Welcome to the School of Religion, Philosophy & Classics

School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics

As a result of the College reorganisation undertaken by UKZN, a new college model was formed. This gave birth to the new School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics in the College of Humanities.

The School is under the leadership of the Acting Dean/Head of School: Professor Nobuhle Hlongwa and boasts over 65 members of staff who are committed to excellence in terms of teaching, research and community engagement. This reconfiguration presents us with a unique opportunity to develop new academic programmes which will foster a multidisciplinary approach to teaching. The School operates on both the Howard College and Pietermaritzburg campuses.

The School is supported by a vibrant and efficient Professional Services team managed by Mr Calvin Thomas. The Professional Services team aims to provide an efficient and effective service to all clients.

Centres within the School of Religion, Philosophy & Classics


Professor Nobuhle Hlongwa

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics website.
The School of Religion, Philosophy & Classics comprises three main disciplinary complexes. They are located at two sites, viz. Religion, Philosophy and Classics (Howard College, Durban) and Theology, Religion, Philosophy and Ethics (Pietermaritzburg). Our vision is to be a centre of excellence in African scholarship in the five main areas of Religion, Theology, Philosophy, Ethics and Classics. Our mission statement is to critically and constructively advance excellence in African-led scholarship through research, teaching and learning, and community engagement in a global context.

We are a proud cross-campus school with nearly 6 000 students enrolled in our courses annually and nearly 300 postgraduate students enrolling for our qualifications. We have thirty five permanent academic and seven administrative staff members across our programmes. About 50% of the academic staff are NRF-rated researchers. All excel in research, teaching and learning and community engagement. We are one of the foremost research-led schools at the University of KwaZulu-Natal with a proud complement of emeritus and retired academics as well as alumni.

Students who enrol for our programmes and modules will be empowered to both critically analyse and understand the socio-cultural systems and intellectual processes that we have inherited from the past as well as how we are transformatively and constructively engaging them. Since we are a research-led university, our ultimate aim is to cultivate a critical, ethically-responsive, inter-disciplinary and transformative research environment. This closely interlinks with our Teaching and Learning curricula and approaches as well as constructive Community Engagement. Some of our primary aims are the advancement of students’ intellectual and academic aspirations; the empowering of previously disadvantaged communities; the facilitation of social transformation processes; advancement of inter- and cross-cultural understanding; and the fostering of the collaborative, effective and efficient functioning of our diverse and multi-cultural South African society in a plural context. In all our work, we strive for quality and excellence.

Students are empowered to learn and master the foundational requirements of our disciplines, and to freely pursue their own related scholarly and career interests. Amongst others, we have educated and trained students in a large number of areas in the professions and working life, such as critical research, religious ministry, governance, the legal professions, education, administration and management, and a wide variety of cultural and non-governmental institutions. Our graduates are assertive intellectuals who can critically analyse and constructively contribute to the challenges communities face.

Finally, different sections in the school host very popular weekly or bi-weekly seminars, staff edit five research journals, the school is the home of research centres that make important contributions to both research and constructive community engagement, we have very significant international partnerships that allow for both staff and student exchanges, and we host substantial annual memorial lectures.

The journals are:

  1. Acta Classica (Editor: Prof John Hilton)
  2. Alternation: Interdisciplinary Journal for the Study of the Arts and Humanities in Southern Africa. (Editor: Prof Johannes A. Smit)
  3. Journal of Gender and Religion in Africa: (Editor: Prof Isabel Phiri; Co-editor: Prof Sarojini Nadar)
  4. Journal for the Study of Religion. (Editor: Prof Johannes A. Smit)
  5. Journal of Theology for Southern Africa. (General Editor: Prof Gerald West; Editor: Janet Trisk; Book Review Editor: Prof Tony Balcomb)
  6. Nidan: Journal for the Study of Hinduism. (Editor: Prof P Pratap Kumar)

The centres are:

  1. Ujamaa, Centre for Community Development and Research;
  2. Sinomlando, Centre for Oral History and Memory Work;
  3. Centre for Constructive Theology;
  4. Islamic Studies Research Unit;
  5. the Centre for African Ethics; and
  6. the Classics Museum.

Some of our international partners include tertiary institutions, such as the University of Oslo; Humboldt University, Berlin; Union Theological Seminary, New York and institutions in Ethiopia and Tanzania; local academic Cluster partners include church-related educational centres such as: Anglican, Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist, Congregational Church of South Africa; etc.

