The UCT Book Award recognises outstanding books written by members of staff.
Published works in any category, including monographs, textbooks, novels, collections and popular writing, are eligible for consideration by the Book Award Committee. Members of the university community may nominate books they think bring credit to UCT.
This annual award has a R30 000 prize.
The 2019 UCT Book Award has been jointly awarded to:
Anna Tietze, Senior Lecturer, Michaelis School of Fine Art, Faculty of Humanities
A History of the Iziko South African National Gallery: Reflections on Art and National Identity
This first full history of the Iziko South African National Gallery traces the gallery’s fortunes from its inception in the 1870s to the present day and considers the formative influence on the gallery of successive directors and trustees, as well as governments, showing how these have shaped its collection and exhibition policies.
Professor Alphose Zingoni, Professor of Structural Engineering and Mechanics, Department of Civil Engineering, Faculty of Engineering & the Built Environment
Shell Structures in Civil and Mechanical Engineering: Theory and Analysis
In writing this book, Zingoni, a world-recognised authority on the subject of shell structures, has employed a unique strategy that allows closed-form analytical solutions to be successfully obtained for a wide range of practical shell problems.
Professor David Wardle, School of Languages & Literatures, Faculty of Humanities
Suetonius: Life of Augustus
David Wardle’s Suetonius: Life of Augustus (Oxford University Press, 2014) is a comprehensive, historical, historiographical and literary commentary in English on the biography of Rome’s first emperor, Augustus, that was written in the second century AD.
Professor David Chidester of the Department of Religious Studies
Empire of Religion: Imperialism and Comparative Religion
David Chidester’s Empire of Religion: Imperialism and Comparative Religion (University of Chicago Press, 2014) is part of the scholar’s ongoing efforts to decolonise his discipline, the academic study of religion.
Dr Litheko Modisane, Centre for Film and Media Studies, Faculty of Humanities
South Africa’s Renegade Reels
The 2016 winning work by Litheko Modisane, senior lecturer at the Centre for Film and Media Studies, South Africa’s Renegade Reels: The Making and Public Lives of Black-Centred Films, inspects the circulation and reception of anti-apartheid cinema and breaks new ground for analysing films.
Associate Professor Sa'diyya Shaikh, Department of Religious Studies, Faculty of Humanities
Sufi Narratives of Intimacy
Sa'diyya Shaikh' Sufi Narratives of Intimacy explores of the ideas of a 13th century Sufi mystic, poet and scholar. Her book combines feminism and Sufism in such a unique way that critics have labelled it "ground-breaking" and "pioneering".
It represents a dialogue between the social and spiritual concerns of 21st century Muslims and the rich legacy of a compelling Muslim thinker – Muhyi al-Din ibn al-'Arabi.
Professor Jenni Case, Department of Chemical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment
Researching Student Learning in Higher Education
Jenni Case’s book Researching Student Learning in Higher Education: A social realist approach tackles crucial aspects of students’ access and success in higher education and questions the role that higher education should play in post-apartheid South Africa. Case is based at UCT’s Centre for Research in Engineering and Science Education.
Professor Nicoli Nattrass, School of Economics, Faculty of Commerce
The AIDS Conspiracy
In The AIDS Conspiracy: Science Fights Back, Nicoli Nattrass (School of Economics) argues that AIDS conspiracy beliefs (such as HIV being deliberately created by scientists) are strongly mediated by local history and culture.
This is the second time that she has scooped this award; the first was in 2005 for her book, The Moral Economy of AIDS in South Africa.
Ms Sonja Loots, School of Languages and Literatures, Faculty of Humanities
Sonja Loots' Sirkusboere tells the story, based on fact, of a group of traumatised, maimed and penniless veterans of the South African War (1899 to 1902) who were recruited in the war's aftermath by legendary circus owner Frank Fillis to participate in a bizarre military spectacle at the 1904 World's Fair in St Louis, Missouri. Known as the Boer War Circus, it became one of the most popular events at the fair. The meticulously researched Sirkusboere is a story about trauma, diaspora, showbiz, racial discrimination, loss, displacement, roller coasters and sport, and is described as "a wild bronco ride in history's rodeo".
There was no award presented in 2012.
Emeritus Professor JC (Kay) de Villiers
Healers, Helpers and Hospitals
JC (Kay) de Villiers, who formerly held the Helen and Morris Mauerberger Chair of Neurosurgery at UCT, won the award for Healers, Helpers and Hospitals: A history of military medicine in the Anglo-Boer War. In this 2-volume work, the fields of history and medicine converge as it focuses on a time when war killed more people through disease than through wounds.
Emeritus Professor Christopher Vaughan, Department of Human Biology, Faculty of Health Sciences
Imagining The Elephant
Kit Vaughan, emeritus professor of biomedical engineering and director of UCT spin-off company CapeRay, won the award for Imagining the Elephant: a Biography of Allan Macleod Cormack.
Cormack, a "lowly" UCT-trained physicist, was co-winner of the 1979 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his computer-assisted tomography (CAT) scanner. His work inspired a new generation of medical scientists, including Vaughan, who established a medical imaging research group at UCT in 2000, just 2 years after Cormack's death, in the latter's honour.
The 2009 Book Award was awarded to two UCT academics.
Professor Philippa Skotnes, Michaelis School of Fine Art, Faculty of Humanities
Claim To The Country
Pippa Skotnes of the Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Arts was awarded the prize for her work Claim to the Country: The Archive of Wilhelm Bleek and Lucy Lloyd.
