DHHS Professor Simpson takes top honours at Humanities and Social Science Awards

Posted on April 08, 2022

The Department of Historical and Heritage Studies is exceptionally proud to announce that Professor Thula Simpson’s book entitled History of South Africa: From 1902 to the Present published in August 2021 won the prestigious National Institute for the Humanities and Social Science (NIHSS) award in the category best non-fiction book.  

The book traces the history of South Africa from the Union in 1910 to the Covid-19 global pandemic of the more recent past. As Prof Simpson indicates in the preface of the book: “South Africa was born in war, its growth has been marked by crises and ruptures, and it once again stands on a precipice”. 

According to the publisher, Penguin Random House, “With South Africa currently facing a crisis as severe as any in its history, the book shows that these challenges are neither unprecedented nor insurmountable, and that there are principles to be found in history that may lead us safely into the future”. It is a work of meticulous research that utilizes new archival documentation to reassess the history of the events and people that shaped this past.

Commenting on the book, Professor Xolela Mangcu of George Washington University praised it by stating it was: “Narrative history at its best. With prodigious detail and eloquent prose Simpson places Black South Africans at the centre of the country’s historical evolution and claims his place at the head table of contemporary historians. A masterpiece!” 

The Dean of the Faculty, Prof Vasu Reddy, congratulated Prof Simpson on this achievement indicating that it was indeed “outstanding news”.

We in the DHHS are equally proud of Prof Simpson’s sterling achievement.


- Author Prof Karen Harris

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