Mary Elizabeth Lange

Mary Elizabeth Lange

Honorary Professor

Contact Number 082-652-7091
Campus Howard College Campus
Last Updated 6 months ago


Dr Mary E. Lange is an independent arts, culture and heritage practitioner, researcher (MeL) and author. She is a research affiliate at the Centre for Communication, Media and Society, University of KwaZulu-Natal. Mary has developed, facilitated and assessed community programmes, both independently and as part of ARROWSA (Reg 088-058 NPO), with local, provincial, national and international museums for over 25 years. Her heritage interest focuses on oral heritage, applied storytelling and public archaeology particularly for fostering intercultural understanding and social change.

Degrees Held

  • Doctor of Philosophy (Cultural and Media Studies),
    Culture, Communication and Media CCMS, UKZN
    Thesis title: Spirituality, well-being, memory and the future, in applied
    storytelling: A comparison of two “Sites of Conscience Museums”. namely the Museum of Free Derry, Northern Ireland and District Six Museum, South Africa Supervisor: Prof R.E. Teer-Tomaselli, 2018. Funded by NIHSS and UKZN.
  • Master of Arts in Cultural and Media Studies (cum laude), CCMS, UKZN, 2006 Bachelor of Arts Honours in Cultural and Media Studies (cum laude) CCMS, University of Natal, Durban, 2003.
  • Bachelor of Arts Majors: English (distinction), Psychology, 2000. Archaeology 111 UNISA non-degree purposes, 2000.
  • Licentiate (Teachers) Speech and Drama, Trinity College, London, 1980.
  • Performing Arts (Drama), Pretoria Technikon, 1979.
  • Practical internship as heritage practitioner in public archaeology, oral narratives and community engagement in the Northern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal with Gavin Whitelaw, Pietermaritzburg Museum and Prof David Morris, McGregor Museum, Kimberley, 1999-2019.

Research Interests

  • Visual anthropology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Applied Heritage and tourism
  • Oral history, narratives and stories
  • Public/social archaeology
  • Rock art and community engagement
  • Cultural and visual literacy
  • Arts, culture and heritage for social change
  • Social change communication
  • Museums
  • Applied theatre and drama-in-education.

Teaching Interests

  • Rock art and tourism
  • Visual anthropology
  • Social change communication

Selected Publications

Community Engagement

Teaching Expertise

  • 2023: Lectures and workshops. Applied storytelling, heritage and museums (10 to 12 October 2023) for adults attending the international Island Breeze, Principles of Redeeming Cultures School (accredited course) facilitated by South Roots International at Cape Town and Worcester, W. Cape.
  • 2019: Lectures and individual supervision. Public Speaking (6 to 7 August 2019) and Applied Indigenous Knowledge Systems (30 September to 2 October 2019) lectures for adults attending the international Island Breeze, Principles of Redeeming Cultures School facilitated by South Roots International at Pelican Park, Cape Town.
  • 2014 (ongoing) Co-ordinator and facilitator of archaeological educational programmes. Funded by WESSA (the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa) Highway Branch co- ordinated natural and cultural heritage educational programmes led by Mel: arts, culture and heritage and ARROWSA, Palmiet Nature Reserve Committee and eThekwini Municipality parks, leisure and recreation department. Facilitation includes educational programmes at the Palmiet Nature Reserve and the Bergtheil Museum as part of the eThekwini Local History Museums’ Passbook Competition project. Facilitated the archaeological section of the programmes to the Palmiet Nature Reserve iGwalagwala Cliff archaeological site and the related exhibit at the Bergtheil Museum.
  • 2012: Contract lecturer for CFPD at Culture, Communication and Media in Society (CCMS), UKZN Second semester.
  • 2011-2012: Lecturer – Indigenous rock art Module CHTM 305 for Cultural heritage and tourism, UKZN.
  • 2002-2010 Guest lecturer –Visual Anthropology postgraduate course; 2007 Anthropology 1st year; 2007 visiting USA students and staff; translator and interpreter Afrikaans on Kalahari trips.
  • 2009: Lecturer of Communication Science 1, Varsity College, Westville .
  • 1996-1997: Acting Museum educational officer. Vaalteknorama Museum, Vereeniging. Duties included the creation and facilitation of new educational programmes curriculum relevant that would reflect the diversity of the area and training and supervising student educational programme assistants. The research, development and direction of applied theatre programmes for the museum and the Pretoria Flagship Museum, for example, a translation into English and dramatic adaptation of a high school textbook on the Khoekhoen.
  • 1979-1988: Speech and drama teacher. Founded own speech and drama studio (Mary Fisher) for individual and group tuition for oral English, matric English literature and tuition of children to adults for grades to licentiate, UNISA and Trinity College, London speech and drama exams. Taught speech and drama as part of the school curriculum to Gr 4 to 7 learners, extra-curricular creative drama classes, Gr 7 English and directed yearly school play including all senior primary pupils at Loreto Convent Junior School, Queenswood, Pretoria.

Student Supervision