Transition to democracy

  • September 19, 2012
Transition to democracy

Danelle van Zyl-Hermann has won a prestigious history prize in South Africa linked to her PhD on the transition from apartheid to democracy in South Africa.

A Gates Cambridge Scholar has been awarded first prize for the best student contribution at the Historical Association of South Africa’s biennial conference.

Danelle van Zyl-Hermann [2010] was awarded the prize for a paper she presented at the conference in Pretoria about a part of the PhD research she is conducting at Cambridge.

The Historical Association of South Africa (HASA), founded in 1956, is the oldest academic historical society in South Africa.

The 2012 Biennual Conference was hosted by the University of Pretoria under the theme “Doing History” and attracted participants from across Southern Africa, Europe, the United Kingdom, the USA and Japan. It focused in particular on the new generation of young historians.

The Association says the best student paper was chosen according to the following criteria: an original argument, based on original research, which is systematically presented. The papers were judged by a committee consisting of Prof Johan Bergh (University of Pretoria, South Africa), Dr Barbara Henkes (University of Groningen, The Netherlands) and Dr Lindie Koorts (University of Pretoria, South Africa).

Danelle’s PhD focuses on the transition period from apartheid to democracy. She is interested in studying Afrikaner identity, particularly working class Afrikaners. Her research work to date has centred around the history of emotions. She believes the history of the emotions is underexplored in South Africa and has spoken at universities there to introduce the subject to students. “People prefer economic histories, for instance, but it is crucial to understand how ordinary people felt,” she says.

Latest News

Tracing the origins of our political beliefs

What makes some people more vulnerable to extremism than others? How do we build cognitive resilience against extreme ideologies? And how does the brain react to misinformation on social media? These are some of the key political questions that political neuroscientist Leor Zmigrod [2016] is exploring, putting the science into our understanding of radicalisation.   Leor […]

A leading woman in STEAM

A Gates Cambridge Scholar has been selected as one of the 75 leading women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics in India. Yama Dixit will feature in the second edition of the book She Is, published by the Red Dot Foundation in partnership with the Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser, Government of India to mark 75 […]

Tackling the obesity epidemic in Africa

When she left school, Paula-Peace James-Okoro [2022] intended to become a medical doctor, but after starting a degree in Biochemistry she discovered a passion for the subject and for using it to address one of the major health challenges facing Africa – obesity. She says: “In Africa, the rates of metabolic diseases, like obesity and […]

Triple win for Bill Gates Sr. Prize

For the first time three Gates Cambridge Scholars are sharing this year’s Bill Gates Sr. Prize in recognition of their outstanding research and social leadership. Kim van Daalen, Reetika Subramanian and Cynthia Okoye have been selected for the prize which was established by the Gates Cambridge Trustees in June 2012 in recognition of the late […]