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Ilyaas Combrink

Ilyaas Combrink is an Historical Studies Honours student at the University of Cape Town and a History Access fellowship recipient for the 2021 academic year. Ilyaas majored in English and History in his BA undergraduate degree, and in 2020, completed his Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) specializing in these subjects at Stellenbosch University.

As a qualified educator, he is particularly interested in decolonization theories and the need for reform and revision of the current History curriculum. Ilyaas’ proposed areas of research reflect this passion, and his Honours thesis will be an evaluation of the nature of which precolonial histories of Southern Africa are taught within schools. This will be achieved by examining the methodological and pedagogical shifts that the Grade 10 theme “Transformations in Southern Africa after 1750” has undergone throughout the various curriculums and textbooks over past decades, with a particular emphasis on representations of the Mfecane Debate and the deconstruction and reconstruction of Shaka Zulu.

He decided to focus on this specific topic after noting that history educators often overlook themes that deal with the histories of the indigenous populations in South Africa in favour of traditional colonial histories covered in the CAPS curriculum. He will be working in close conjunction with his supervisors, Carolyn Hamilton and Cynthia Kros, the Archive and Public Culture (APC) initiative, as well as the digital 500 Year Archive and hopes to curate and develop a digital media resource that may aid educators in teaching this complex and intricate topic in a more innovative manner.

Outside of his formal research, Ilyaas founded an Instagram page, @HometownHistory.CT, which is in alignment of the APC’s call for innovative dissemination of new epistemological research through new media formats. He aims to stimulate public viewers into learning about Cape Town’s colonial past and their cultural heritage through the use of striking images and well-researched captions while scrolling.

His page can be found here: