ISEA 1964-2014: A South African research institute serving people | National Inquiry Services Centre

ISEA 1964-2014

ISEA 1964-2014: A South African research institute serving people

A South African research institute serving people

By Edited by Monica Hendricks
Size: 150 x 230 mm
Pages: 180 pp
ISBN 13: 978-1-920033-18-7
Published: December 2016
Publishers: NISC (Pty) Ltd
Recommended Retail Price: R 19,500.00 195.00
Cover: Paperback

About the book

ISEA 1964-2014 is more than the story of the Institute for the Study of English in Africa, recording, as it does, the history of South Africa's longest-established and most influential research institute dedicated to the study and teaching of language. 

Avoiding drab institutional history, the account weaves personal narratives into a rich tapestry, tracing the development of a working research organisation focused on easing the language difficulties experienced by people across Southern Africa's complex linguistic environment. The account has been woven into the country's history, offering contextualised insights from a unique perspective focused on social and academic transformation. 

Written by leading language educators, literary scholars and sociolinguists, each with personal knowledge of the ISEA, the book makes an original contribution to the genealogy of English literary and language studies in South Africa. 

About the Authors

Paul Walters is Emeritus Professor of English at Rhodes University. He holds BA (Hons) and PhD degrees from Rhodes, and has taught in the USA and Natal in addition to Rhodes. His interests span English poetry and drama of the C17, C19 and American prose, and the people and literature of the Karoo (Olive Schreiner and her husband Cronwright in particular).

Laurence Wright was HA Molteno Professor of English and Director of the Institute for the Study of English in Africa. Educated at Rhodes University, Warwick and Oxford, he is currently a Senior Research Fellow at North-West University.

Karin de Jager taught librarianship in the Library and Information Studies Centre at the University of Cape Town. Now officially retired, she still acts as a research supervisor and mentor for postgraduate students in the Centre. In 1973 she was appointed by Professor Guy Butler to curate and develop the small collection of South African English manuscripts and books, known as the Thomas Pringle Collection, which he and Professor André de Villiers had established a year earlier. This collection became the nucleus and the forerunner of the National English Literary Museum.

Alan Finlay works as a freelance writer and researcher specialising in media studies and internet rights. He published the literary journals Bleksem and donga (online, with Paul Wessels). He was editor of New Coin poetry journal from 2003-2007. With Arja Salafranca he co-edited a collection of prose and poetry called glass jars among trees (Jacana, 2003). His collection of poems, pushing from the riverbank, was published by Dye Hard Press in October 2010. In 2012, together with Wessels, he published a selection of donga in book form (Bleksem, Dye Hard Press, Botsotso, 2012). He is a part-time lecturer at the Wits University Journalism Programme, and editor of Global Information Society Watch.

Derek Barker-Ciganik is semi-retired and lives in a village called Lab in Slovakia. From 2010 to 2015 he lectured at the Department of African Studies at the University of Vienna. Born in 1969 in Johannesburg, South Africa, he moved to Austria in 1998 and to Slovakia in 2011. His doctoral work was published with the self-explanatory and over-long title of “English Literary Discourse in South Africa 1958–2004: A Review of 11 Peer-Reviewed Journals” (Berlin, Germany: LAM Lambert Academic Publishing, 2010). It focused on meta-discursive analyses of literary academic discourse in South Africa, including the illustrious journal, English in Africa.

Carol Leff is the administrator of the ISEA, where she is also coordinator of a short course in creative writing, and the secretary of the Shakespeare Society of Southern Africa. She obtained her BA at Wits and MA from Rhodes University. Carol’s poetry appears in literary magazines and her first collection Flashes was published in 2009. Her scholarly writing on the work of Herman Charles Bosman has been published in local and international journals. She is currently in her first year of a PhD, focusing on literary representations of contemporary urban identities.

Robert Berold has published four collections of poetry. He is author or editor of six other books, including the rural development handbook People’s Workbook, a memoir of a year spent in China, and a biography of the pioneering Lesotho farmer JJ Machobane. From 1989 to 1999 he edited the poetry journal New Coin, publishing much of the groundbreaking new poetry being written in that period, following this with the anthology It All Begins. Berold has been editor of over 50 books by South African writers, many of them under his Deep South imprint. He coordinated the MA programme in creative writing at Rhodes University from 2012 to 2015.

Monica Hendricks has been the director of the Institute for the Study of English in Africa, Rhodes University since 2013. She teaches and coordinates courses for teachers of English as an additional language. Most are teachers in rural schools in the Eastern and the Northern Cape. Her doctoral research was into bilingual children’s classroom writing. She has a long-standing interest in children’s writing, and their sense of self, as well as the teaching of writing and how teacher education can change and improve pedagogical writing practices. 


1. Introduction - Monica Hendricks

2. "The child is father of the man": origin and early history of ISEA - Paul Walters 

3. "A world elsewhere": the ISEA and English in South Africa - Laurence Wright

4. "Pull down to earth"... the story of New Coin, 1965-2014 - Alan Finlay

5. English in Africa: 25 years of service to literature - a contextual and historical assessment - Derek Barker-Ciganik

6. The story of NELM: from filing cabinet to international museum - Karin de Jager

7.  "In states unborn and accents yet unknown": Shakespeare and the ISEA - Laurence Wright

8. Night writers: the creative writing short course - Carol Leff

9. On teaching writing - Robert Berold 

10. Multilinguilism, diversity and access: the future for the ISEA - Monica Hendricks 

Order Enquiries

For copies of this book, please contact:

The Institute for the Study of English in Africa

Rhodes University, PO Box 94, Grahamstown, 6140, South Africa.

Email:, Tel: +27 (46) 603 8565

Price: R 195.00 (including VAT and postage)