The Centenary Book to be published

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Historical events that transpired in the first 100 years of the University of Fort Hare (UFH) will be reflected in a book set to be published next year.  This exciting milestone was revealed by Professor Luvuyo Wotshela, Director and Head of the National Heritage and Cultural Studies centre (NAHECS).

The Centenary book is funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) through a project known as the Centenary History Project which is being rolled out in collaboration with the Office of the Vice-Chancellor.

The book captures broadly, the social and intellectual history of the university.

“It deals with the major ethos of the evolution of the institution and pays respect to key individuals who have been instrumental in shaping the university,” said Prof Wotshela.

The book will be an addition to the pictorial coffee table book which was published in 2017.

Prof Wotshela joined the university in 2002 and has been teaching history as well as land struggles and environmental sciences. In 2009, he was tasked with the momentous responsibility of writing biographical studies of some of the distinguished alumni of the university, including a book on the country’s first black Chartered Accountant, Professor Wiseman Nkuhlu. Whilst in the process of completing Prof Nkuhlu’s biographical study in 2012, he was appointed as Director of NAHECS.

He has been at the helm of recording the rich history of the university in a number of publications.  He was fully roped-in on the preparations of the university’s centenary celebrations in 2016 where he played a major role including authoring the centenary books.

Currently, Prof Wotshela drives the preservation and digitisation of the university’s records, a project that is also funded by the DST. Through this project he has been able to employ six archivists.

“The project is in progress already and I am working with the office of the Registrar, as the custodians of the university records as well as with university Libraries.”

The first cycle of digitised records is expected to be completed in 2021.

Prof Wotshela holds a DPhil in Modern History from the Oxford University (2001). He has authored and co –authored important books, written several chapters in books as well as articles and journals. His general interest is in the 20th to early 21st century South Africa.  His specific interest is in resettlement and displacements, changing human settlements, land and authority for the same period, more so for the Eastern Cape.

On the leadership front, Prof Wotshela has been a member of the African Studies Association United Kingdom (ASA-UK) since 1998. He is a founding member of South African Democracy Education Trust (SADET) history project. Between June 2017 and June 2019 he served as Vice-President of the Southern African Historical Society (SAHS).  His appointment as President in July 2019, means the UFH will become the first historically disadvantaged university to host the SAHS conference in 2021.  This is a huge achievement for the University of Fort Hare.

Prof Wotshela’s illustrious career gives us the confidence that the university’s history is in capable hands.