AFSAAP 43rd Annual Conference – University of New England – 03-05 Dec 2020


43rd Annual Conference

“Youthful Optimism for Africa”

University of New England, Armidale, NSW

03-05 December 2020


Call for Papers

The African Studies Association of Australasia and the Pacific (AFSAAP) calls for proposals for preorganized panels, roundtables, thematic conversations, and individual papers for its 43rd annual meeting to be held at the University of New England (UNE), Armidale, NSW, December 3-5th 2020.

If COVID 19 permits, there will be a physical conference at the University of New England in Armidale, NSW. If not, and for anyone who is not able to travel, there will be a ZOOM facility for presenting your papers and getting feed-back (UNE has more experience with distance education than any other Australian University).

60% of the population of Africa is under 25 – [sadly, this proportion may even increase if many older people die of COVID 19]. Whilst you are welcome to submit abstracts on any African topic you choose, we are encouraging you to think about youth and a brighter future.

We would welcome suggestions for panels. There will certainly be panels for peace/conflict, Afro-feminism, and environmental issues.

The deadline for abstracts is 01 September 2020. Abstracts should be 300 words maximum and cover question, methodology, findings. Paper presenters will be allowed 20 minutes for presentation plus 20 minutes for questions.

AFSAAP Postgraduate Day

A special feature of AFSAAP Conferences is our work with post-graduate students. PhD and other post-graduate students who submit a thoughtful abstract and wish to participate in the post-graduate day will be assigned an AFSAAP member with experience in their area as a mentor to help them work on their paper. Post-graduate work on African topics in Australia can be a rather lonely experience and it is good to be able to turn to a friend who can give you advice on how to get your ideas into shape and where you should be heading. December 3rd is post-graduate day and will be devoted to presentations in a warm and encouraging setting. Those presenting their work on that day will also be encouraged to submit their finished papers to a special post-graduate ARAS edition.  Details forthcoming.

Abstracts of proposed papers, panels and roundtables should be sent by to Professor Helen Ware at:

A preliminary program will be announced in October 2020. Registration and conference fees must be paid before the start of the conference.


AFSAAP Conference 2019
“Africa: Diversity and Development”, 26 – 27 November 2019

University of Otago campus

Sessions in the draft program include:
Historical Perspectives, Education, Conservation and Inclusivity, African Migrants in Australia, Politics, Literacy and Language, Livelihoods and Food, Security, Health, Geopolitics, Culture, Art and Literature,
Peace and Conflict, Migration and Health, Mining, Development Issues;
Gender/Sexuality: Violence and Activism, Development, Land Politics,

Roundtable Panel: ‘Australian Mining Interests in Africa’.

Workshop: ‘Creating an online
glossary/wiki for terms that reflect African ways of knowing, being and
doing human rights’

Marcelle Dawson: “Some of my Best Friends are White’: Allies and Affinities in African Studies”
Bob Huish: “The Place of “Past Oncologies” in Global Health Today: Chronicles of Cancer in Africa”
Elizabeth Rankin: “Monumental Manipulations: Reshaping Visual Heritage in South Africa’s Public Domain”

Cherry Gertzel Bursary: September deadline for applications

The Cherry Gertzel Bursary Award is an annual award to assist female post-graduate students to complete study or research in African Studies.

The information below is selected from the  AFSAAP website  which should be consulted for more detail.

About Professor Cherry Gertzel AM (1928 – 2015) She spent over twenty years researching and teaching in Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya and Zambia before returning to Australia in 1975 where she worked at Flinders University and Curtin University. Her wish to establish this annual bursary is a generous legacy and testament to her lifelong dedication to advancing the field of African Studies. More information about Prof. Cherry Gertzel is available at


Women who are enrolled in an Australian or New Zealand University
who have embarked on a post-graduate degree of which the subject matter is the study of Africa and who are able to undertake travel to an African state to conduct fieldwork, research or study related purposes


One bursary of $10,000 will be awarded annually.

Funds can be used for conference attendance, purchase or hire of equipment, costs of study commitments or short-term assistance with living expenses in an African State, for the purposed of field work, research, or study.

Funds must be used within 12 months of the date of the award

Application process

Information about the Bursary and application forms will be available on the AFSAAP website and the Cherry Gertzel legacy website by May each year. The closing date for applications will be in September each year and the selected recipient will notified, with details made available on the website, in November of each year.

Applications, including supporting documents, should be lodged by email to Dr. Karen Miller ( before or on the closing date. Incomplete applications, or applications received after the due date, will not be considered.

