VC’s seminar shines spotlight on decolonisation and Africanisation

Decolonisation and Africanisation have become the talk of the town in the larger discussion about transformation in Higher Education country-wide, and similarly at the Tshwane University of Technology. During the 20th Vice-Chancellor’s Prestigious Research and Innovation Seminar Series hosted at the University late in September, the spotlight was shone on “Decolonisation and Africanisation: The Re-closing of the African Mind”.
Prof Lourens van Staden, Vice-Chancellor and Principal, welcomed the audience and alluded to enterprises that the University has initiated, mentioning the 2017 TUT Transformation Summit which was held earlier in September. 

“Our students are our future knowledge workers and leaders hence transformation is a vehicle to our future sustainability as a nation and continent. Progress will not be achieved by us simply agreeing with one another but it will happen through mutual, open-spirited engagement in striving for a tangibly equitable society and continent,” he said.

Prof Denis Ekpo, Professor of Comparative Literature and Director of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at the University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria, delivered a keynote address.

Prof Ekpo’s view is that decolonisation and Africanisation may be more counterproductive in response to the legacy of the African colonial past. He suggests that Post African theory might be a more suitable alternative as it is a more self-empowering and self-enlarging reinterpretation of coloniality and Africanity. He shared his own experience regarding an obsession with Africanism that led to extensive Africanisation in his home country, which excludes other worldviews that are essential in interactions within the globalised context.

“Africanity shouldn’t be a destination. It should rather be a temporary resting place of the mind in the journey to a universal human vocation. Post-Africanism aims to equip the younger generation of Africans with alternative narratives and newer ways of seeing the world, expanding their consciousness and leaving the singular dogmatic narratives of their forefathers,” he alluded.

Prof Ekpo also delivered a keynote presentation at the recent South African Visual Arts Historians (SAVAH) conference which was hosted by TUT’s Faculty of the Arts. 

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