SOAS University of London

Centre of African Studies

Centre of African Studies Events

The Centre's activities are diverse and many. The majority of its members are lecturers of the University of London, contributing to the teaching of undergraduate and Masters degrees and the supervision of Doctoral research within the humanities, social sciences and sciences. One of the most important functions of the Centre is to act as a forum for regional and interdisciplinary co-operation within the University of London which is predominantly organised through membership of disciplinary departments. Other activities of the Centre include representation on international and national committees for African scholarship, research and understanding; establishing and supporting funded schemes for Visiting Scholars from Africa; linking academe, government, and business through meetings, workshops and conferences promoting Africanist research and understanding, and through meetings of the Africa Business Group; raising the profile of its members for interdisciplinary research and consultancy, and much more.

In pursuit of its aims, the Centre maintains a broad range of institutional liaisons with other Africanist centres in Africa, the United Kingdom, Europe, the Commonwealth and the United States. It publishes its own briefing newsletter, African News, with a distribution of over 800 copies, three times a year. The Centre also keeps members informed of news, events and meetings on Africa throughout the year through the e-mail group mailing system run from the Centre office.

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  • South Sudan: An Unreported Refugee Crisis
  • Alex and Lois Fergusson (Medair)
  • Alex and Lois Fergusson worked with relief charity Medair in South Sudan for three years up to November 2016. They will speak on the current situation, as well as the work of Medair and their own experiences.

  • Africa in 2017: Prospects & Forecasts
  • Patrick Smith, Razia Khan, Dr Njoki Ngumi, Professor Chuks Okereke
  • Following a year that’s delivered major surprises in Africa and globally, what does 2017 hold for the African continent? Will it be a year of crises or triumphs?

  • Mapping Tanzania
  • TBC
  • There will be presentations on various BTS(Britain Tanzania Society) mapping projects currently in progress in Tanzania

  • Words that travel: Rhythms of Literature
  • Afrikult. presents the final of the three-part series Words that Travel. Running throughout 2016, each event focuses on particular mediums and traditions of African literature with the third featuring African music.

  • Afterlives: writing World War Two in contemporary Nigerian fiction.
  • Dr Oliver Coates
  • Exploring the recent surge of interest in World War Two both inside Nigeria and in the diaspora, this paper will focus on the way in which fiction has become a vehicle for communicating the conflict to a readership remote in time and experience from the events.


  • World Radio Day London 2017: Radio and Global Transitions
  • Nicole Logan & Ros Fraser (Roundhouse Radio) David Prest (Whistledown Productions) Carlos Chirinos (NYU/SOAS) James Deane (BBC Media Action) Dr. Caroline Mitchell (University of Sunderland, Transnational Radio Encounters) Stephen Silverwood(Refugee Radio)
  • On Friday, Feb 10th 2017, SOAS Radio will be hosting World Radio Day London.



  • Leprosy in Rural Tanzania: Detection, Treatment and Overcoming the Stigma.
  • Dr Sarah Feather
  • The Rufiji Leprosy Trust was set up thirty years ago to support the village of Kindwitwi, in Rufiji District, about 80 miles South of Dar es Salaam, which was once a leprosy camp for people affected by leprosy but is now a thriving village concerned to promote the self-sufficiency of people living with leprosy and their families.

  • Energy and Agency: Fuelling Africa’s Development
  • Tomi Oladipo, Padraig Carmody, Dame Rosalind Marsden, Yacob Mulugetta, Dr Chukwumerije Okereke, Betty Makoni, Rainatou Sow, etc...
  • The 6th African Development Forum, 'Energy and Agency: Fuelling Africa’s Development' will host a series of panel discussions on resource conflicts, climate change and women’s power.



  • 2017 Legacies of Biafra Conference
  • The ‘Legacies of Biafra’ conference seeks to explore the on-going impact of the war locally and globally, considering how the first civil war in independent Africa has influenced the perception of the continent internationally as well as its impact on the political and social structures within Nigeria.

  • O.R. Tambo Centenary Public Lecture and Panel Discussion
  • Join us for the first event in the series, hosted by SOAS University of London, where speakers will remember O.R. Tambo. The theme of panel discussion will be: 'Retracing O.R. Tambo's path towards liberation and the dawn of democracy in South Africa'.

  • Peacebuilding in Guinea-Bissau: Cultural Dialogues and Breaking the Impasse
  • Toby Green, Lucy Duran, Manecas Costa, Ibrahima Galissa, Jose Lingna Nafafe, Nayanka Perdigao
  • With the on-going political crisis in Guinea-Bissau showing no sign of resolution, and no effective government for much of 2016, this one-day workshop funded by the British Academy BARSEA scheme brings together leading historians and musicians from the country to explore alternative dialogues towards peace through culture.


  • Asixoxe – Let’s Talk! SOAS Conference on African Philosophy
  • Dr. Mark Bould, Dr. Tade Thompson, Dr Alena Rettová , Michelle Clarke
  • The 2017 edition of 'Asixoxe – Let’s Talk! SOAS Conference on African Philosophy' will explore the theme of “Africa of the past, Africa of the future: The dynamics of time in Africanist scholarship and art”.





  • Book Launch: Ian Campbell - The Addis Ababa Massacre
  • Ian Campbell
  • In February 1937, Italy’s occupying forces murdered 19,000 Ethiopians. In a brilliant piece of forensic historical reconstruction, Ian Campbell rescues from obscurity this episode of Fascist mass extermination. Ian is over from Ethiopia to launch his new book, which is being published by Hurst this week. Meet the author and hear him talk about his findings.



  • Swing Time: Zadie Smith in conversation with Marloes Janson
  • Zadie Smith, Maroles Janson
  • Zadie Smith will discuss her latest book ‘Swing Time’, which was influenced by the reading of SOAS scholar Marloes Janson’s monograph ‘Islam, Youth, and Modernity in the Gambia: The Tablighi Jama`at.



  • Alexis Peskine - Power Figures
  • Alexis Peskine
  • Alexis Peskine will discuss his exhibition 'Power Figures', hosted at October Gallery. This will be his first solo exhibition in London.

  • “Les Sapeuses”: The Lady Dandies of the DRC
  • This exhibition documents the life and style of the sapeuses, the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s ‘lady dandies’ subculture, through exhibits of textile accessories and the reportage photography of Kinshasa-based photographer Junior D. Kannah.

  • Book Discussion: 'The Political Economy of Everyday Life in Africa, Beyond the Margins'
  • Wale Adebanwi (Oxford University)
  • This seminar will be dedicated to a discussion of this new collection of essays edited by Prof. Wale Adebanwi, 'The Political Economy of Everyday Life in Africa, Beyond the Margins' (James Currey/Boydell & Brewer). Wale Adebanwi and other speakers will introduce and lead a discussion about the book's contribution.


  • "Informal Housing in Dar es Salaam: A Tale of Three Cities
  • Stephanie Burcher and Tim Wickson (Bartlett Development Planning Unit, UCL)
  • This seminar will discuss the everyday realities and challenges faced by residents of different types of low-income neighborhoods in Dar es Salaam, as well as the opportunities for action already being undertaken by the residents themselves. It will close with a discussion on the role of progressive urban planning in approaching some of these issues, and supporting the growth of a more equitable city.