The book and accompanying DVD brings together most of an archive on the San people created by philologist Wilhelm Bleek and linguist and folklorist Lucy Lloyd in the late 1800s.
Professor Nigel Penn, Department of Historical Studies, Faculty of Humanities
Nigel Penn of the Department of Historical Studies was recognised for his book Forgotten Frontier: Colonist and Khoisan on the Cape's Northern Frontier in the 19th Century.
Relying primarily on records of the Dutch East India Company, he argues that the Northern Cape played a crucial role in shaping the attitudes and institutions that contributed to the subjugation of the Khoisan people.
Associate Professor Peter Bruyns, Department of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science
Peter Bruyns, a mathematician specialising in the theory of permutation groups, received the award for his 2-volume work, Stapeliads of Southern Africa and Madagascar.
The work is a culmination of his 25 years of research, trekking to remote parts of the globe in search of a group of fleshy-stemmed succulents known as stapeliads. These striking, pentagonal-shaped flowers belong to the family Apocynaceae are quite plentiful in the drier parts of Africa but generally considered very difficult to identify.
Emeritus Professor William Nasson, Department of Historical Studies, Faculty of Humanities
Bill Nasson's Britannia's Empire – Making a British World (Tempus, 2004) has been described as "packed with elegant and concise argument, original insights and what can only be described as Nassonian witticisms". This is his second such award.
Nasson, who describes himself as a writer of history, not a historian who writes, won his first UCT Book Award in 1993 for Abraham Esau's War: A black South African War in the Cape 1899-1902.
Professor Peter Knox-Shaw, Department of English Language and Literature, Faculty of Humanities
Jane Austen and the Enlightenment
Peter Knox-Shaw, an honorary research associate in the English department, was a senior lecturer from 1975 to 1991.
His aim in writing the book was twofold. He wanted to demonstrate how responsive Jane Austen was to the deep social changes that took place during her lifetime, changes that now lie at the foundation of the modern world, and also to reassert her presence as a liberal and progressive figure in it.
Professor Nicoli Nattrass, School of Economics, Faculty of Commerce
The Moral Economy of AIDS in South Africa
The Moral Economy of AIDS in South Africa has been widely acclaimed as it presents an interface between the moral and economic facets of AIDS in South Africa.
Nicoli Nattrass, who heads the AIDS and Society Research Unit (Faculty of Commerce) in the Centre for Social Science Research, is hopeful that the award will boost similar academic output in her resident faculty.
|2009||P Skotnes (Humanities)||The Archive of Willem Bleek and Lucy Lloyd|
|2009||N Penn (Humanities)||The Forgotten Frontier|
|2008||Dr P Bruyns (Science)||Stapeliads of Southern Africa and Madagascar|
|2007||B Nasson (Humanities)||Britannia's Empire - Making a British World|
|2006||P Knox-Shaw (Humanities)||Jane Austen and the Enlightenment|
|2005||N Nattrass (Commerce)||The Moral Economy of AIDS in South Africa|
|2004||MS Blackman (Law)
RD Jooste (Law)
GK Everingham (Law)
|Companies Act: Commentary|
|2003||T D Noakes (Health Scienses)||Lore of Running|
|2002||J Glazewski (Marine & Environmental Law)||Environmental Law in South Africa|
|2001||NG Penn (Humanities)||Rogues, Rebels and Runaways|
|2000||J Higgins (English Language and Literature)||Raymond Williams. Literature, Marxism and Cultural Materialism|
|1999||M Mamdani (Humanities)||Citizen and Subject: Contemporary Africa and the Legacy of Colonialism|
|1998||M S Blackman (Law)||Companies (in Law of South Africa, first re-issue Vol 4, parts 1, 2 and 3)|
|J V Bickford-Smith (Arts)||Ethnic Pride and Racial Prejudice in Victorian Cape Town: Group Identity and Social Practice, 1985 - 1902|
|1997||B Warner (Science)||Cataclysmic Variable Stars|
|1996||D Coplan (Social Science and Humanities)||In the Time of the Cannibals|
|P Harries (Arts)||Work, Culture and Identity|
|M Shain (Arts)||The Roots of Anti-Semitism in South Africa|
|T Rajna (Music)||Harp Concerto|
|1994||G M Branch (Science); C L Griffiths (Science); L Beckley and M L Branch||Two Oceans: A Guide to the Marine Life of Southern Africa|
|1993||D Chidester (Social Science & Humanities)||Shots in the Street|
|1993||W Nasson (Arts)||Ebram Esau's War|
|1992||P Skotnes (Fine Art & Architecture); S Watson (Arts); J Parkington (Arts) and N Penn (Arts)||Sound from the Thinking Strings|
|1991||R Mendelsohn (Arts)||Sammy Marks, "The Uncrowned King of the Transvaal"|
|1990||J M Coetzee (Arts)||Age of Iron|
|K M Coleman (Arts)||Book IV of the Silvae of Statius|
|1989||H Bradford (Arts)||A Taste of Freedom|
|1988||R G Lass (Arts)||The Shape of English: Structure and History|
|1987||M J Hall (Arts)||The Changing Past: Farmers, Kings and Traders in Southern Africa, 200 - 1860|
|1986||L H Opie (Medicine)||The Heart: Physiology, Metabolism, Pharmacology and Therapy|
|1985||G M Branch (Science)||The Living Shores of South Africa|
|1984||J M Coetzee (Arts)||Waiting for the Barbarians|