Duke's global centers & initiatives


Concilium on Southern Africa

Mission Statement

The Concilium on Southern Africa (COSA) is an interdisciplinary network of faculty members committed to widening and deepening relationships between Duke and the countries and peoples of Southern Africa.

COSA offers ongoing opportunities for Duke faculty, students and the local community to engage with issues pertaining to Southern Africa. To this end, COSA

  • Coordinates discussion groups, faculty and student exchanges, and visits to Duke by Southern African scholars, artists and social commentators
  • Provides a forum to share research, reports on student visits, and educational experiences
  • Explores issues relating to Southern Africa through reading groups and lectures
  • Organizes conferences and seminars to expand knowledge of, and deepen relationships with Southern Africa
  • Welcomes faculty members and other professionals in the Triangle interested in engagement with Southern Africa.

Summary of 2021-2022 Programs

On October 13, 2021, COSA hosted a discussion on Lauren Jarvis’s (UNC) book, A Prophet of the People: Isaiah Shembe and the Making of a South African Church. The attendees included faculty and graduate students at Duke and UNC as well as guests from other institutions. Roughly 20 people attended.https://history.unc.edu/faculty-members/lauren-jarvis/

On October 20, 2021 COSA hosted a book launch in collaboration with Rofhiwa Bookstore.We featured the major new anthology of contemporary South African Poetry, Years of Fire and Ash: South African Poets of Decolonization, with a discussion with the editor, Dr. Wamuwi Mbao (Stellenbosch University) and contributing poet, Mjele Msimang, and Duke faculty member, Tsitsi Jaji. A poetry reading by Msimang followed and the event ended with a very lively Q and A session. This was a virtual event (https://www.crowdcast.io/e/years-of-fire) with 39 attendees, including many based in Africa as well as beyond the Duke community (at other universities etc). 


On April 1, 2022 we hosted a presentation by Jeanne-Marie Jackson (Johns Hopkins) on Zimbabwean philosopher and novelist, Dr. Stanlake Samkange, one of the figures in her new book The African Novel of Ideas: Philosophy and Individualism in the Age of Global Writing (Princeton UP). Attendees included COSA members; students in the English graduate seminar, African Futures, and interested guests. There were approximately 12 attendees.



On April 26, 2022 we cosponsored an advance screening and discussion with Rumbi Katedza of her latest full-length documentary film, Transactions, which follows the members of a Zimbabwean family who have migrated in South Africa and the UK to examine the impact of remittances on family dynamics under the strain of economic collapse, homophobia, political violence, and anti-immigrant sentiment. The event was initiated by the faculty working group, Placing Race, in the English department and the 5 attendees included members of the working group, COSA faculty, and a graduate student.

(Transactions will be released on Al Jazeera later this year. Her most recent short, a documentary on small-scale farming and digital distribution can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aiiyC6WHFSM)


Notable Programs 2021-2022


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