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Department of the Languages and Cultures of Africa

Africa Department Staff

Head of Department

Professor Irina Nikolaeva

Associate Head of Department

Dr Martin Orwin

Undergraduate Programme Convenor

Dr Alena Rettova (BA African Studies, BA African Language and Culture, BA Hausa plus another subject, BA Swahili plus another subject)

Undergraduate Admissions Tutor

Dr Akin Oyètádé

MA African Studies Convenor

Professor Lutz Marten

MA African Literature Convenor

Dr Kwadwo Osei Nyame

Postgraduate Research Tutor

Dr Martin Orwin

Please note that for Masters Students the Personal Tutor and Year Tutor is the MA Programme Convenor

Academic Staff

Graham Furniss, OBE
Professor of African Language Literature
Graham Furniss
Lutz Marten
Professor of General and African Linguistics
Lutz Marten

Bantu languages and linguistics; syntax; semantics; pragmatics; historical linguistics; language and society in Eastern and Southern Africa

  • Tel: 020 7898 4653
  • Email: lm5@soas.ac.uk
  • Room: 473
  • Office Hours: Thursdays 3-5pm

Lindiwe Dovey
Senior Lecturer in African Film and Performance Arts
Lindiwe Dovey

African film and video (particularly their intersection); filmic mediations of African performance arts (music, dance, theatre); literary adaptation in Africa; contemporary film theory and 'World Cinema'; exile/immigration and violence in relation to African screen media; structures of film production, distribution, and exhibition in Africa; use of African languages in film

  • Tel: 020 7898 4388
  • Email: ld18@soas.ac.uk
  • Room: 404
  • On Sabbatical:2013-2014
Kai Easton
Senior Lecturer in English
Kai Easton

Colonial and postcolonial studies, especially South African literature (the Cape, Wicomb, Coetzee); gender and the culture of travel; Indian Ocean diasporas; theories of fiction and history.

  • Tel: 020 7898 4373
  • Email: ke@soas.ac.uk
  • Room: 409
  • On Sabbatical:Term 1 2013

Chege Githiora
Senior Lecturer in Swahili
Chege Githiora Swahili and Gĩkũyũ Language and Linguistics. Translation and Literacy in African Languages. Culture and Society of East Africa, Latin America and the African Diaspora.
  • Tel: 020 7898 4395
  • Email: cg17@soas.ac.uk
  • Room: 412
  • On Sabbatical:2013-2014
Martin Orwin
Senior Lecturer in Somali and Amharic
Martin Orwin Somali language and literature; metrics and use of language in poetry; the relationship between language and music; Amharic.
  • Tel: 020 7898 4376
  • Email: mo1@soas.ac.uk
  • Room: 405
  • Office Hours: Mondays 11am-1pm/Thursdays 12-2pm

Kwadwo Osei-Nyame, Jnr
Lecturer in African Literature
Kwadwo Osei-Nyame, Jnr Post-colonial writing with special reference to anglophone and francophone African writing and African American writing; comparative national literatures; African literature and nationalism; gender in literature; literature and society in Southern Africa; African cultural studies with reference to the Akan of Ghana and the Igbo of Nigeria; literature and human rights in Africa.
  • Tel: 020 7898 4377
  • Email: ko9@soas.ac.uk
  • Room: 402
  • On Sabbatical:Term 1 2012
Akin Oyètádé
Senior Lecturer in Yoruba
Akin Oyètádé Yorùbá language and literature; Yorùbá culture and linguistics with special reference to phonology; Yorùbá in the diaspora.
  • Tel: 020 7898 4378
  • Email: ao2@soas.ac.uk
  • Room: 407
  • Office Hours: Tuesdays 12:00-13:00/Thursdays 13:00-14:00

Alena Rettová
Senior Lecturer in Swahili Literature and Culture
Alena Rettova

Swahili literature; African philosophy; Afrophone philosophical discourses; literatures in African languages

  • Tel: 020 7898 4372
  • Email: ar42@soas.ac.uk
  • Room: 413
  • Office Hours: Tuesdays 12-2pm
William Burgess
Senior Lector in Hausa
William Burgess

Yussuf Hamad
Senior Lector in Swahili
Yussuf Hamad

Teaching Fellows

Emma Dabiri
Teaching Fellow
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Culture in Africa

Mark Faulkner
Senior Teaching Fellow
Mark Faulkner

Religions of Africa


Ida Hadjivayanis
Teaching Fellow
Ida Hadjivayanis

Swahili Language

Seraphin Kamdem
Teaching Fellow
Seraphin Kamden (Language in Africa)

Yoseph Mengistu
Teaching Fellow
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Amharic Language

Carola Mostert
Teaching Fellow
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Zulu Language


Solomon Olayinka Oke
Teaching Fellow
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Yorùbá Language

Abdulkadir Warsame
Teaching Fellow
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Research Assistants

Dmitry Bondarev
Research Assistant
Dmitry Bondarev

African linguistics (structure of Saharan languages with a focus on Kanuri/Kanembu) and history of writing in Arabic based scripts (Ajami) in Africa


Research Associates

Carli Coetzee
Research Associate
Senior Teaching Fellow
Editor of the Journal of African Cultural Studies
Carli Coetzee
Liz Gunner
Professorial Research Associate
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Ranka Primorac
Research Associate
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Nikolaj Serikoff
Research Associate
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Visiting Professors

Jeff Opland
Visiting Professor of African Language Literatures
Jeff Opland

Folklore and oral literature; African praise poetry; the history of Xhosa literature


Emeritus Professors

Louis Brenner
Emeritus Professor
Louis Brenner

History of Islam in Africa; History of Religion; African thought

Philip J Jaggar
Emeritus Professor
Phil Jaggar Hausa language and linguistics; comparative Chadic.
  • Tel: 020 7898 4387
  • Email: pj@soas.ac.uk
  • Room: 421
  • Office Hours: Mondays 1-2pm/Tuesdays 1-2pm