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  • Academic Staff
Asonzeh Ukah – HOD & Chair of Religious Studies
021 650 3761
Sa’diyya Shaikh
021 650 3462

Abdulkader Tayob  
021 650 3399

Christianity in Africa, African Religions

Asonzeh Ukah is the current Head of department. His areas of interests are in religion and globalisation; transnational religion; media and material culture of Pentecostalism; Pentecostal advertising: faith and films; urbanism and sacred space. 



Islamic Studies, Feminist Theory

Sa'diyya Shaikh specializes in the area of Islamic Studies with a focus on gender, feminism and Islamic mysticism. Her research interests include theoretical developments in Islamic feminism, critical scholarship on gender violence and religion, and feminist readings of pre-modern Islamic texts, with a particular interest in the writings of the Sufi thinker Ibn Arabi. She has also published empirically-based research papers on South African Muslim women on issues relating to marriage, sexuality and gender relations.

Islamic Studies, Religion and Public Life

Abdulkader Tayob holds the NRF chair in Islam, African Publics and Religious Values. He is an internationally recognized scholar in the study of modern Islam in general, and Islam in Africa in particular. His research focus has been on Islamic revival, religious institutions and modern intellectual trends. He has carried out his research in South Africa, and in classical and modern textual traditions. Currently he is also focussing on East Africa and Egypt, examining biographical self-reflections of Islamists and other religious leaders. Prof. Tayob has a number of PG student scholarships available with his NRF chair.
Louis Blond – PG Convener
021 650 3455
Elisabetta Porcu – UG Convener
021 650 3993

Ala Alhourani
021 650 3452

Jewish Thought

Louis Blond focuses on meaning in contemporary philosophy and philosophy’s relationship with politics, critical theory and religious discourse, particularly Jewish Thought. Previously he has explored responses to nihilism and homelessness in the work of thinkers such Franz Rosenzweig, Emmanuel Levinas and Martin Heidegger. His current research includes a re-examination of the philosophical descriptions of otherness, devekut, and the relationship between natural law and religion and politics.

Asian Religions, Japanese Religions, Religion and Society

Elisabetta Porcu specializes in Japanese Religions in contemporary society. Her research interests include Buddhism; religion, popular culture (manga and anime), media and consumerism; orientalism; secularization; religious festivals; as well as Japanese religions in South Africa. She has conducted extensive fieldwork in Japan where she has lived and worked for seven years. In her work she combines theoretical concepts with empirical research.


Islam, Religion and Ethics

Dr Ala Alhourani holds a PhD in Anthropology from the University of the Western Cape. His research interests include: Islam in Africa; aesthetic of religion and sensory culture; the public life of religion and ordinary ethics; performances and art, research methodology and visual ethnography.






  • Administrative Staff

Tasneem Wise
Administrative Assistant
021 6505818

Jackie Stoffels
Snr Secretary
021 6503452
All departmental postgraduate administration All departmental undergraduate administration


  • Librarian

Ms Ingrid Thomson
Tel: 0216503133

Ingrid is the librarian with the Humanities Information Division at UCT's main Chancellor Oppenheimer Library. 


  • Postgraduate Faculty Staff 

Mrs Sashni Chetty
Faculty Manager

Beattie Building
Tel: 021 021650 4215







Ncumisa Mdingi-Nunu
Administrative Officer

Room 110, Beattie Building
Postgraduate Studies
Tel: 021 650 2692




Charlton Esterhuizen

Administrative Officer

Room 110, Beattie Building
Postgraduate Studies

Tel: 021 650 5411



 Mrs Debby Chuter
Deputy Faculty Manager

Beattie Building
Tel: 0216501569






Sashni is the Faculty Manager for both the Undergraduate and Postgraduate Offices.







Ncumisa and Charlton assist with all the following matters related to Honours, Masters and PhD programmes:

  • admissions queries,
  • registration, 
  • curriculum and CRS - checks and updates,
  • LOA,
  • concessions,
  • record updates,
  • examination of both Masters and PhD students,
  • changes of marks and progression codes,
  • graduation preparation including prelim FEC.

Debby is the Deputy Faculty Manager for both the Undergraduate and Postgraduate Offices.