Department of Anthropology and Archaeology

Prof CJ van Vuuren

College of Human Sciences
School of Humanities
Department: Anthropology and Archaeology
Tel: 012 429 6620
Fax: 012 429 6091


  • DPhil Anthropology (Univeristy of Pretoria, 1992)
  • Diploma in Museum Studies (University of Pretoria, 1979)
  • Dip Ter Ed (University of Pretoria, 1983)

Fields of academic interests

  • Ritual: Male and female initiation ritual, contemporary and modern ritual practices                                                              
  • Orality studies: Oral tradition and history, land claims and land restitution                                                                                                
  • Heritage: Earthen architecture, heritage impact assessment (HIA),                                                        
  • Material Anthropology: African material culture    
  • Earthen architecture: Consultation and research in design of tourist and education centres
  • Land restitution: Research in settlement history, verification of oral history.                
  • Traditional government: Migration, settlement and genealogical history        

Field of Specialisation

  • Ritual                                                                                                                                               
  • Orality studies                                                                                                                                         
  • Heritage                                                                                                                                                  
  • Material Anthropology


  • Van Vuuren, C.J. 1995 'Ndebele’ in Middleton, JH & Rassam, A (eds) Encyclopedia of World Cultures. Vol 9,  Africa & the Middle East. New York: GKHall/Macmillan


  • Van Vuuren, C.J.  2005 ‘Change and Continuity in Ndebele Earthen  Architecture: Towards a Model for Conservation of Meaning in Architectural Decoration’ (with KA Bakker)  in Rainer, l & Rivera, AB (eds) The Conservation of Decorated Surfaces on Earthen Architecture. Los Angeles: The Getty Conservation Institute


  • Van Vuuren, C.J. 2010 ‘Features in the Intangible Domain of Ndebele Earthen Architecture’. Los Angeles: Terra 2008, Conference Proceedings, The Getty Conservation Institute.    

Journal articles

  • Van Vuuren, C.J. & De Jongh, M. 1999 ‘Rituals of Manhood. Circumcision at the Cutting Edge of Critical Intervention’, SA Journal of Ethnology 22(2)
  • Van Vuuren C.J. 2010 ‘Memory, Landscape and Event: How Ndebele Labour Tenants Interpret and Reclaim Land’. Anthropology Southern Africa, 33(1&2),  
  • Van Vuuren C.J. 2012 A Life Cycle in Ruins: Labour Tenants on the Mpumalanga Highveld Farms. SA Jnl of Art History
  • Van Vuuren, C.J. 2014 ‘A Ritual Perspective on the Comrades Marathon’ SA Jnl of Research in Sports, Physical Education and Recreation, 36(2)
  • Van Vuuren 2015 ‘Anthropology and the Study of Earthen Architecture’ in South Africa. Acta Academica, 47(2)
  • Van Vuuren, C.J.  2015. In memory of the Ndebele homestead: women as earthen builders and mural artists.  South African Journal of Art History – Women in the visual arts 30(1):141-157.