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

Portgraduate Programme Convenor

Dr Dana Healy (MA African Studies, MA African Studies Literature Pathway, MA Intensive Swahili plus another subject)

Postgraduate Research Tutor

Professor Rachel Dwyer (Term 1), Professor Michael Hutt (Term 1), Professor Francesca Orsini (Terms 2-3)

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

Academic Advisors

Dr Kwadwo Osei-Nyame (Year 1), Dr Chege Githiora (Years 2-4)

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: lm5@soas.ac.uk
  • Room: 426
  • Academic Support Hours: Thursday 1-2pm, Friday 1.30-2.30pm
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: cg17@soas.ac.uk
  • Room: 412
  • Academic Support Hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays 2-3pm

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: fl2@soas.ac.uk
  • Room: T404
  • Academic Support Hours: TERM 1 (mostly on Research Leave): Tuesday 1-2pm
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: mo1@soas.ac.uk
  • Room: 405
  • Academic Support 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: ko9@soas.ac.uk
  • Room: 402
  • Academic Support 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: ar42@soas.ac.uk
  • Room: 413
  • Academic Support Hours: Tuesdays 2.30-4pm or by appointment

Senior Lectors

Ida Hadjivayanis
Senior Lector in Swahili
Ida Hadjivayanis

Swahili Language

  • Tel: 44 (0)20 7898 4386
  • Email: ih11@soas.ac.uk
  • Room: 411
  • Academic Support Hours: Tuesday 11-12pm and by appointment
Tola Osunnuga
Senior Lector in Yoruba
Olutola Osunnuga

Stylistics. Yoruba Language and Literature. African Language Media. Stylistics. Translation and Literacy in Yoruba. Yoruba Popular Music. Yoruba Culture and Society.

  • Tel: 44 (0)20 7898 4387
  • Email: to16@soas.ac.uk
  • Room: 411
  • Academic Support Hours: Thursdays 2 - 3 pm

Teaching Fellows


Philip J Jaggar
Emeritus Professor and Senior Teaching Fellow
Phil Jaggar
Hausa language and linguistics; comparative Chadic.
  • Tel: 020 7898 4387
  • Email: pj@soas.ac.uk
  • Room: 411
  • Academic Support Hours: Mondays 12:00 - 1:00



Research Fellows

Sara Marzagora
Sara Marzagora

Global intellectual history, cultural and intellectual history of the Horn of Africa, Ethiopian history and political thought


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