Decolonizing knowledge: African scholarship for the African Renaissance

Recent calls for decolonization of knowledge have re-emphasised the need for the production of knowledge that is not only centred on Africa, but also produced by Africans. Hosted by the University of Johannesburg’s (UJ) Department of Politics and International Relations and the UJ Institute for Pan-African Thought and Conversation, a panel discussion on 8th September 2016 saw scholars and academics from abroad and South Africa contributing their viewpoints in decolonizing knowledge.

The objectives of the event were to question the continued marginalisation of African scholarship and identify ways of redress; to resituate and affirm some of the key thinkers that have shaped African scholarship; the role of the intellectual in a new agenda setting; and fostering ‘ethical transformative leadership’.

Prof Sheila Bunwaree, Chair of African Studies, University of Mauritius, noted that Africa has “for too long been studied through foreign lenses” and called on Africans to “deepen our understanding and appreciation of the continent, to further our reflections on our African identity as well as revisit the role we can play in advancing the continent’s goals and lofty ideals.”

Speakers at the panel discussions included Prof Sheila Bunwaree, Chair of African Studies: University of Mauritius; Prof Adebayo Olukoshi, Regional Director: International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, Sweden; Prof Pat McFadden, Visiting Professor: Thabo Mbeki Leadership Institute, UNISA; Mr Tshepo Moloi, PhD Candidate: University of Johannesburg; Prof Mohamed Salih, Institute for Social Studies Leiden University, Netherlands; and Prof Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gatsheni, Archie Mafeje Research Institute, UNISA.

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