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Welcome to SAAALP

The overarching aim of SAAALP is to provide like-minded South African academic literacy practitioners with a space to discuss key issues of the day; share ideas and insights into AL best practice; and form a supportive community of practice. Ultimately, we aim to increasingly professionalise the AL field in South Africa and ensure that students receive the best provision possible. This will also be a space for innovation and advice from fellow practitioners to ensure the future development of the field.

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Mission and Goals

The mission of SAAALP is to promote the professional development of academic literacy practitioners through research, professional meetings, sharing of best practices, and the formation of professional networks.

Our goals are to:

  • Host/facilitate academic literacy professional development meetings.

  • Collaborate with local and international bodies in the field of academic literacy.

  • Establish an academic literacy journal.

  • Host an annual academic literacy conference.

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Meet the Steering Committee

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Michelle Joubert

Founder and Steering Committee Member

Michelle is the head of the Academic Language and Literacy Development unit at the University of the Free State, South Africa. She has worked in the Academic Literacy field for almost 10 years and has experience of the South African, UK and American contexts. Her research interests lie in curriculum development, AL practitioner identity, multilingualism, and discipline-specific AL provision.

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Laura Drennan

Writing Centre SIG Leader and Steering Committee Member

Laura Drennan has worked in the field of academic literacy for more than 15 years. She specialises in academic literacy development, language testing, and academic writing. Her PhD, in English language studies and academic literacy development, focused on developing a theoretically justified writing intervention for tertiary students. Laura is a lecturer/researcher at the Unit for Academic Language and Literacy Development in the Centre for Teaching and Learning at the University of the Free State. She started and currently heads up the writing centre (Write Site) at the UFS.


Avasha Rambiritch

Writing Centre SIG Leader and Steering Committee Member

Avasha Rambiritch is a lecturer in the Unit for Academic Literacy at the University of Pretoria where she teaches a number of academic literacy and academic writing modules at undergraduate and postgraduate level. She is the coordinator of the writing centre. She has a PhD in Applied Linguistics (Language Practice) and has published research articles in accredited journals on language testing, academic writing and writing centre support, as well as co-authored chapters in books published by reputable publishers. Her research interests include academic writing, the operation of writing centres, and social justice in language testing.

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Brian Sibanda

Academic Literacy and Social Justice SIG Leader and Steering Committee Member

Brian Sibanda is a Researcher/Lecturer at the Centre for Teaching and Learning, University of the Free State. Sibanda is a member of the South African Association for Academic Literacy Practitioners (SAAALP), the English Academy of Southern Africa (EASA), and the Africa Decolonial Research Network (ADERN), a free alliance of scholars that research and write on decoloniality. He holds a PhD from the University of South Africa and has published a number of articles and book chapters on a range of topical issues such as decolonising language and academic literacy, social cohesion and social justice. Sibanda’s main research interests include the impact of global coloniality, theory of liberation, language development and literacies.

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Pineteh Angu

Steering Committee Member

Pineteh Angu is an associate professor and director of the Unit for Academic Literacy at the University of Pretoria. He obtained his postgraduate qualifications from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.  His research interests are: African migration and xenophobia in South Africa, migrant narratives and academic/professional literacies. He has published on African migrant experiences of displacement and emplacement; xenophobia/Afrophobia and the politics of belonging in South Africa. He has also written on the academic literacy and curriculum decolonisation in South African universities. He enjoys reading books on identity politics, postcolonial Africa and curriculum decolonisation in African universities as well as African literary texts.


Puleng Sefalane

Writing Centre SIG Leader and Steering Committee Member

Puleng Sefalane-Nkohla works at Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) as an Academic Literacy Lecturer with vast experience in leading and coordinating the Writing Centre at CPUT. Her interests are in student writing in higher education, second language writing, academic development of students, and leadership in higher education. Puleng holds two Masters degrees, one from the University of Free State (MA in Language Technology) and an MPhil in Higher Education from Stellenbosch University. She acquired the following qualifications from the University of the Western Cape: BA, HED (Post Graduate) B-Ed, and the Certificate in Supplemental Instruction from Nelson Mandela University.

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"Academic language is … no one’s mother tongue..."


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