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Undergraduate Courses

Africa: Culture, Identity and Globalisation (AXL1200S)

AXL1200S is a service course designed specifically for non-Humanities students preparing themselves for professional practice. Broad-based and introductory, it is intended to satisfy the Complimentary Studies requirements of professional institutes (like the Engineering Council of South Africa). It does this by focusing on contexts and ideas which will be of direct benefit in professional practices, as well as on more abstract ideas which will be generally enriching.

In the time available, this course sets out to introduce and develop more complex understandings of culture, identity and the challenges of globalisation which societies in contemporary Africa are facing today. We envisage the ideas explored and debates encouraged as contributing towards a more thoughtful professional practice and critical awareness of the social and historical context, particularly in the post-apartheid South Africa, a society which is defined, in part, by that particular conjunction. That is, the need to negotiate the thorny legacies and complex material realities of colonialism and apartheid whilst dealing with the intensified effects of globalization.

From Cape Town to Algiers and Puntland, we will take a case-study approach, examining a range of different contemporary issues, historical moments and diverse localities across the continent. This will enable us to examine dominant concepts and vocabularies that operate in relation to complex processes of globalisation but which impact everyday life in distinctly different ways. This approach will also enable us to introduce and explore a range of concepts, ideas and critical terms in Humanities-type study - “tools to think with” that cut to the heart of contemporary contexts.

Course Convenor:

Zuziwe Msomi

Course Lecturers:

Associate Professor Chitonge, Ms Zuziwe Msomi

Course Administrator:

Mrs Vuyelwa Mnqanqeni
021-650 4034

Lecture times:

Friday, 5th period (12:00-13:00)

Lunch hour may be used from time to time for screening of films or guest lectures

For assistance regarding this course, please contact the course administrator or the course convenor.

Lecture venue:

Leslie Social Science 2D


Available on Vula (see lecture programme below).

Required reading:

  • Globalisation and the African Experience (2012). Mbah, Emmanual & Salm, Steven (editors). Durham: Carolina Academic Press.
  • The Global Transformation Reader (any edition) by David Held & Anthony McGrew (editors)

Assessment Requirements:

Three short assignments – 10% each

A group research project – 20%
A final exam – 50%

Please submit a hard copy of the assignment to the department in the appropriate tutor box, and a soft copy online on VULA.

Assignment due dates:

Assignment 1:  17 August 2018
Assignment 2: 31 August 2018

Assignment 3: 21 September 2018

Group Project:  5 October 2018

A cover page and plagiarism form needs to be filled out and attached to the front of your assignment (downloadable from the VULA site under ‘Resources’).

Details about the research project have been uploaded on VULA.

Please note: It is the policy of Centre for African Studies not to grant extensions on due dates other than in the case of medical emergencies or on compassionate grounds. A doctor’s note is required in the case of medical emergencies. Late work will be penalised by deducting 10% for each day over- due.

Be sure to consult the examination timetable for the date and the venue of the final examination. You must be prepared to make yourself available for re-examination, which affects all borderline candidates. This normally takes place the week following the examination period.


There are ten tutorials for the course as a whole. Attendance at all lectures and tutorials is compulsory. Weekly readings must be done in advance of lectures and tutorials. The tutorial programme runs parallel with the lecture programme and they reinforce one another. You are expected to prepare notes which comprise your thoughts on the weekly readings, comments and questions before the tutorial. These will form the basis of the discussion during tutorials each week. Attendance at all lectures and tutorials is compulsory. All tutorial assignments are available on Vula.

Download full details and the lecture programme