Webinar Hosted on UKZN YouTube Channel by Mandela Institute
The Mandela Institute for Development Studies (MINDS) recently hosted a webinar to create awareness and revive the interests of the youth in Africa’s contribution to Science and Technology.
The Day of Africa’s Scientific Renaissance webinar on UKZN’s YouTube Channel was facilitated by MINDS Board Member, Ms Sarah Menker.
The event involved Mrs Graça Machel, MINDS Chairperson and the widow of former president Nelson Mandela; MINDS Founder, Dr Nkosana Moyo; UKZN’s Director of the DSI-NRF Centre in Indigenous Knowledge Systems (CIKS), Professor Hassan Kaya; AUDA-NEPAD Director of Programmes, Mr Amine Adoum; Director of Indigenous Knowledge-Based Technology Innovation Unit at the Department of Science and Innovation, Dr Aunkh Chabalala, and a member of Council at the University of South Africa, Professor Muxe Nkondo.
‘Let’s own the narrative of our history and achievements so that we can give our children the confidence and self-belief that they can do it as well, because it’s our responsibility to tell of our narrative from a perspective that comes from us,’ said Moyo.
The panelists focused on the need to promote “Africanness” as they reflected on African history, culture, heritage and indigenous knowledge systems.
Kaya examined the role of science in the context of indigenous knowledge systems and CIKS’s mandate to promote, protect and preserve indigenous knowledge. He highlighted CIKS’s conceptualisation of science as a pursuit of knowledge with historically, culturally and ecologically specific approaches to systematisation. Kaya also emphasised how colonialism had made one knowledge system or science dominant and marginalised others saying: ‘As long as there is a diversity of cultures globally, there is no one science.’
Adoum addressed the lack of good governance in Africa and the inability of leaders to provide a balanced, transparent and functional public sector, a factor that has had a negative impact on the private sector. He emphasised how a renaissance on the continent could be achieved through a functional public sector and a government that creates the conditions and infrastructure required to support the research and development of Science and Technology.
Nkondo provided insight on how African languages could be used strategically as a force of global solidarity and called on language policies to be reviewed around the world in order for Africa to be able to contribute to solving global problems, such as COVID-19.
Chabalala advocated for Africans to systematise indigenous knowledge systems, manufacture their own medicinal products and develop traditional healthcare to levels similar to China, Korea and Singapore. He urged Africans to claim their heritage as far back as they could, develop medical cosmologies that wisdom keepers can gain from, and to start teaching their children in their own languages. ‘Our kids need to know that there have been people who look like them since the beginning of time who have led medical and scientific research,’ Chabalala said.
Machel thanked the panellists and everyone who participated in the discussion. In closing she said: ‘Take ownership of your capabilities as Africans and show young minds that it is possible.’
Words: Hlengiwe Khwela