The Southern African context current activities and projects

Members are encouraged to list specific projects related to Southern Africa and Africa in general on this website in order to showcase activities in within this domain.  The use of the term DH or Digital Humanities is still fairly new in Southern Africa. The Southern African research community has been actively involved with projects and initiatives in recent times that fall within the broader domain of Digital Humanities. The list if not comprehensive. All activities are not initiated by DHASA, nor is DHASA directly involved with all of these activities.



Newsletter July 2020

As a valued DHASA member and previous attendee of DH conferences and workshops, we want to thank you for your continued support and want to bring the following opportunities to your attention.

DH2020 Virtual Conference Free registration and extension of existing 2019 membership

The year 2020 has been difficult and we hope that you have been safe during these challenging times. As you may have seen, the yearly ADHO 2020 Conference has been cancelled and will now take place in a virtual format. As DHASA exco we have decided to extend all existing memberships for 2020 at no cost to our members to allow all current DHASA members to register for the DH2020 Virtual conference for free. This can be done by following this link

Free student membership: We will also allow bona fide students from Southern Africa to claim free DHASA membership for 2020 by following this link.

Existing members will receive confirmation of their membership by Monday 13 July 2020.

Registration for the conference will close on 19 July 2020

DH Africa Forum – Building new global DH communities: Africa and beyond 

We also want to bring to your attention a forum which will take place on 24 July 2020 at 14h00 which will focus on how to make DH in Africa more inclusive and remove barriers to access while ensuring the ethical use and access to data by communities and other stakeholders. The forum will consider the following questions:

  • What can be done to increase the participation of scholars of the DH community, and what can be done to ensure continuity of collaborations initiated during major DH events, such as DH2019?
  • What were the main barriers/are there still barriers to overcome to become a part of the DH community? How can these be removed?
  • How can we make DH for Africa and broader more inclusive by engaging with communities on their terms?
  • Open data and ethics: perennial problem associated with digital data, but what can be done to minimize the negative effects of open data?
  • What more can we do to make the different stakeholders, such as language communities, benefit from the huge amount of digital data that has been produced for African and other languages?

You are able to share your thoughts on these by registering for the forum here.

You will be able to follow our twitter account @DigitalHumASA for updated information about the DH2020 Virtual conference.

ADHO is seeking nominations for Executive Board and several committees

The Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations (ADHO) seeks nominations for committed individuals who would like to actively help further DH in all its breadth and diversity on a global scale for the following positions:

  • ADHO Executive Board Secretary
  • ADHO Admissions Committee Chair
  • ADHO Multilingualism/Multiculturalism Committee (MLMC) Chair

ADHO is governed by two boards: a Constituent Organization Board (COB) and an Executive Board (EB); all of these positions have a relationship to both Boards and include highly visible and necessary responsibilities for ADHO’s work internationally. If you’re interested in helping ADHO and the worldwide DH community become a more transparent, inclusive, and beneficial home for the many organizations and individuals that make up our community, then please consider becoming a candidate for one of these volunteer offices.

Terms will commence after the 2020 Digital Humanities Conference and will last for three years, ending after the DH conference in 2023. A description of the roles is below. All members of ADHO Constituent Organizations (COs) and Associate Organizations (AOs), listed below, are eligible.

Please nominate yourself or someone else for these roles by 19 July 2020 by sending an email to [email protected]. If self-nominating, please send a brief statement of your expertise and motivation as well as a brief CV (2 pages). If you are nominating someone else, the ADHO Executive Board will contact them for the relevant materials.

DHASA Bursaries and Workshop Grants

As noted during the DHASA AGM of 2019 DHASA will be making available a limited number of postgraduate bursaries. These bursaries will be limited to bona fide postgraduate students in the Humanities and Social Sciences, as well as Information and Computer Science. Students at Honours level are encouraged to apply. For more information please contact [email protected] or to follow up on a previous enquiry.

DHASA will also make available micro-grants for running DH related workshops across Southern Africa for more information please contact [email protected].

Newsletter September 2018

This newsletter provides some insights regarding recent and upcoming DHASA activities as well as the Call for Abstracts for DHASA 2019.

DHASA 2019 Call for Abstracts

2nd International DHASA Conference 2019
25 – 29 March 2019
– First Call for Abstracts –

As an inaugural member of DHASA and interested reader. It is our pleasure to invite you to the 2nd International Digital Humanities Association of Southern African Conference hosted at the University of Pretoria.
Pre-conference workshops and training will take place from 25 – 27 March and with conference proceedings taking place on 28 and 29 March 2019. Read more…

Membership – Secure online processing available

New membership options are available at If you have any questions you can get in touch via [email protected]

Recent news and events

This event involved more than 120 participants from 24 of the 26 public universities in South Africa. The event was co-organised by the Rural Campus Connectivity Project 2 and by the South African Centre for Digital Language Resources.

