Centre For Gender & Africa Studies (UFS)

Contact Details

Physical Address: University of the Free State, 205 Nelson Mandela Avenue, Park West, Bloemfontein, 9301
Postal Address: IB 110, PO Box 339, Bloemfontein, 9300
Telephone: +27 (0)51 401 2614


Education & Training; Research

Organisation Profile

The Centre for Gender and Africa Studies (CGAS) at the University of the Free State (UFS) is an interdisciplinary research and postgraduate centre. Through our focus areas, we study Africa, its people, politics, culture and relations with the rest of the world by taking a long and critical view of past and present. ‘Africa Studies’ was a deliberate choice to reflect the fact that, while we engage with the many contested meanings of who is an African, we study Africa and its complex manifestation of intersectionality. Through our focus on ‘Gender Studies’, we critically engage with the societal complexities of gender dynamics.

At the CGAS, we are committed to Africa’s intellectual future. We aim to deepen the interdisciplinary and intersectional understanding of the burning issues related to Africa, its people - wherever they are in the world - its gender(ed) dynamics and identity politics. Our conceptual agenda is proudly postcolonial and critical, while our knowledge project is firmly embedded in responsive and responsible scholarship. The Centre for Gender and Africa Studies creates a space for innovative intellectual engagement and research excellence by bringing together some of the greatest African minds to help shape Africa’s new intellectuals and building vibrant international networks.

In order to help shape African’s new generation of intellectuals, we offer a number of postgraduate degrees. Our dynamic doctoral programme inhabits an interdisciplinary knowledge space where students critically engage with diverse themes such as development, history, security, indigenous knowledge systems, higher education, international relations, gender, culture, and knowledge production. We also offer distinctive master’s programmes in Africa and Gender Studies. The MPhil (Africa Studies) coursework programme has a unique structure balancing the theory of Africa Studies with specialisations in development, heritage, politics and peace. The Gender Studies programme explores the interface with law, religion, environment, sexuality, security, development and history. All our programmes emphasise the understanding of intersectional identity politics in a postcolonial world whether through the lenses of Africa Studies or Gender Studies. We offer the following postgraduate qualifications:

  • BA Honours (Africa Studies)
  • BA Honours (Gender Studies)
  • Structured MPhil (Africa Studies)
  • MPhil (Africa Studies) by dissertation
  • Structured MA (Gender Studies)
  • MA (Gender Studies) by dissertation
  • PhD (Africa Studies)

As part of academic programme, we also offer short learning programmes:

  • Conflict and Peace in Context
  • Conflict Competency
  • Conflict Sensitive Development

The CGAS currently offers three outcomes based short learning programmes which can be combined or enrolled for as separate courses. On completion of all three short learning progammes, the course articulates into the BA Honours (Africa Studies), more specifically the module: Multidisciplinary and Cross-Cultural Approaches to Peace and Conflict Resolution (ASHM 6806). This entails receiving full credit for this module if the participant should enrol for the BA Honours (Africa Studies) at a later stage. CGAS also offers a further outcomes based short learning programme which is a combination of the three courses above:

  • Conflict Competency Development

The CGAS is also home to a research programme that is innovative and productive om numerous interdisciplinary themes, including:

  • Memorializing Struggle: Dynamics of Memory, Space and Power in Post-Liberation Africa (Newton Fund/British Academy).
  • Gender Mainstreaming: Developing Competencies in Higher Education for Gender Equality, Peacebuilding and Gender-Sensitive Research (Swedish International Development Agency).
  • The Humanities and the Decolonial Challenge at three South African universities (Mellon Foundation).
  • Transnational communities in the borderlands of Lesotho and South Africa (NIHSS).
  • The oral histories of the Joe Gqabi District in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa (UFS Faculty of the Humanities)
  • Testing the waters: The application of the Rapid Integrity Appraisal (RIA) model to Mohokare informal heritage sties (UFS).
  • Identity politics and dynamics in Lesotho.
  • Gender-based violence and the Queer Archive: Violence against members of the LGBTQI+ community in South Africa.

We are also home to the Free State Indigenous Knowledge Systems Documentation Centre (IKSDC), which forms part of the National Indigenous Knowledge Management System (NIKMAS) and National Recordal System (NRS) spearheaded and funded by the National Department of Science and Innovation (DSI). The NRS initiative is undertaken by the DSI to enable communities and other knowledge custodians of indigenous knowledge to record, preserve and protect their knowledge holdings for the purpose of future economic benefit and social good.