SOAS University of London

Africa Section, School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics

Africa Section Staff

Head of the School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics

Dr Ben Murtagh

Learning & Teaching Coordinator

Professor Justin Watkins

Research Coordinator

Professor Irina Nikolaeva

Undergraduate Programme Convenor

Dr Chege Githiora (BA African Studies, BA African Language and Culture, BA Swahili plus another subject)

Undergraduate Admissions Tutor

Mohamed Said

MA African Studies Convenor

Dr Sheena Shah

MA African Studies (Literature Pathway)

Dr Sheena Shah

Postgraduate Research Tutor

Dr Kwadwo Osei Nyame

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

Academic Staff

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: +44 (0)20 7898 4653
  • Email:
  • Room: 360
  • Office Hours: Tue 11-12 & Wed 12-1. Email for an appointment
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: +44 (0)20 7898 4395
  • Email:
  • Room: 412
  • Office Hours: Mondays 11:15 - 13:15

Friederike Lüpke
Professor of Language Documentation and Description
Friederike Lüpke

Language documentation and description, contact linguistics, anthropological linguistics, syntax-semantics interface, argument structure, Ajami writing in Africa, Niger-Congo languages, Mande languages, Atlantic languages, Jalonke (Fuuta Jalon, Guinea), Bainouk (Casamance, Senegal)

  • Tel: +44 (0)20 7898 4581
  • Email:
  • Room: T404
  • Office Hours: By pre-arranged appointment
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: +44(0) 20 7898 4376
  • Email:
  • Room: 405
  • Office Hours: Mondays: 12:00-14:00; Thursdays: 12:00-13:00

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: +44(0) 20 7898 4377
  • Email:
  • Room: 402
  • Office Hours: Thursdays 15:00 - 17:00
Alena Rettová
Reader in Swahili Literature and African Philosophy
Alena Rettova

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

  • Tel: +44(0) 20 7898 4372
  • Email:
  • Room: 413
  • Office Hours: On Research Leave in 2017/18

Senior Lectors

Ida Hadjivayanis
Senior Lector in Swahili
Ida Hadjivayanis

Swahili Language

  • Tel: 44 (0)20 7898 4386
  • Email:
  • Room: 411
  • Office Hours: Thursdays: 15:00 - 16:00 hours
Olutola Osunnuga
Senior Lector in Yoruba
Olutola Osunnuga

I have engaged in teaching and conducting research in Yoruba language and literature since July 1999. My Duties consist of teaching content courses in Yoruba language and literature and consultancy in African language media (Yoruba). My research interests include African literature, folklore, stylistics, oral tradition, Yoruba popular music, Yoruba culture, translation and interpreting.

  • Tel: 44 (0)20 7898 4387
  • Email:
  • Room: 411
  • Office Hours: Tuesdays 2-3 pm

Teaching Fellows

Research Fellows

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

Emeritus Professors

Philip J Jaggar
Emeritus Professor
Phil Jaggar
Hausa language and linguistics; comparative Chadic.
  • Tel: 020 7898 4387
  • Email:
  • Room: 411
  • Office Hours: Mondays 11:00-13:00