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Halim Gençoğlu
Assoc. Prof. Dr. University of Cape Town

After his undergraduate studies in Izmir, Halim Gençoğlu completed his master’s degree in religious studies at the University of Cape Town (UCT). His thesis focused on the religious activities of the Ottoman Islamic scholar Abu Bakr Effendi in South Africa in the nineteenth century, using South African, Ottoman, and other archival sources. He then enrolled for his PhD in Hebrew studies on “Socio-political Challenges of “Marginal” Religious Denominations: The Sabetai Sect as a Case Study.” He analyzed a controversial figure in history, the self-proclaimed Messiah, the Jewish Rabbi Shabbetai Tzvi. During his academic studies, he also conducted research on broader South African themes using both South African and Ottoman archival sources. During his archival research, he discovered that Dr. Muhammed Shukri Effendi was the first black medical student to graduate from UCT. This discovery was published on the UCT website on April 12, 2016. ( south-african-history) More recently, he discovered that the Bo-Kaap museum at 71 Wale Street actually belonged to the Ottoman Turkish religious scholar Mahmud Fakih Effendi. He is currently a Research Fellow in the Department of African Studies at the UCT, where he conducts research in African studies.