UKZN Historian Keynote Speaker at UniZulu Graduation Ceremony
‘University education is looking, preparing, learning and, most important, allowing independence of thought; seeing the difference between truth and fiction. It is this human application, the marriage of human nature with acquired scholarship, which makes the humanities special but also affords it a lifeline for the future,’ said McCracken.
He spoke about the forthcoming “Graduate Destination Survey” which seeks to ascertain the employability of graduates completing their studies within the South African university system and, to determine the existing pathways from Higher Education into the labour market.
He advised every undergraduate to read the works of Zakes Mda and Mazizi Kunene. ‘African philosophy is as important to us in KwaZulu-Natal in 2014 as French philosophy was to Rousseau in 1774. But the novels of Gabriel Garcia Marquez are not a career end in themselves, but an important adjunct to a wider goal.
‘Applied Humanities as a concept is the key to the future and an applied humanities mind-set is now essential for any discipline head or dean of Arts/Humanities.’
‘If that means History becoming Heritage or French becoming Francophone-African studies (with a module or two in Marketing and Economics) so be it. The Humanities – the most Ubuntu-friendly of the university academic cohorts – have the ability, in some respects more so than the natural sciences, to transmogrify and adapt. At the end of the day, the Arts/Humanities are about people; and people are spirit; and spirit has never been the hand maiden of inertia,’ said McCracken.
- Melissa Mungroo