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Three Days of Intellectual Introspection to Decolonise UJ Curriculum

This year, in celebration of Youth Month, 35 prominent intellectuals of African descent will convene at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) for a three-day conference with aims to make significant contributions to UJ’s efforts to decolonise the academic curriculum.

From Friday, 16 to Sunday, 18 June 2017, scholars from the rest of Africa, the Caribbean, the United States, Canada, and Europe, will present papers on topics such as: reparations, the rise and fall of Pan-Africanism, pioneers of Pan-Africanism, politicians and activists, historians, economists, sociologists, the literati, and musical activists, sharing lessons from 35 members of the Pan-African pantheon.

This conference will also commemorate the Soweto youth uprising of 16 June 1976 against the apartheid education. The conference is designed to contribute substantively to UJ’s and other South African universities’ efforts to decolonise the academic curriculum, and to ensure that the epistemology of the universities’ programmes reflect its African context.

The presenters will make assessments of the intellectual thinking and contributions of historical and contemporary figures such as Pixley ka Seme, Chimamanda Adichie, Maya Angelou, Kwame Nkrumah, Robert Sobukwe, Thabo Mbeki, Malcolm X, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Frantz Fanon, Steve Biko, Miriam Makeba, and Bob Marley, among others.

Professor Adekeye Adebajo, Director: Institute for Pan African Thought and Conversation (IPATC) at UJ, says that this conference will help put together a book that will steer efforts in decolonising education. “We hope to contribute to knowledge production, to convincing South Africa of its African identity, and to building a strong, revived Pan-African civil society movement,” says Prof Adebajo.

This project represents an ambitious effort to create a “Johannesburg School of Pan-Africanism” that can revive Pan-Africanism as a civil society movement linking actors from Africa and its Diaspora.

The Pan-African Pantheon conference will take place at the UJ Arts Centre, Auckland Park Kingsway Campus.

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