Prof Christa Rautenbach (centre) with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the Alexander von Humboldt (AVH) Foundation’s Alumni Awards function. Photo: Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.


Breaking news


Prof Christa has just been awarded a fellowship from the Kӓte Hamburger Center for Advanced Study in Humanities: Law Culture in Bonn, Germany.


Starting in August 2020, the fellowship entails a research project that contributes to an understanding of law at a time when the world’s normative orders have become subject to rapid globalisation.


Lecturer's networking earns her German fellowships

Networking is not only a valuable tool to engage peers and colleagues, it can also provide access to much-needed resources and be pivotal in promoting rights. In short, networking can change lives.

Prof Christa Rautenbach, NWU alumna and law lecturer whose innovative network initiative aims to make a difference in the lives of women in patriarchal societies, received an Alumni Award from Germany’s Alexander von Humboldt (AVH) Foundation earlier this year.


Where it all started


Christa’s affiliation with the AVH Foundation, which promotes academic cooperation, started in 2006 when she was awarded its coveted Georg Forster Research Fellowship to spend a year in Germany for research. She was one of only a few successful applicants.


After completing that fellowship, she became an alumna of the AVH Foundation and has promoted academic and cultural relations between South Africa and Germany through her various networking initiatives.


Women facing the ‘glass ceiling’


Christa has established a Traditional Governance and Women Network consisting of researchers from Germany, South Africa, Zambia and the Netherlands. They connect in their various countries and shed light on the tension between traditional forms of government and gender issues.


Christa says her network aims to provide answers to various questions.

These questions include how women can help shape societies that are still governed by patriarchal forms of authority and institutions – for instance how can women participate equally in leadership positions which are generally reserved for the senior male members of royal families?


No stranger to Germany


Christa has now nearly completed a current six-month fellowship in Germany, where she has been furthering her research thanks to the foundation.


During her fellowship she worked at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law in Hamburg. Two of her doctoral students, Allison Geduld and Caroline Muller van der Westhuizen, also joined her in Germany after the AVH Foundation sponsored them to do research under her supervision.




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Prof Christa Rautenbach holds the following degrees from the NWU:


  • BJuris (cum laude) (1984-1985)
  • LLB (cum laude) (1986-1987)
  • LLM (1993-1995)
  • LLD (1996-2001)

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