Home > Academic programme > Requirements for a major in African Studies [AXL02]

Requirements for a major in African Studies [AXL02]

The major offers students a coherent multi- and inter-disciplinary introduction to African Studies cover core content and theoretical contributions to the field. By drawing on the intellectual resources of Africa, the curriculum of the major affirms student agency; promote engagement, social and cultural awareness, self-reflexivity, multi- and inter-disciplinarity. We provide an enriched distinctive pedagogy that will develop in students’ high levels of criticality and creativity through the use of interactive learning, multi-media and project work.

Please note there are four courses that make the African Studies Major

Representation- AXL1201S

African Political Thought- AXL2202F

African Political Economy- AXL3200F

Language and Power- AXL3201S

NB: The major will not be awarded if any of these courses is missing.

First Year course: AXL1201S Representations of Africa 

Second Year course: AXL2202F African Political Thought 

ONE of the following: 

  • AXL2200S Culture, Identity and Globalisation in Africa 
  • AXL2100F Gender, Sexuality and Politics
  • * AXL2102S Gender and the Politics of Development*

Third Year courses:

  • AXL3200F Political Economy of Africa 
  • AXL3201S Language, Power and Freedom in Africa 

*Note: see entries under Gender Studies section. If any of these courses are taken as part of the requirements for the major in Gender Studies, the course may not also be credited as part of a major in African Studies. 
 Prerequisites: For 2000-level courses: second-year status ii. For 3000-level courses:  third-year status  

AXL1201S    REPRESENTATIONS OF AFRICA 18 NQF credits at HEQSF level 5.

2019 Convenor: Dr June Bam-Hutchison

Course entry requirements: None. 

Course outline:  This course will focus on the ways in which Africa has been imagined and represented across the ages. Drawing on key texts from the creative and performing arts, the course will explore specific depictions of Africa and Africans in each era and open up questions about the relationship between arts and society. It will examine African self-representations alongside representations that focus on Africa as a site of difference or ‘othering’. Topics include: Introduction - What is representation?; Images of Slavery; Travel writing and tourism; Visual Arts; Anti-colonialism/ nationalism in film. Assessment: Coursework: tutorial hand-ins (20%), 1st essay (20%), 2nd essay (30%); Exam (30%). 

AXL1202S    REPRESENTATIONS OF AFRICA + 10 NQF credits at HEQSF level 5 

Course entry requirements: None (extended programme students only). 

Co-requisites: AXL1201F 

Course outline:  The purpose of this course is to augment and support its co-requisite course: AXL1201F/S Representations of Africa. It aims to improve students’ performance by enhancing their grasp of key ideas and concepts, and by developing their mastery of the disciplinary discourse. It provides additional pedagogic enrichment in the form of regular Plus Tuts that extend into Writing Hub exercises and consultations. In these tutorials, students will receive explicit support around the corequisite course assignments and detailed feedback on their written work. DP requirements: 80% tutorial attendance plus successful completion of coursework assignments. Assessment: This course will be assessed on a Pass/Fail basis. In order to receive a pass grade, students will be required to complete: coursework 100% comprising of tutorial assessment, other written work and participation. 

24 NQF credits at HEQSF level 6; three lectures and one compulsory tutorial per week. 

Convener: Associate Professor H Chitonge Course entry requirements

Students must be in their second or subsequent year of study. 

Course outline:  In the context of the current level of globalisation, this course explores Africa’s position in and relations with other parts of the globalising world. The course highlights Africa’s experience of globalization, focusing on the challenges and opportunities which globalisation presents, particularly on cultures and identities in the continent. How do we think about Africa differently in a world that is increasingly perceived to be converging towards a ‘global village’? Is Africa losing its culture and identity in this ‘global village’? What would it mean to think of Africa differently? These questions are examined critically in the course to highlight the need for rethinking and re-imagining Africa. Students in the course are challenged to begin to develop a new set of strategies and approaches to critically engage with the dominant discourses on Africa. In view of the challenge to re-think and re-write Africa, the course introduces students to new frames of looking at, analysing, writing, conceptualising and imagining Africa in a globalising world. The ideas explored and debates examined in this course are expected to create awareness among students of the historical, social and political context, particularly the postcolonial African context. 

DP requirements: Attendance at lectures and tutorials is compulsory, failing which students’ papers may not be marked. Assessment: Three assignments count 10% each; one group project counts 20%; one 2-hour examination counts 50% of the final mark. 

24 NQF credits at HEQSF level 6 

Convener: Associate Professor H Chitonge 

Course entry requirements: Second-year status. Course outline:  This course explores African political systems and thought, from precolonial Africa through to postcolonial political systems. In so-doing, the course examines the forms of African political thought that emerged across three periods: the pre-colonial; the era of colonisation and political forms of resistance against it; and the postcolonial/neo-colonial period. The course ends with current critiques of postcolonial governance, which argue that, in many important ways, decolonisation of our political systems has not yet occurred. Assessment: Coursework 60%; exam 40%. 


30 NQF credits at HEQSF level 7 

Convener: Dr J Bam-Hutchison 

Course entry requirements: Third-year status. 

Course outline:  This course will focus on critical debates on the political economy of Africa, with specific reference to Sub-Saharan Africa. It will be anchored in the works of Archie Mafeje. Assessment: Coursework (100%)



30 NQF credits at HEQSF level 7 

Convener: Z Msomi 

Course entry requirements: Third-year status. 

Course outline:  This course introduces students to the field of critical linguistics which addresses the linguistic effects of political and cultural oppression, marginalization, colonialism and coloniality. It is also a field interested in articulating a new view of language that emphasizes the experience of language as intimate and lived, implied in structures of hegemony of power, as well as its potential for liberation, freedom and creativity. Assessment: Coursework 70%, exam 30%.