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Best Article by an Emerging Scholar

South African Journal on Human Rights

About the prize

The South African Journal on Human Rights (SAJHR) Best Article by an Emerging Scholar is an award offered each year to honour outstanding scholarship of an emerging researcher or researchers, in the case of a co-published article, case note or current development. The Best Article will be selected by the Award Committee from the previous year’s SAJHR issues.

The Best Article award serves as a recognition of outstanding scholarship, to encourage high quality submissions from emerging scholars to the SAJHR, and to promote the academic profile of such scholars.

Founded in 1985 by the Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS) and housed at the School of Law, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, the SAJHR is the leading South African public law journal, publishing scholarship of the highest standard for a worldwide readership. The Journal appears four times a year and is published by CALS and Taylor & Francis.

The selected Emerging Scholar will be awarded a prize (choice of cash or a Routledge/Taylor & Francis book voucher) up to the value of R2,500 by the SAJHR. The Award may be split for a co-authored article where all co-authors are considered emerging scholars.

The Award Committee will consist of two South African Journal on Human Rights editors and a human-rights scholar.

Submissions information


All original articles, case notes and current development pieces and case notes published by emerging scholars in the preceding year’s SAJHR issues will be considered for the Award. Book reviews will not be considered for the Award.

Those 40 years and younger, currently a PhD Candidate or within 5 year of receiving their PhD at the time of article publication, and with recognisable potential to establish themselves as researchers in their fields, will be considered for the emerging scholar award.


The Award Committee meets early in the year to review the original articles published by emerging scholars in all the previous year’s issues of the South African Journal on Human Rights, and decide on the Award recipient(s). The decision will be announced in the first half of the year, and a record of the award published in the second issue of the year. The winning article will be made free to access for six months following the announcement of the Award. The decision of the Award Committee is final.

Submit a Manuscript

Announcement: Winner of 2019 Award

The 2019 winner of the award for the Best Article by an Emerging Scholar is Dr Nkanyiso Sibanda, a lecturer at the University of the Western Cape and advocate of the High Court of South Africa, for his article entitled ‘Amending section 25 of the South African Constitution to allow for expropriation of land without compensation: some theoretical considerations of the social-obligation norm of ownership’. Responding to the key question relating to the motion to expropriate land without compensation, the article suggests that the social-obligation norm theory of ownership should be the underlying guide for amending section 25 of the Constitution of South Africa, 1996. Sibanda argues that since land ‘is a unique form of property from which we derive our livelihood, whatever constitutional amendments that might be adopted to allow for its expropriation without compensation should ensure that it is ultimately utilised actively, productively and sustainably’. 

Comprising two SAJHR editors and an external judge – Professor Charles Maimela, Deputy dean of the Law Faculty at the University of Pretoria and Editor in Chief of the law journal De Jure – the Award Committee found that Sibanda’s article speaks to a pertinent and current human rights issue and socio-economic circumstances facing South Africa and advances scholarship and discussion on an important and topical issue. 

With a strong and relevant theoretical underpinning that is clearly unpacked, the article is well researched and clearly sets out its arguments, which engage with a wide field of pertinent scholarship. Sibanda’s suggestions would be relevant to current discussions on the amendment of Section 25 and in relation to advancing social justice in the context of land expropriation. 

The SAJHR’s Editorial Board congratulates Dr Sibanda.

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