The annual memorial lectures, are the 1) Steve de Gruchy Lecture; 2) the Gunther Wittenberg Lecture; 3) the Mzwandile Nunes Lecture; and 4) the John Dube Lecture.

The key focus of students’ academic endeavours should be their responsible development of their own knowledge and skills portfolio. It is therefore incumbent on all to choose wisely from all the available programmes, modules as well as supervisors in the school but also participate in our very empowering systems, structures and lectures. This website has been brought together to assist you in this endeavour.

  • Arts and Humanities Journal Alternation Among Best in SA

    Editor of Alternation, Professor Johannes Smit.

    [06 Oct, 2016] The Alternation – Interdisciplinary Journal for the Study of the Arts and Humanities in Southern Africa, was recently judged 17th best out of 276 accredited peer-reviewed journals assessed in South Africa.

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  • Focus on Ilanga lase Natal newspaper at 2016 Dube memorial Lecture

    UKZN staff and guests with Professor Ntongela Masilela at the annual John Dube Lecture.

    [29 Sep, 2016] The Ilanga lase Natal (The Natal Sun) newspaper provided the focus for the 2016 John Langalibalele Dube Memorial Lecture which was delivered by renowned South African intellectual and independent scholar, Professor Ntongela Masilela.

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  • US Professor gives insight on Ancient Greek Theatre

    Professor Al Duncan

    [12 Aug, 2016] Professor Al Duncan of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the United States presented a paper on ancient Greek theatre during the Classics Research Colloquium at UKZN.

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  • Academic publishes book on African Moral Consciousness

    Dr Munyaradzi Murove with his new book: African Moral Consciousness: An Inquiry into Prospects and Perspectives.

    [04 Aug, 2016] Dr Munyaradzi Murove of the School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics (SRPC) recently published a book titled: African Moral Consciousness: An Inquiry into Prospects and Perspectives.

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  • Fond Farewell for Long-Standing UKZN Staff Member

    Mrs Aileen Bevis

    [23 Jun, 2016] The Classics Department in the School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics (SRPC) recently bade farewell to a good colleague, friend and Classics Lecturer, Ms Aileen Bevis, who has worked at the University for the past 40 years!

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  • UKZN academic discusses classical antiquity in Monster High TV series

    Dr Suzanne Sharland

    [20 May, 2016] As part of the Classics Research Colloquium in the School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics (SRPC), lecturer Dr Suzanne Sharland spoke on: Classical Antiquity in Contemporary Children’s Media and Literature: the case of Monster High.

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  • Professor Gerald West Delivers Steve Gruchy Memorial Lecture

    Professor Gerald West.

    [28/Apr/2016] “The Bible as a Site of Struggle: An Ongoing Dialogue with Steve de Gruchy”, was the title of the 4th Annual Public Memorial Steve de Gruchy Lecture delivered on the Pietermaritzburg campus by Senior Professor in Biblical Studies and UKZN Fellow, Professor Gerald West.

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  • Ujamaa Centre hosts inaugural Eudy Simelane Lecture

    UKZN staff, event organisers, and family of the late Eudy Simelane at the inaugural lecture.

    [28/Apr/2016] The Ujamaa Centre, housed within UKZN’s College of Humanities, recently partnered with The Other Foundation, the Pietermaritzburg Gay & Lesbian Network, and the KwaZulu Natal Christian Council to host the inaugural Eudy Simelane Lecture at the Colin Webb Hall in Pietermaritzburg.

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  • Third cohort of Master’s students graduates from interdisciplinary programme

    Master’s students from the Gender, Religion and Health Programme with Dr Fatima Seedat and Professor Sarojini Nadar.

    [18/Apr/2016] Seven students from the Gender, Religion and Health (GRH) Programme graduated with their Master’s degrees in a programme managed by Professor Sarojini Nadar and Dr Fatima Seedat at the School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics.

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  • UKZN academics part of International Congress on Islamic Civilisation

    UKZN academics part of International Congress on Islamic Civilisation

    [17-Mar] UKZN together with Awqaf South Africa, the Research Institute for Islamic History, Art and Culture (IRCICA), and the International Peace College South Africa (IPSA) hosted the 2nd International Congress on Islamic Civilisation in Southern Africa.

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