory. More recently, his research has focused on the question of aesthetics and politics. In 2007, Premesh was selected for the prestigious fellowship in the Institutions of Public Scholarship Programme at Emory University in the USA. UWC awarded Lalu the Vice- Chancellor's Award for teaching excellence, the Vice-Chancellor's Young Researcher Award and three Faculty of Arts Research Incentives Award. The Deaths of Hintsa was nominated for the Alan Paton Longlist in 2010.


Associate Professor Suren Pillay is a Senior Researcher and Acting Director at the Center for Humanities Research.

He holds a Phd (with Distinction) in Anthropology from Columbia University, and an MA (cum laude)  in Development Studies from the University of the Western Cape.

Between 2007 -2010  Suren was seconded to the Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa where he led research on the effects of violence and crime on citizenship in post-apartheid South Africa, and conducted research on migration and xenophobia.  Prior to that he was a Senior Lecturer in Political Studies at the University of the Western Cape.

His current research focuses on the constitution and reconstitution of the ‘Political’ and  Justice in Africa; and the politics of knowledge production in postcolonial societies.

His most recent publications include the co-edited volume with Chandra Sriram ,  Peace vs Justice? The Dilemma of Transitional Justice in Africa (James Currey/UKZN: 2010), which was recognized by the American publishing association with an award for “Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 2010”. His most  recent journal article “Crime Community and the Governance of Violence in post-Apartheid South Africa”, Politikon, 2009, was highlighted by the African Studies Association (USA) as one of the  ‘ten most downloaded articles in African Studies’ in 2009-2010. He is currently working on a book manuscript provisionally titled  The Partisan’s Violence.

Suren is also an editor of Social Dynamics, and a frequent contributor to the press.



Dr Heidi Grunebaum is a Senior Researcher at the CHR. She is author of Memorializing the Past: Everyday Life in South Africa After the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (New Jersey: Transaction, 2011). She has published and lectured widely, nationally and internationally, on mediations of testimonial discourse, the South African TRC, the politics of memorialization, embodiment and narrative, and the afterlives of state violence. 

Her research is concerned broadly with critical theories of temporality, place, memory, the afterlives of war and psycho-geographical displacement in a number of localities, including South Africa. Her current research takes the thematic intersections of home, historical myth and state violence to examine spatial and social narratives as well as creative forms generated in response.   

From 1999 to 2006 she worked in a counter-memory project at Direct Action Centre for Peace and Memory (DACPM), an organization founded and run by former combatants of the liberation movement. Between 2007 and 2009, she held an Andrew W. Mellon postdoctoral fellowship at in the PSHA at the CHR. She is presently a board member of the DACPM, on the international advisory Board of. Antipoda: Journal of Anthropology and Archaeology and a co-founding member, with Alejandro Castillejo Cuellar (University of the Andes, Colombia) of the Africa/Latin America Intellectual Exchange Initiative.

To order Dr Grunebaum's book,  Memorializing the Past, click on the below link.



Professor Brian Raftopoulos is a Senior Research Mentor at CHR, a leading Zimbabwean scholar and activist. Formally an Associate Professor of Development Studies at the University of Zimbabwe, he moved to Cape Town at the end of March 2006 and is currently the Director of Research and Advocacy in the Solidarity Peace Trust, an NGO dealing with human rights issues in Zimbabwe. He has published widely on Zimbabwean history, labour history, historiography, politics, and economic issues.  At present, Prof. Raftopoulos is also Mellon Senior Research Mentor at the Centre for Humanities Research at the University of the Western Cape and he serves on the Advisory Board of the Journal of Southern African Studies. In addition, he has been a leading civic activist in Zimbabwe throughout the last decade. He was a member of the founding Task Force of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) 1998-2000, the editor of the NCA journal Agenda from 1999-2001, as well as the first Chair of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition from 2001-2003. 




Lameez Lalkhen is the fulltime administrator for the Centre for Humanities Research. She has completed her B.Admin degree at University of the Western Cape in 2006. She majored in public administration and industrial psychology as her work involved mainly assisting people. In 2007 she was selected to attend the “World Social Forum” in Kenya. Lameez also attended the "Women in Black Conference" in Valencia, Spain in 2008, and is currently the coordinator of the “Women in Black-South Africa”.

Contact Details Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Phone: (021) 959 3162 
Fax: (021) 959 1282

JANINE_BRANDT Janine Brandt is a fulltime administrative assistant for History department and Centre for Humanities Research. She administers the South African Contemporary History and Humanities Seminar for the CHR. She holds a BA degree with majors in psychology and sociology.

Contact Details Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Phone: (021) 959 3600 
Fax: (021) 959 1282

Student Assistants

Ayanda Khonzi is doing his honours in  History.  He manages the CHR website and is an administrator for the VTP. His interests include reading, writing, the road to success and Black Consciousness.


Nehoa Hilma Kapuka is in her first year Masters in History and specialises in Museum and Heritage. She is a student assistant at the CHR. Her interests include history related research, music and sports.


Advisory Board Members

Profs Duncan Brown, Ciraj Rassool, Leslie Witz, Patricia Hayes, Tamara Shefer,Suren Pillay, Drs Lionel Thaver, Ms Cheryl-Ann Michael,