Carl Schlettwein Lecture
The annual distinguished lecture of the ZASB is held in remembrance of Carl Schlettwein, who played an important part in the development of African Studies in Basel and in the establishment of our Centre. His moral support was supplemented by the generous and farsighted assistance he gave to these activities.
Past Carl Schlettwein Lectures
The Carl Schlettwein Lectures are published as a series by Lit Verlag (2005-2012) and Basler Afrika Bibliographien (from 2014):
Toyin Falola (Carl Schlettwein Lecture 2022)
Francis B. Nyamnjoh (Carl Schlettwein Lecture 2019)
Brian Larkin (Carl Schlettwein Lecture 2018)
Mirjam de Bruijn (Carl Schlettwein Lecture 2017)
Nelson Kasfir (Carl Schlettwein Lecture 2016)
Ellen Namhila (Carl Schlettwein Lecture 2015)
AbdouMaliq Simone (Carl Schlettwein Lecture 2014)
Lungisile Ntsebeza (Carl Schlettwein Lecture 2013)
Mamphela Ramphele (Carl Schlettwein Lecture 2012)
Nancy Rose Hunt (Carl Schlettwein Lecture 2011)
Jo Beall (Carl Schlettwein Lecture 2010)
Trudy Harpham (Carl Schlettwein Lecture 2009)
Yacouba Konaté (Carl Schlettwein Lecture 2008)
Robin Law (Carl Schlettwein Lecture 2007)
Matthias Winiger (Carl Schlettwein Lecture 2006)
Jean Comaroff, John Comaroff (Carl Schlettwein Lecture 2005)
Dr. h.c. Carl Schlettwein (1925-2005)
Carl Schlettwein was born in Mecklenburg in 1925 and emigrated to South Africa in 1952. Until 1963 he lived in South West Africa, the former German colony that was then under South African administration. When he married Daniela Gsell he moved to Basel.
In 1971 Schlettwein founded the Basler Afrika Bibliographien (BAB) as a library and publishing house in order to allow international institutions to access bibliographic information on South West Africa (Namibia). Accordingly, he published the first national bibliography on this African country. Through these activities the BAB contributed to documenting and researching a nation with a particularly difficult history. Other publications dealt with historical, literary and geo-methodological topics, and included titles on Swiss-African relations. From an individualistic private initiative, the BAB developed into an institution open to the public and became a cornerstone of the ZASB. As the Namibia Resource Centre – Southern Africa Library the institution is of world-wide importance.
The Carl Schlettwein Foundation, which was founded in 1994, runs the BAB and supports students and projects in Namibia as well as in other Southern African countries. In 2001, the Carl Schlettwein Foundation funded the establishment of the Chair of African History, providing the basis for today’s professorship in African History and the African Studies programme at the University of Basel. The Foundation works closely with the ZASB to provide support for teaching and research and in 2016 it enabled the Centre to establish a position on Namibian and Southern African Studies.
The University of Basel honoured Carl Schlettwein with an honorary doctorate in 1997.
Dr. Veit Arlt
Centre for African Studies Basel
Tel: +41 61 207 34 86