Director & Associate Professor
Shamil Jeppie is an associate professor in the Department of Historical Studies at the University of Cape Town. He was educated at the universities of the Western Cape, Cape Town and Princeton. A recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship, he also held a Chevening Scholarship while at Oxford University and has been a fellow of the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research.He is author of Language, Identity, Modernity (2007) and also has numerous publications to his name, and is editor of the journal History in Africa, The Struggle for District Six (1990), Towards New Histories for South Africa (2004) and The Meanings of Timbuktu (2008).
Professor of Sociology
Deborah Posel is a professor of sociology at the University of Cape Town, an appointment that coincided with her taking up the position as HUMA’s founding director in January 2010. Prior to that she spent many years at the University of Witwatersrand as a professor of sociology and director of the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WISER), which she founded in 2000. She has been educated at the University of Witwatersrand and Nuffield College, Oxford, where she obtained her DPhil and was awarded the Gwilym Gibbon Prize Research Fellowship. She has been a visiting scholar at Harvard University, and a visiting professor at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in Paris. She is a member of the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) and a fellow at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS). She has written and published widely on aspects of South African politics and society during and beyond the apartheid years – including The Making of Apartheid (1991); Apartheid’s Genesis (1994) with Phil Bonner and Peter Delius; and Commissioning the Past: Understanding South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (2002) with Graeme Simpson.
Zethu Matebeni is the convenor of the Queer in Africa series. In 2011 Zethu received a PhD at WISER, Wits University and has been furthering research interests and publishing on queer issues, sexuality, gender, race, HIV and AIDS, African film, cinema and photography. Zethu has been a Visiting Assistant Researcher at Yale University and has received numerous research fellowships. Zethu is an activist and a documentary film-maker and has curated exhibitions, including Jo’burg TRACKS: Sexuality in the City, and a book project Reclaiming Afrikan: queer perspectives on sexual and gender identities. Zethu’s first co-production Breaking Out of the Box: Stories of black lesbians, (40mins, 2011) has screened locally and internationally and has written the short film Rise.
Ilana van Wyk
Ilana van Wyk is an anthropologist. She studied at the University of Pretoria, at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London and at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). She completed her PhD at SOAS in 2007 and was a teaching- and postdoctoral fellow at the LSE. Ilana joined HUMA in 2011 after a short stint as a National Research Foundation postdoctoral fellow at the University of Cape Town. She has won various awards and research grants, among them the Royal Anthropological Institution’s Satusoma award, a Vice-Chancellor’s award from UCT, a Wennergren research grant and a grant from the British Economic and Social Research council. Her current research focuses on precolonial currency exchange and financial instruments at the Cape of Good Hope. She has also worked on a 14 month project on the social economics of spectacular matric balls on the Cape Flats. Her previous research looked at the intersections between religion and money; she worked on new forms of Christianity, in particular prosperity gospel and Pentecostal Charismatic Churches, and on the South African Lottery. The former interest culminated in the publication of a monograph called The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God in South Africa: A church of strangers (Cambridge Press 2014) while she’s currently in the process of writing a book on the Lottery.
Rifqah Kahn joined the team in February 2012 as administrative assistant and brings much academic and professional experience to the project. She completed her Bachelors in Social Science at UCT majoring in Psychology, Sociology and Public Administration. She graduated from the University of Stellenbosch with a Masters in Social Anthropology with a focus on organisations and public cultures. Her experience spans the education, development and media sectors.