Centre for African Literary Studies

University of KwaZulu-Natal
Private Bag X01
Scottsville, 3209
South Africa


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  • Prof. Mbongeni Malaba, Prof. Ruth Hoskins, Ms Colleen Vietzen and Prof. Bernth Lindfors with the picture of Chinua Achebe – donated by the National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution
  • Mr James Currey
  • Prof. Mbongeni Malaba and Prof. Bernth Lindfors
  • Chibundu Onuzo and Prof. Ruth Hoskins
  • Dr Michael Wessels with the French International Delegation
  • Prof. Ruth Hoskins with the 17th Time of the Writer delegates and the books they donated to the Centre for African literary Studies. From left: Zukiswa Wanner (South Africa), Praba Moodley (South Africa) and Satyajit Sarna (India)
  • Visit by the 17th Time of the Writer
  • Professor Bernard De Meyer

Bibliographer Hans Zell describes it as a rare and quite unique collection, unparalleled in the world. 15 000 books, journals and rare tape and video material

The CALS Library is available to staff and students of the University, international researchers and visitors, postgraduate and undergraduate students from other South African tertiary institutions, scholars and members of the general public.

Situated on the Pietermaritzburg Campus of the University of KwaZulu -Natal


Nazim Gani

Nazim Gani joins CALS

Nazim Gani is the Head and Senior Librarian at the Alan Paton Centre since 1 April 2014. He was seconded to the Centre from 1 May 2012. Gani has been appointed to oversee the Centre for African Literary Studies in September 2016. He started his career at the Cecil Renaud Library PMB campus, and has worked there for 23 years. He completed a Bachelor of Social Science degree (BSocSci) with majors in History and Economics. He went on to complete a Post Graduate Diploma in Information Studies (PGDIS) and has recently completed a Bachelor of Library and Information Science Honors degree (B.LIS Honors).  Gani will be responsible for the administration and overseeing the CALS collections. 

Tribute to Lauretta Ngcobo

The Centre for African Literary Studies joins other South Africans and especially the writers, activists and women of this country to pay tribute to Lauretta Ngcobo who died on 3 November 2015. She was an author of note, expressing through her novels and essays the plight of rural women in South Africa of the 1950-1980s and beyond and powerfully representing their struggle for recognition and humanity in their rural context especially during the apartheid regime.

Ngcobo was born in 1931 and grew up in the rural community of Ixopo, which she describes very poignantly in her last novel,  And they didn’t die. She obtained a BA degree at Fort Hare. She married Abdnego Bhekabantu Ngcobo, treasurer-general of the PAC, thereby allying herself with the struggle for freedom and equality in South Africa.  She was a key speaker in the 1956 women’s anti-pass march. Ngcobo and her family lived in exile for over 30 years, in Swaziland, Zambia and England, returning to South Africa after the changes of 1994. She taught both in the UK and back in South Africa. She served on the KwaZulu-Natal legislature until 2008.

The main thrust of her writing was her struggle for gender equality and she depicted the struggles of rural women with tremendous power. Although she was already writing in the 1950’s her work was only published in the 1980’s. Her passion for the rights of women and especially the emancipation of rural women ensure that she portrayed what a deep impression her childhood years made on her, how deprived they were by the 1913 and later Land Acts, how desperately damaged the mothers of our society were by patriarchy and apartheid and how valiantly the women struggled to support their children and maintain their homes in the absence of the men to the cities.

Her best known works  are Cross of gold (1981), Let it be told: black women writers in Britain (1987), And they didn’t die (1990) and Fikile learns to like people and Fikili Learns to like people. She also wrote children’s books which she found particularly challenging. In 2006 she was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Literary Award and 2008 she received a Presidential award: The National Order of Ikhamanga which recognises excellence in literature, music, journalism and sport.

The Centre for African Literary Studies at UKZN in Pietermaritzburg has copies of several titles by Ngcobo which are on display in the foyer at this time. This author, teacher, politician, feminist and great human being has made a valuable contribution to the literature of South Africa. Especially, she has raised awareness of the hardships of rural women and their plea for liberation.

In celebration of the life of Mbulelo Vizikhungo Mzamane (1948-2014)

The Centre for African Literary Studies would like to pay special tribute to a fallen hero and mentor who has had a personal and professional impact in our lives.

Details February 2014

In celebration of the life of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela 1918-2013

  • “I will love to pay visible tribute to Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela; a true symbol of peace and unity, even after death, may his good deeds follow him. May your dearest soul rest in peace. You will always be in our thoughts. Amandla awethu! Long live the spirit of Tata, long live.” -Wiseman
  • “Great people who suffer deeply learn how to rise above pettiness and hold diversity in constructive balance. This was at the heart of Madiba’s extraordinary inclusiveness, compassion and forgiveness and led to his ability to be uniquely creative.” -Colleen
  • “I found inspiration in the words about Madiba of Nobel Peace laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu ... thank you for what he has enabled us to know we can become…” -Christine
  • “People of South Africa, we have in our hands the choice of how we live our lives, we are also very privileged to live in a very beautiful country - let us honour Madiba’s shining light by following his fine example.” -Darlene

Speech made by Athol Leach at the farewell function  for Prof.Christine Stilwell held on the 5th Dec 2013, at CALS

I'd like to start off by making three observations. When first looking at the guest I noticed 3 categories of people - colleagues, friends and ex-students of Chris’. Of course I must hasten to add that these categories are by no means mutually exclusive and in fact there is a fourth category into which I have the arguably dubious distinction of falling and this is not only being an ex student of Chris' but a current one as well. I do have this uneasy feeling that Chris’ decision to finally retire from UKZN is somehow linked to my continued presence as a student...

Details | December 2013

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