For enquiries about the award and eligibility, please contact AFSAAP President Prof. Peter Limb or Dr. Karen Miller

2019 AFSAAP Conference and Student Travel Grants

42nd AFSAAP Annual Conference
Africa: Diversity and Development
26-27 November 2019, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

The African Studies Association of Australasia and the Pacific (AFSAAP) invites submissions for its 2019 conference from academics, researchers, students, practitioners and policy makers, and the diaspora community, with interests in African studies, both on the African continent and in the Australasia and Pacific region. In 2019, the conference theme is ‘Africa: Diversity and Development’. The conference seeks to explore the richness of the continent and its diversity in a wide range of social, economic, political and cultural dimensions, while simultaneously discussing development options, challenges and experiences.Papers from all disciplines considering African issues in a broad range of topics, such as culture, history, literature, physical, social and economic development, environment, politics, geography, ecology, demography, health, education, migration, media, aid, climate change, natural and human-induced disasters, civil society and gender are welcomed.

Abstracts due 30 June 2019; Postgraduate travel grant applications due 30 August 2019.

ANU Healthcare in Africa Seminar – Recap by Margaret O’Callaghan

Canberra members of AFSAAP were delighted to have the subject of Africa appear on the ANU agenda on the 6th May – an uncommon occurrence given the prevailing bias towards Asia and the Pacific. In order to promote discussion on maternal and sexual health, access to healthcare and education and Female Genital Mutilation the ANU Circle for Gender Equity held its second seminar for the semester with the discussion focusing on healthcare in Africa. About thirty-five ANU students (including four males) and others attended the seminar.

The programme included:

  • A presentation by Jacqueline Zwambila, former Zimbabwean ambassador to Australia provided a very comprehensive overview of health issues on the African continent. She  bemoaned the fact that although leaders at the AU had many appropriate policies little was actioned at the grassroots level – and that there was no mention of Gender issues listed on the African Union website. She also noted the role of women in power, with women now becoming presidents (two so far) and Rwanda having a requirement for 42% female representation in parliament, but that much more needed to be done in all countries to improve women’s participation.
  • A focus on the subject of Female Genital Mutilation. The audience was treated to a video by  Khadjija Gbla who puts across the Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) story in a very personal and surprisingly humorous way which in no way lessened the seriousness of the issue. Khadija, a Sierra Leonean, is now living in Adelaide and is very active in raising awareness about the need to stop FGM in Australia – the need for which surprises many people.
  • Margaret O’Callaghan, former UNFPA representative and currently Visiting Fellow at the Crawford School, then commented on the subject of FGM, providing anecdotes from her UN days and putting the subject into  a multi-sectoral context. She highlighted the importance of looking at health issues from a psycho-social angle in order to really understand the reasons for why things were happening the way they were. In particular she recommended that the audience read this article in order to understand why it was that women were the major supporters in the continuation of the custom.
  • Jane Armstrong, Clinical Training Manager of the Aspen Medical Australia, then spoke about the management of emergency training and support of an Australian and New Zealand health personnel team. This emergency exercise was funded by DFAT as Australia’s contribution to addressing the recent epidemic in Sierra Leone. She noted that not only did they contribute to saving lives and providing palliative care to others who weren’t so lucky, but they helped to prevent the infection from spreading further. 

Unfortunately because of the very full programme there was insufficient time for audience participation, which always provides much added value to such an event.

Provided by Margaret O’Callaghan, former UNFPA Representative and currently Visiting Fellow at ANU’s Crawford School

Emeritus Professor Donald Anthony Low AO (1927-2015)


Prof A Low

We regret to announce the death of Anthony Low, one of the ANU’s most distinguished Africanists, in Canberra.

Appropriately for the first President of the African Studies Association of Australasia and the Pacific, Anthony Low announced his retirement from African Studies at the 2012 AFSAAP conference at Burgmann College, ANU. He had thus spent over 60 years in the field of African Studies.

Born in India in1927, the son of Canon Donald Low and Winifred Low, he was educated at Haileybury historical connections with the East India Company. He went up to Oxford in and Imperial Service College, a school with 1944 gaining his BA in 1948 and his MA in 1952. His D. Phil. on ‘The British and Uganda 1862-1900’ was awarded in 1957.

His illustrious academic career began in 1951 as a Lecturer at Makerere College, University of East Africa. He was also Uganda correspondent for The Times.

