VISUAL HISTORY. The course offers students the opportunity to become skilled in both the historical and cultural analysis of images, and their production. The focus is particularly on photography and its relationship to African history. There are two sides to the course: one theoretical and the other practical.

Theory: The ten theory classes cover a range of topics, starting with recent deconstructions of ‘the invention’ of photography in the 19th century and the dissemination of the medium around the globe. Colonial uses of photography on the continent are explored, including the relationship between anthropology and photography. The ways in which African subjects have taken up the medium range from early studio practices to radical photojournalism, documentary and art, up to the digital dissidence of the present day in social media. The course also takes up important debates about vision and violence, civil engagement, and the tensions in Africa and elsewhere between the visible and the invisible that extend into questions of spirituality and sexuality. 

Theory class starting date: 17 February 2016

Class time: Wednesday 1 – 3 pm

Venue: Seminar Room 2, Centre for Humanities Research, UWC

Enquiries: 021 959 2225; email: or

Practical photography: A series of eight practical workshops accompanies the theory class, promoting visual literacy and imparting the necessary skills for photographic competence. After many years of using analogue cameras and working digitally with negatives, this year (2016) the class will make the full transition to digital photography. Students will be taught the basics of the DSLR camera, and conduct their own assignments in portraiture, movement, still life, landscape and street life. Assignments and projects will be undertaken within a specific area of Cape Town, the historic Voortrekker Road. Students will also be introduced to Photoshop and related software. 

Practical photography workshops starting date: 24 February 2016

Class time: Wednesday 8 – 12

Venue: Seminar Room 2, Centre for Humanities Research, UWC

Enquiries: email: