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Author Guidelines

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Southern African Humanities is a peer-reviewed, multidisciplinary journal that prioritizes research articles with a material-culture focus in Archaeology, Anthropology, History and related fields. It is concerned with southern Africa but encourages research that addresses the broader context within which southern African topics lie. Research is defined as "original, systematic investigation undertaken in order to gain new knowledge and understanding" (as per the Research Outputs Policy of the South African Department of Higher Education and Training, 2015).

All contributions are published in English. Manuscripts submitted to Southern African Humanities should not have been published elsewhere, nor submitted concurrently to another journal for review. There is no limit on the length of manuscripts, but length should be appropriate to the topic. Finalized articles are published electronically at intervals during the course of a year. Physical copies are printed once a year. You may submit an article for consideration to us at any time, but there are likely to be delays in response time over the December/January period. Southern African Humanities is committed to being a vehicle for quality research and follows best practice in scholarly journal publishing, including (but not limited to) points included below.


The Editorial Committee uses a triage process on initial submission. If the submission is deemed unsuitable, it is returned to the author without being sent out to peer-review. If the submission is deemed suitable, it is sent for peer-review.

Southern African Humanities employs a ‘single-blind’ review process: referees are anonymous but the author is known.

Submissions are sent out to a minimum of two referees. Authors are invited to suggest suitable referees when they submit an article. Referees are required to disclose any potential or real conflict of interest they may have, as well as any bias in relation to the subject matter.

The Editorial Committee reserves the right to make the final decision as to whether or not to publish the submission. Reasons for rejection include but are not limited to, the failure of authors to respond adequately to referee comments, further opinion on the scope of the submission, failure to adhere to author guidelines, and tardy responses to editorial requests.

At any point in the review process, the Editorial Committee may elect to withdraw and reject the submission. In these cases, all rights regarding the submission revert back to the author.

Editing assistance

A copyediting service is built into our editorial process to ensure language correctness and alignment with our style. We also provide basic support for the preparation or conversion of illustrations. If a manuscript requires deeper editing, we offer additional text and image services at reasonable rates on request/as required.


Initial Submission

Submit the manuscript via the Open Journal Systems website <>. Submit all components of the paper (text, tables, figures) as a single, integrated file to facilitate the refereeing process.

The manuscript should be in 12 pt font and 1.5 spaced. Give full details of the title, name(s) of author(s), institutional affiliation, email address and ORCID (optional), each on a separate line.

Ensure that all pages are numbered, starting with the title page. Provide line numbers for the entire manuscript (restarting the numbering on each page).

An abstract of not more than 200 words should summarize the essence of the paper. Avoid references in the abstract. Provide a set of up to 12 key words or phrases (index terms).

Ensure each table/illustration is referred to in the text and numbered in that order. At this stage graphics may be of reduced quality, but sufficient for evaluation by the reviewers. Provide captions for all tables and illustrations.

Final submission (after review)

Supply the final manuscript via the journal website <>. At this stage, the article  components (text, illustrations, captions, tables, supplementary material) should be supplied as separate files. The text should follow the journal style, including:

No italics for abbreviated Latin terms such as et al., e.g., i.e., cf., ibid., c., viz., and so on.

Single quotation marks for quoted text and to highlight words, and double quotation marks for quotes within quotes. Quotations longer than 35 words should be set apart from the text in an indented block without quotation marks. Square brackets should be used for editorial insertions placed within direct quotes.

In-text references to illustrations and tables as follows: Fig. 1; Figs 1–3; Table 1. The order of the figures should follow the order in which they are mentioned in the text. Use lower case (fig., figs, table, pl., pls) when referring to items in other publications.

At this stage notes should be provided as footnotes rather than endnotes (we will do the conversion in the layout phase). If the paper was presented at a conference, this can be indicated in footnote 1, added at the end of the article's title.


Captions should be descriptive but not unnecessarily long and without stating the obvious. They should include information regarding the source of the image (e.g. photographer, artist, image holder, archival reference), place where the image was taken (if applicable) and the date, as well as appropriate credits (e.g. image author, copyright holder). Where the subject of the image is an object, it can be useful to include a scale or measurement.

Consider the journal’s printed page size (127 × 192 mm) when preparing tables and illustrations.

PHOTOGRAPHS AND SHADED IMAGES (raster images): The minimum resolution required is 400 dpi (2000 × 3024 pixels at max. print size of 127 × 192 mm). Acceptable formats include high-quality (uncompressed) jpeg and tiff.

LINE DRAWINGS (e.g. graphs, site plans, diagrams): Should be supplied in a standard vector format such as pdf or eps; we can also work with Adobe and some other proprietary formats. If supplied as a raster image, the minimum required resolution is 1200 dpi (6000 × 9071 pixels at max. print size of 127 × 192 mm).

MIXED IMAGES (raster and vector): In the case of raster images with vector additions such as text or shapes, please supply the plain (unmodified) base raster images as well as the marked-up versions (for us to be able to edit the vector additions as needed).


Southern African Humanities uses the Harvard author-date system. Arrange citations in the text by date from earliest to latest. References within the text are as follows: (Davies 1974; Ngubane 1977; Deacon & Deacon 1999; Jolles 2001); Cooke (1963); Wright and Hamilton (1989); (Kuper 1980, 1982; Maggs 1984a, b); Jacobson et al. (1991). For quotes and specific ideas within texts, cite page numbers as follows: (Dlamini 2001: 127).