While undertaking archival research in Zanzibar he met Isobel Smail who was nursing in the Protectorate and was proficient in Swahili. They were married in Zanzibar Cathedral in 1952, celebrating their 60th anniversary in 2012.

Anthony had three stints at The Australian National University.

He moved from Uganda to the ANU in 1959, staying until 1964 when he became Professor of History at Sussex.

He returned to the ANU in 1973, and was Vice-Chancellor from 1975 to 1982. Coincidentally another Africanist, Sam Richardson, was head of C the Canberra College of Education (now the University of Canberra) around the same time.
From 1983 to 1994 he was Smuts Professor of the History of the British Commonwealth at the University of Cambridge.

On his return to Canberra he became Vice-President of the Australian Academy of the Humanities in 1996, an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 2005, and Emeritus Professor at the ANU in 2010.
His key publications on Africa include:
Buganda and British Overrule (with R.C. Pratt). Oxford University Press, 1960.
Buganda in Modern History. University of California Press, 1969.
The Mind of Buganda . University of California Press, 1969.
The Egalitarian Movement: Asia and Africa 1950-1980. Cambridge University Press, 1996.
Keith Hancock: The Legacies of an Historian. Melbourne University Press, 2001.
The Fabrication of Empire: the British and Uganda Kingdoms, 1890-1902 Cambridge University Press, 2009.

The publication of the latter (reviewed in the AFSAAP Journal) was marked by a launch at University House, ANU, to which the members of the ANU’s African Students Association were invited. Younger scholars should note that this last book was published when he was over 80.


Anthony was the first President of AFSAAP, serving from 1979-1982.

His final AFSAAP talk was entitled ‘Origins of Social Science Research in Uganda’ which turned into a lively discussion on the past and future of Africa Universities.


Lucas, David, 2013, ‘Anthony Low retires’. The Australasian Review of African Studies, 34(2);7-8.
Personal communication from Anthony Low.
Who’s Who 2013. A & C Black, 2012.


*this is an amended version of ‘Anthony Low retires’  published in The Australasian Review of African Studies in 2013*


Attached is Robin Jeffrey’s Eulogy.
Attached is Matthew Neuhaus Harare’s Eulogy.
Attached is Adam Low’s Eulogy.

38th AFSAAP Conference – Deakin University 2015

38th AFSAAP Conference
Deakin University, Melbourne CBD
28 – 30 October 2015


‘The African Studies Association of Australasia and the Pacific welcomes to its 2015 conference, papers from academics, researchers, students, practitioners and policy makers with interests in African studies, both on the African continent and in the Australasia and Pacific region. Papers from all disciplines discussing African issues in a broad range of topics, such as culture, physical, social and economic development, environment, politics, geography, ecology, demography, health, education, migration, media, aid, climate change, natural and human-induced disasters, civil society and gender are welcomed.’

More details coming soon.

Africa-Australia Dialogue 1st Symposium – June 28th La Trobe University, Victoria, Australia

AFSAAP is a co-sponsor of the forthcoming 1st Africa Australia Dialogue Symposium to be held at La Trobe University on June 28th 2014.  The Key Note Speaker, Former Zimbabwean Ambassador Jaqueline Zwambila, will join a host of other speakers to discuss the key issues. This will be a great event, and AFSAAP hopes that many of you will be able to attend.

Event details:
The Centre for Dialogue’s first Africa-Australia Symposium, following on from last year’s Australia-Africa Dialogue inaugural address by Australia’s the Hon Kevin Rudd, is a forum where experts, academics, settlement and service providers, community leaders and activists can focus on the pressing issues confronting African-Australians as well as explore Australia’s links to African countries. This inaugural Symposium seeks to raise awareness about trends, challenges and opportunities that face the African-Australia diaspora as well as advance Australian-African relations. Using data, census projections and commentary from experts in the field, the Symposium will focus on the roles individuals, governments and industry can play in addressing the future needs of a rapidly growing community as well as ascertain how to advance Australian-African relations.

More information can be found on this Symposium Flyer.

Executive Producer, Half of a Yellow Sun

YEWANDE SADIKU, is a Nigerian investment banker who was keynote speaker at the 2013 African Studies Association conference in Perth (see ) As Executive Producer of the film Half of a Yellow Sun, she helped to raise financing for the film adaptation of the best selling novel by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, directed by Nigerian Biyi Bandele. She described how rich Nigerians were reluctant to put money into the film while the cash flow was for the filming in Calabar was maintained by smaller investors, including admirers of the novel.