Historical Trauma and Transformation
Welcome to Stellenbosch University

Post-doctoral Fellows

Senior Post-Doctoral F​ellows: 

Senior Researchers:


Dr Nancy Rushohora is a Postdoctoral Fellow in Studies in Historical Trauma and Transformation at Stellenbosch University, South Africa. She holds a PhD in Historical Archaeology from the University of Pretoria (2016). Her research interests include archaeology of resistance, trauma, heritage, photographs and memory. Currently, she is working on the Majimaji War—a resistance against the German colonialism in Tanzania (1904-1908). She is particularly questioning the removal and restitution of human remains from Tanzania to Germany and engaging with the use of the war landscape, museum and memorials.

Post-Doctoral F​ellow​s:


mM.jpg Dr Marietjie Oelofsen is a post-doctoral fellow at the Historical Trauma and Transformation Studies Unit. Her research focus is on how and where South Africans talk about political trauma across racial and generational divides, and the possibilities that exist for healing or recovery through mediating diverse experiences in the public sphere. In 2017, Oelofsen received a PhD from Rhodes University for her thesis, Hearing the citizens: Inequality, access to journalists and the prospects for inclusively mediated spaces of political deliberation in South Africa. This followed an MPhil (cum laude) at the University of Stellenbosch in which she proposed a re-conceptualisation of the way in which journalists consider their professional role in order to raise possibilities for more inclusive public and political conversations. Marietjie worked as a journalist in South Africa for 11 years, and as a development communication specialist in the HIV /AIDS sector on the African continent for almost two decades.’

E-mail: hmoelofsen@sun.ac.za  | Click here for publications |Click here for student supervision

Mosa Phadi_Web.jpgAzille Coetzee is a postdoctoral fellow in Historical Trauma and Transformation where her research is focused on theorising women's narratives about their memories of apartheid, as part of the flagship research project of the Chair. She is interested in the ways in which categories of race and gender intersect in colonial and apartheid violence; how black women's geographies can open up a respatialisation of the South African postapartheid landscape; and how imaginative feminist and queer engagements with the site of memory can enable a new sense of place. She holds a PhD in Philosophy from Stellenbosch University and the Vrije University of Amsterdam. She is the writer of In My Vel: 'n Reis (2019), a memoir exploring white Afrikaner identity, historical complicity, belonging, and love. Her research is published in various international feminist journals and she often writes for local South African publications like Vrye Weekblad and Litnet.

Mosa Phadi_Web.jpg

Stephen Temi’ David is a literary scholar whose research explores the marginal voices and narratives of violence that are silenced by and buried beneath hegemonic accounts of violence. These marginal narratives are surfaced through an intersectional approach which pays attention to the ways in which axes of identity such as gender, class, dis/ability, ethnicity, and sexuality intersect to produce distinct experiences of violence and trauma. His current project employs an African Phenomenological approach – distilled from the works of Africanists like Fanon, WEB Dubois, Steve Biko and Wole Soyinka – in reading narratives of trauma archived on the wounded bodies of ex-Biafran soldiers. The project also examines how these wounded bodies and the traumatic histories they bear unsettle hagiographic, masculinist accounts of the Nigeria-Biafra Civil War to generate a more nuanced historiographic encounter with the war and its perpetually haunting legacies.

Stephen holds a PhD in literary studies from Stellenbosch University (2019) and a master’s degree in African literature from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. His doctoral study was funded by the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Graduate School, Stellenbosch University. He has also received grants and fellowships from funders such as Lisa Maskell, SSRC, DAAD and Harry Frank Guggenheim. Stephen has shared his work in peer-reviewed journals, opinion pieces and at local and international conferences. Stephen’s research interests include memory studies, embodiment, gender studies, postcolonial literature and violence, African literature, Yoruba philosophy, popular culture and performance studies.

Mosa Phadi_Web.jpg

Dr Melanie Cilliers is a postdoctoral fellow at the Historical Trauma and Transformation Studies Unit. Her research interests involve studying the collective influence of structural violence on the lived experiences of South African people through the lens of physiology, neurocognitive processes, and social psychology. In 2013 she obtained her MA in Psychology (cum laude) at the University of Stellenbosch, in which she examined the resilience characteristics in families caring for a family member living with dementia. She obtained her PhD in Psychiatry (2020) at the University of Stellenbosch for her research on the development of a shortened version of the HNRC International Neurobehavioral Battery. Her current research focus is on the impact of historical trauma and dehumanization on the lived experiences and stress sensitivity of people in marginalized South African communities.


Previous Post-Doctoral F​ellows:

mM.jpg Dr. Khan Touseef Osman is a postdoctoral researcher in Studies in Historical Trauma and Transformation Studies at Stellenbosch University. He did his PhD on “Trauma Studies and South Asian Partition Fiction” at the University of Kashmir, India. His research interests include Trauma and Memory Studies, Partition Studies and Critical Theory. His current research explores the transmission of trauma across generations and its representation in creative media. At present, Dr. Osman is working on three articles entitled “Postmemory and Imaginative Temporal Displacement in Agha Shahid Ali’s Early Poetry,” “Representational Consequences of Trauma for Post-Witness Generation Authors of Partition Fiction” and “The Struggle of Memory against Forgetting in Kamila Shamsie’s Salt and Saffron”.

Click here for publications