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Author Guidelines

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Southern African Humanities carries archaeological, anthropological, historical and material-cultural research relevant to southern Africa. All contributions are published in English. It is understood that manuscripts submitted to Southern African Humanities have not been published elsewhere or submitted to another journal for review. While there is no limit on the length of manuscripts, length should be appropriate for 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.


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.

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.

Preparation of manuscript

Initial Submission

Submit the manuscript via the Open Journal System website <>. Submit all components of the paper (text, tables, figures) as a single 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), postal address and email address, 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).

Consider the journal’s printed page size (127 × 192 mm) when preparing tables and illustrations. At this stage graphics may be of reduced quality, but sufficient for evaluation by the reviewers. Ensure each table/illustration is referred to in the text and numbered in that order. Provide captions for all tables and illustrations.

Final submission (after review)

Supply the final manuscript via the journal website <>. At this stage, the article text, illustration captions and tables 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 into 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 reproduced in another publication.

Illustration captions should be descriptive but not unnecessarily long. They should include information regarding the source of the image, e.g. the photographer/artist, archival reference, date and where the image was taken/what place it comes from. Include a scale or measurement where the subject of the image is an object.

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.


Use standard electronic graphic formats (e.g. .tif, .jpg, .eps and .pdf).

The minimum required resolution for photographs and other raster images is 400 dpi at print size. Maximum print size is 127 × 192 mm, which at the required resolution contains 2000 × 3024 pixels.

Line art (e.g. maps, graphs, site plans, artefact drawings) should be submitted in a standard vector format (e.g. .pdf or .eps - we can also work with Adobe and certain other proprietary formats). If supplied as a raster image, line art needs to be minimally 1200 dpi at print size (6000 × 9071 pixels at the maximum print size of 127 × 192 mm).

Please do not use your graphic programme to invent pixels.


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, unless there is good reason not to (very long author lists). 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 (if available), page or website title, date of ‘publication’ (if available) and <website address>. Include date of access. In text, cite using author/page and date, or, if more appropriate, <website page address>. Use the website title in place of author if the author is not obvious.

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

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.

Anderson, A.A. 1888 [1887]. Twenty-five years in a waggon: sport and travel in South Africa. 2nd edition. London: Chapman & Hall. [Book]

Burrett, R.S. 1998. Investigating Pfupi: a Later Stone Age industrial tradition in northeastern Zimbabwe. Masters dissertation. Johannesburg: 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]

Wiessner, P. 2014. Embers of society: firelight talk among the Ju|’hoansi Bushmen. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 111 (39): 14027–35. [Journal article]

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]

Interviews: Axel-Ivar Berglund, 2013. Nordic documentation on the liberation struggle in southern Africa. <>; site viewed 29 September 2017. [Website]

Gärdenfors, P. & Lombard, M. 2018. Causal cognition, force dynamics and early hunting technologies. Frontiers in Psychology 9: article 87, 10 pp. [Online journal]

Moffett, A. & Hall, S. (n.d.). Divining value: cowries, the ancestral realm and the global in southern Africa. Cambridge Archaeological Journal, 14 pp.; doi:10.1017/S0959774319000659. [Online FirstView article]

Archival references will vary according to the different cataloguing systems, author preference and the way the archival reference is being 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).

Fair Usage

Southern African Humanities allows authors to distribute the web version PDFs of their own published articles through recognized academic distribution platforms, such as and We reserve the right to ask you to take down the material if any distribution of your own material is found to violate any agreement between Southern African Humanities and its digital distribution partners.

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.

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