Advisory Board

Advisory Board

Janis Grobbelaar is Professor Emerita and former head of the Department of Sociology at the University of Pretoria in South Africa. She holds degrees from the University’s of Cape Town, of Stellenbosch and of South Africa. She has worked and published in the field of South African Studies in the areas of local government, the South African transition to democracy, on the politics of race and ethnicity, the nature of white rightwing Afrikanerdom, HIV/AIDS and on post 1994 reconciliation, social justice and human rights. She has taught at the Universities of the Western Cape and of South Africa. During 1994 she was seconded to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) as Deputy Provincial Electoral Officer of the Pretoria sub-province in the first ever SA democratic election. From 1996 to 1998 she spent two years on sabbatical and a secondment from her university working for the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (SATRC) as information manager in the Johannesburg office of the commission..

Lesley Hart has now retired as the Head of Special Collections at the University of Cape Town. She has a particular interest in widening use, including through digitisation of manuscript sources. For more information on UCT’s manuscript collections, please see

Margaretta Jolly is Reader in Cultural Studies at the University of Sussex. Her research centres on the form and practice of life writing, in particular letter writing, oral history and life narrative, particularly in relation to the history of women’s movements in the UK. She is editor of Dear Laughing Motorbyke: Letters from Women Welders of the Second World War (Scarlet Press, 1997), The Encyclopedia of Life Writing (Routledge, 2001) and co-editor of a special issue of Women’s Studies International Forum, ‘Researching Women’s Movements’, with Sasha Roseneil. She is also author of In Love and Struggle: Letters in Contemporary Feminism (Columbia University Press, 2008), winner of the Feminist and Women’s Studies Association book prize. Life Stories and Human Rights, (University of Wisconsin Press) is forthcoming. Margaretta Jolly is also Director of Sisterhood and After: The Women’s Liberation Oral History Project, which will be available as a major new public archive at The British Library. She is also a core member of the International Association for Auto/Biography. Link to Staff profile:

Howard Phillips is Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Cape Town. He has two particular research interests: on the social history of epidemics, the history of medical education and of hospitals; and on the history of universities. Both fields feature prominently in what he has published. For more information, see

Jeff Peires is an Eastern Cape historian whose interests, in terms of whites writing, revolve around late 19th Century Cape liberalism, more especially the contrasts between (a) Conservative, exemplified by the correspondence of Richard Southey, initially a settler ‘good old boy,’ whose position as Colonial Secretary nevertheless impels him into an increasingly liberal stance (b) Imperial, exemplified by the King Williams Town ‘friends of the natives’ such as the Brownlee and Rose-Innes families, politically sympathetic but culturally arrogant (c) Humanitarian, exemplified by the Orpen, Schreiner and Rolland family connections of the remote Aliwal/Barkly area.  All these tendencies come together in the pathetic correspondence of Hamilton Hope, the Magistrate of Qumbu killed in the Mpondomise rebellion of 1880.

Rachel Thomson is Professor of Childhood and Youth Studies at the University of Sussex where she directs the Centre for Innovation and Research in Childhood and Youth. She is a sociologist by discipline and has a longstanding interest in the methodological challenge of researching social and biographical continuities/change (see McLeod and Thomson Researching Social Change: qualitative approaches, Sage 2009).  Recent research projects include a 15 year qualitative longitudinal study of a generation of young people (Henderson et al. Inventing Adulthoods: a biographical approach to youth transition’s, Sage 2007) and a cross generational study of new motherhood (Thomson et al. Making modern mothers, Policy Press 2011). She is currently directing an NCRM Methodological Innovation Network called New Frontiers in QLR: Definition, design and display.

Lisba Vosloo is a Cape Town based filmmaker, educated at Stellenbosch University and Wits (University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg), with more than 25 years experience in the South African film and television industry. She has worked on many award-winning programmes as full-time freelance researcher and editor, and for the past decade as an independent documentary producer and director. Some of the highlights of her filmography are: District 6, there once was a place…; Revisiting Cape New Year (on Cape Town history and culture), and Scorched Earth, a feature documentary and series to commemorate the South African War. Features on poets, politicians and philosophers include: Beyers Naudé, Pilgrimage of an Afrikaner prophet;  Desmond Tutu, Man with no fear and N.P. van Wyk Louw, the man behind the writing. Lisba’s interest in South African identities, time and place ensures that she is constantly grappling with the challenges of the historical documentary genre, regarding issues of appropriation of culture, language and history.  She has recently completed an Afrikaans-medium documentary on Olive Schreiner and is presently working on an extended English-language documentary on Schreiner, for which use was made of the Olive Schreiner Letters Online.

Professor Andries Wessels is Professor and Head of the Department of English at the University of Pretoria. He was educated at the Universities of the Orange Free State, South Africa and Oxford. His literary research has focused to some extent on issues of personal and cultural identity mainly with reference to South Africa, Ireland and Quebec. More recent articles in this field deal with the public and the private in Michiel Heyns’s work (in English in Africa, 2012) and the Jewish-Afrikaans poetry of Olga Kirsch (in Prooftexts, 2009), while earlier articles include for example a consideration of the ambiguous personal and political identity of Sir Percy FitzPatrick in English in Africa (2004) and on the experience and expression of nationalism in poetry among colonists in Ireland, South Africa and Quebec in The Canadian Journal of Irish Studies (1999). He has also published chapters on, for example, negotiating the past in Molly Keane’s Big House Irish novels in Molly Keane: Centenary Essays, edited by Walsh and Young (Four courts Press 2006) and on intercultural relations and subordination in Pauline Smith’s The Beadle in Terranglian Territories, edited by Hagemann (Peter Lang, 2000). Prof Wessels also has a personal interest in family history and genealogy and has contributed to private publications on the South African Wessels and Lambrechts families.

NB. Funding for the WWW project ended in 2018, and at that point the advisory board retired although members continue to have a reset association with the research.

Last updated: 13 May 2021