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Visiting Professor
Name: Liz Gunner
Location: K-Blue building, LanCSAL Department, Room 15 Bunting Road Campus
School of Languages Visiting Research Professors  Staff Members

Contact Details:
Tel: 011 559 1275


About Liz Gunner

Professor Liz Gunner has published widely in the field of African oral literature and on modern performance practice in southern Africa. Her PhD in African Languages and Literatures, from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London (1984), and on Zulu Praising and Praises. Much of her work has explored question of language, change and identity in Zulu performative culture, within the broader regional African context. Her most recent work follows through her sustained interest in language and performance, and in some cases moves into new but linked domains, namely media and in particular radio as a site of key creativity and resilience in the African context, as well as migration, and Southern African migrants’ use of digital media in South Africa. Her current project is a book on precarity and song in post-1994 South Africa. She is also involved in a group project Negotiating Languages of Johannesburg through AI.


  • 2024:

‘Beyond the Static: Women, Voice and Radio Zulu in the 1970s and 1980s’

Taylor & Francis:


  • 2023:

‘Cultural Histories of South Africa’



  • 2020:

‘Political Song in Africa’ ed Nic Cheeseman



  • 2019:

‘Radio Soundings. South Africa and the Black Modern’


Vice-Chancellor’s Distinguished Award: Book of the Year (2020)

Long-list: Sunday Times’ Book of the Year (2021)


  • 2018:

‘With Respect to Zulu’ with Judith Irvine


‘Ecologies of Orality’ in The Cambridge Companion to World Literature’ eds Ben Etherington and Jarad Zimbler



  • 2016

‘Thick time, Heavy time’ Ethnos 83:2

Taylor & Francis:


  • 2015:

‘Song, identity and the state: Julius Malema’s Dubul’ ibhunu song as catalyst’



  • 2014

‘Soft Masculinities, “Isicathamiya” and Radio’



  • 2011

‘Radio in Africa: Publics, Cultures, Communities’ eds Liz Gunner, Dina Ligaga, and Dumisani Moyo.

Taylor & Francis:


  • 2009:

‘Jacob Zuma, the Social Body and the Unruly Power of Song’



  • 2008:

‘Power, Marginality and African Oral Literature’ eds Graham Furniss and Liz Gunner



  • 2005:

‘Africa and orality’



  • 2002 (2004 2nd edition (UKZN) includes letter from Bishop Shembe):

‘The Man of Heaven and the Beautiful Ones of God’ ed and translator Liz Gunner



Further reading: