School of Social Sciences Sends Delegation to University of Botswana
Under the guidance of Acting Dean of UKZN’s School of Social Sciences, Professor Vivian Ojong, and Academic Leader for Research, Professor Maheshvari Naidu, a cohort of five doctoral students visited the University of Botswana (UB).
The students were accompanied by staff members, Drs Christina Kgari-Masondo and Fikile Vilakazi, two early career researchers nominated to attend the presentations. The visit was one of the fruits of the recent Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the School of Social Sciences and UB.
The delegation attended a two-day Decolonisation Workshop presented by several senior academics at UB, under the direction of Dean of Humanities, Professor Andy Chebanne and Professor Nathan Mnjama.
The students were unanimous in their appreciation of the experience offered to them by the School of Social Sciences and the University of Botswana.
Ms Subashini Govender enjoyed the scholarly exchange. ‘The workshop was intensive and impactful in addressing all aspects of research, including using decolonisation as a paradigm for social science research.’
Mr Shingirai Mugambiwa added, ‘The visit to Botswana was an empowering experience. The major debate was on the need to initiate a paradigm shift from Eurocentric to Afrocentric theories and methodologies. Apart from the presentations, we had an opportunity to share our experiences with PhD students from UB.’
Mr Star Radebe highlighted to need to embrace the notion of decoloniality, not as a threat to other epistemologies, but as the epistemologies of other people in a humanising way. Ms Asania Maphoto shared that, she was impressed by a presentation by Professor Bagele Chilisa on indigenous research methodology: ‘I learned that Africans also have good ways of collecting data but we end up ignoring them. I believe even my supervisor will notice an improvement in my work.’
Mrs Angela Kavishesaid the spirit of academic mentorship inspired her.
The early career academics were equally open in their praise of UB and the experience.
Vilakazi said, ‘I appreciated the UB presentations and how they profoundly took us to a place of real thinking about decoloniality in the context of research. Coming to Botswana as part of this team has deepened my consciousness.’ Kgari- Masondo remarked, ‘The MOU between UKZN and UB is a great opportunity to allow emerging lecturers like myself to be empowered in all areas of our lives.’
Ojong noted that, ‘the reflections of the students indicated how student mobility and collaboration with other African institutions can serve as catalysts for the learning process.’ She added that she is looking forward to hosting UB students at UKZN.
Words: Melissa Mungroo