List all publications cited in the text in full in the list of references. Arrange authors in alphabetical order, with multiple papers by the same author arranged chronologically. Cite all authors, except with very long author lists: if ten or more, truncate after the eighth and add 'et al.'; if nine, include all nine. Do not capitalize words unnecessarily. Give names of journals in full. Contract page number ranges in the text as well as the list of references (e.g. 21–27 should be 21–7, 14027–14035 should be 14027–35).

List website citations alphabetically according to author, date of ‘publication’ (if available) and <website address>. Include date of access. In text, cite using author and date. If the author is not obvious, use the website organisation/name/title.

Treat each reference as a separate paragraph. Please DO NOT insert hard returns, tabs, extra spaces, etc. into the reference.

Reference list examples

For references that don't fit into the format of any of the examples provided below, please follow the examples as closely as possible but adapt as required. A reference should contain enough information for a reader to locate the source themselves. It should also take into account the elements/structure recommended by the publisher.

Mguni, S. 2015. Termites of the gods: San cosmology in southern African rock art. Johannesburg: Wits University Press. [Book, first edition]

Vinnicombe, P. 2009 (1976). People of the Eland: rock paintings of the Drakensberg Bushmen as a reflection of their life and thought. 2nd edition. Johannesburg: Wits University Press. [Book, subsequent edition]

Berglund, A.-I. 1976. Zulu thought-patterns and symbolism. Reprint, 1989. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. [Book, reprint (reflecting the new publisher)]

Douglas, M. 2002 (1966). Purity and danger: an analysis of concepts of pollution and taboo. Reprint, 2006. London: Routledge Classics. [Book, reprint of subsequent edition]

Burrett, R.S. 1998. Investigating Pfupi: a Later Stone Age industrial tradition in northeastern Zimbabwe. MSc dissertation, University of the Witwatersrand. [Masters dissertation or doctoral thesis]

Dlamini, N. 2001. The Battle of Ncome project: state memorialism, discomforting spaces. Southern African Humanities 13: 125–38. [Journal article]

Deacon, J. & Skotnes, P. (eds) 2014. The courage of ||kabbo: celebrating the 100th anniversary of the publication of Specimens of Bushman Folklore. Johannesburg: Jacana. [Edited book]

Van de Merwe, N.J. 1975. Cannabis smoking in 13–14th century Ethiopia. In V. Rubin (ed.), Cannabis and culture. The Hague: Mouton, pp. 77–80. [Chapter in edited book]

Peace Parks Foundation, 2021. Maloti-Drakensberg. <>; site viewed 23 December 2022. [Website]

Gärdenfors, P. & Lombard, M. 2018. Causal cognition, force dynamics and early hunting technologies. Frontiers in Psychology 9: article 87, 10 pp. [Online journal article – include volume & article no. + no. of pages if available]

Moffett, A. & Hall, S. 2020. Divining value: cowries, the ancestral realm and the global in southern Africa. Cambridge Archaeological Journal, 14 pp.; DOI: 10.1017/S0959774319000659. [Online FirstView/Ahead of Print/Online only article – include no. of pages + DOI]

Moffett, A. & Hall, S. 2020. Divining value: cowries, the ancestral realm and the global in southern Africa. Cambridge Archaeological Journal 30 (2): 313–26. [Once page number range or article number are available the DOI is no longer necessary.]

Jolly, P. 2014. Sonqua: southern San history and art after contact. Self-published. Available at: <>. [Online self-published]

Archival references will vary according to the different cataloguing systems, author preference and the way the archival reference is used in the text, but should supply whatever information is required for a reader to retrace the source and follow the author/date format as far as possible. Examples:

Fouché, L. 1933. Letter to J.C. Knobel, 24 August 1933. Archive ref. UP/AGL/D/201. Pretoria: Mapungubwe Archive, University of Pretoria. [Archive]

Lloyd, L. 1875. Notebook V–8, ‘Bushman (D. H.)[Diä!kwain]’. The Digital Bleek and Lloyd. <>; site viewed 23 March 2019. [Online archive] The in-text reference would then be: ... Diä!kwain (Lloyd 1875: 4617½) ....

Digital Bleek and Lloyd (n.d.). Centre for Curating the Archive, Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town. <>, site accessed 2019–2020. [Online archive] The in-text reference would then be: ... (Digital Bleek and Lloyd (hereafter DB&L)) ... (||kabbo, DB&L: L.II.6: 628 rev.–630).


Sources of funding and support should be stated as well as institutional support bases other than the author's current affilation (e.g. in cases where authors have changed institutions during the course of research).

Address correspondence to

The Editor, Southern African Humanities, KwaZulu-Natal Museum, P. Bag 9070, Pietermaritzburg, 3200 South Africa;; <>


When preparing your manuscript for the initial submission, please follow the Author Guidelines closely. If these guidelines are not followed we will send materials back to you for modification. Please feel free to suggest possible reviewers in the Comments for the Editor box when submitting an article.


If special characters feature in the metadata pertaining to your article (Title, Abstract or Keywords), they might cause the metadata page to hang. If this happens, please simply redo the submission with a note as a placeholder in these fields to us to alert us of the issue, and we will pick the correct Title, Abstract and Keywords up from the article itself on our side.

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