Decolonisation Discussion Series Features Three Doctoral Candidates
The School of Social Sciences launched their Decolonisation Discussion Series, with PhD candidates Ms Subashini Govender, Ms Angela Kavishe and Ms Asania Maphoto presenting under the theme: Can There be Decolonisation without Africanisation?
Academic Leader in the School, Professor Maheshvari Naidu said the idea was for the first session to be student led. ‘The three students were selected to be part of the School mobility programme with our MoU partner, the University of Botswana. They were the perfect candidates to share thoughts and ideas, drawing from their engagement with their own studies.’
Govender’s presentation focused on the need to decolonise the African mind, saying colonialism propagated a racial hierarchy system, which classified people as inferior or superior based on their “race”. ‘Africans were, over centuries, psychologically “gaslighted” into seeing themselves as the inferior “race”.’ She emphasised that decoloniality and Africanisation were imperative to restore the dignity, pride and positive identity of Africa while also highlighting the need to affirm the continent and its people in everyday life.
Kavishe’s presentation was on the restoration of African traditional culture. ‘Colonisation made Africans imitate European ways of thinking and acting, hence, Africans use foreign philosophies, epistemologies, and ontologies to interpret their realities which do not help to solve their own challenges,’ she said. ‘This calls for decolonisation and Africanisation at the same time because the African future can better be understood from the communal traditions of Africans themselves rather than using one-sided knowledge.’
She focused on various decolonisation attempts by Africans and called for an African political union, authenticity, and education for self-reliance.
Maphoto explored the imperative to decolonise African education, saying South Africa had ‘inherited the education of the oppressor that did not reveal the culture and authentic identity of Africans. Universities need to emphasise an awareness of indigenous knowledge systems as a factor in entrenching new knowledge in understanding societal needs through local languages substantially rooted in cultural, historical, economic and political contexts,’ she said.
This, she argued, could be achieved through tapping into the ontological discourse and narratives of the African people from their own point of view. ‘Africanisation is not about the exclusion of the Western knowledge but about inclusion of African culture, beliefs, knowledge production and dissemination. There is a need for African voices in the education of an African child,’ she added.
The presenters agreed that the session was knowledge sharing and that they had learned a lot from each other and from the comments and questions from the audience.
They were grateful to the School of Social Sciences for the opportunity.
Words: Melissa Mungroo