CentRePoL was established at the beginning of 1998 in the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Pretoria with the aim of undertaking research in the politics of language, in particular in the Southern African context.
The term politics of language is used to refer to a broad area of interaction between language and the political life of communities.
The centre is a cross-linguistic, interdisciplinary institution. It is situated within the department of Afrikaans but the research it undertakes covers all languages and aspects of language use in Southern Africa, with a focus of native African languages.
Over the years it has carried out several research projects, all related to language politics.
Since 2008, it has focussed on language in education issues. Different projects have been undertaken in this respect, including the current one on literacy acquisition in Foundation Phase classrooms.