UCT Libraries was the venue for the workshop Digital Humanities – Pedagogy and Practices in the Library Environment organised by South African Centre for Digital Language Resources (SADiLaR), and presented by Dr Miriam Peña Pimentel, from the Institute of Bibliographic Research of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM)Read more…

During the 2018 International Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations conference in Mexico City DHASA received full Constituent Organisation status within ADHO.

Upcoming events

  • GROBID – Dictionaries Workshop

The South African Centre for Digital Language Resources is organising three workshops on the use of GROBID-Dictionaries, a machine learning infrastructure for creating structured lexicographic data from digitised dictionaries. More information on the workshop content is provided below. The three workshops will be held at the following locations:

To register for the workshop, please click on the link above for the location where you would like to attend and complete registration by 28 September 2018.

Following broadly defined and multi‐purpose transdisciplinary approaches to areal studies, the African Studies Research Center, Kisii is holding its first international conference focusing on four largely circumscribed thematic research areas under the theme of “Recovering, digitizing and practicalizing Africa Indigenous Knowledge”. Read more…

Getting involved

If you would like to get more information on Digital Humanities related activities in your field or get involved with DH workshops get in touch by contacting[email protected]

Newsletter February 2018

This newsletter provides some insights into the of activities planned for 2018 and a brief overview of the year that was.

Digital Humanities 2017 Montreal Canada Landscape photo of Montreal

DHASA now has Observer Status within ADHO

During the DH2017 International Conference Co-organised by McGill University and the Université de Montréal DHASA admitted as a new Constituent Organisation with Observer status within ADHO. Read more.

2018 Workshops 

DHASA will host two national workshops during 2018. The first workshop will take place in the Eastern Cape and the Second workshop within the Limpopo region. DHASA is committed to being inclusive and to provide opportunities for Networking and Capacity building as part of these regional workshops. Themes for these workshops to be announced end February.

Funding opportunity

The South African Centre for Digital Language Resources has issued a call for proposals to further enable and stimulate research within its Digital Humanities and Digitisation programmes. Read more  

Getting involved

If you would like to get more information on Digital Humanities related activities in your field or get involved with DH workshops get in touch by contacting [email protected]

Pertinent Activities to promote Digital Humanities in Southern Africa 

Research Unit for Literature and Languages in the South African Context (NWU):

  • 2014 – First local awareness campaign (with international guests) + weekly discussion sessions
  • 2015 – First DH Workshop SA (23-25 February) with 5 High profile international contributors 105 participants / plenaries & software training workshops
    Association for DH approved in principle a steering committee was elected to develop a constitution
  • 2016 – Second DH Workshop SA (4-8 April) 2 High profile international contributors 65 participants / plenaries & software training workshops and the founding of Digital Humanities Association of Southern Africa (DHASA) as a Forum the constitution was also accepted

Digital Humanities Association of Southern Africa (DHASA) 

Recent Developments

The South African Centre for Digital Language Resources (SADiLaR)

Government support, through the Department of Science and Technology, as well as the combined effort of many South African Academics, made the establishment of SADiLaR possible. SADiLaR runs two programmes:

digitisation programme, which entails the systematic creation of relevant digital text, speech and multi-modal resources related to all official languages of South Africa.  The development of appropriate natural language processing software tools for research and development purposes are included as part of the digitisation programme.

Digital Humanities programme, which facilitates the building of research capacity by promoting and supporting the use of digital data and innovative methodological approaches within the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Various digitisation projects across many disciplines for many years prior to the establishment of DHASA

  • 2008: Digitisation Stakeholders meeting – involved Carnegie Corporation of New York and National Research Foundation (NRF) (due to requests received by CC)
    • Resolutions: Carnegie Corp. to sponsor a digitalisation project to be managed by the NRF
    • Audit on digitisation initiatives in South Africa
    • A comprehensive audit was conducted and presented to the NRF in August 2009: different sectors
    • Recommendations
      • Establishment of Task team manage initial activities
      • Establishment of National Heritage Repository
      • Specialised short courses for librarians, archivists, other (professional development)
      • Provide inexpensive infrastructure to libraries, museums etc
      • Develop a National Portal for access to heritage collections
      • Establish a National Digitisation and Preservation Support Centre  
    • National Portal established at the NRF (2009)
    • 2012: National call for hosting Digitisation Centre
    • Digitisation and Data Preservation Centre at the NRF – eventually in 2013 (
      • Digital Initiatives Register (Completed, ongoing and planned projects): 233 collections registered (2013)
      • Heritage Repository (3 Themes: Biodiversity and Natural Science History; Political History; Cultural History)
      • Training modules (with UNISA)
      • Publications (including metadata guidelines)

Specific digitisation and/or DH projects

Southern African Context

  • Digitisation is an ongoing activity taking place within many domains, disciplines and it is supported to different degrees by:
    • National Research Foundation (NRF),
    • Human Science Research Council (HSRC)
    • National Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences (NIHSS)
    • Department of Arts and Culture (DAC)
    • National Archives of South Africa
    • South African Centre for Digital Language Resources