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UJ’s Africa Centre for Evidence decolonising evidence for development with Ubuntu

Coloniality has traditionally been associated with territorial control. As such, individuals capable of controlling research are the dominant voices setting the research agenda, and thus issues power in research discourses arise. This implies having research agendas that are owned locally, and employ local knowledge, including discussions on what assumptions are held about knowledge, values and beliefs for research in the Global South.

These were some of the views expressed during the Africa Centre for Evidence (ACE) webinar at the University of Johannesburg (UJ), held on Tuesday, 13 April 2021, under the theme ‘Decolonising evidence for development with Ubuntu’.


The event explored, with the Africa Evidence Network (AEN) fellows, their experiences on the growing drive around decolonising research and what this would mean for established methods, and for policy processes in the Global South. The webinar aimed to deconstruct and explore the overall theme of decolonising practices, and what it means for Africa, and collectively discuss its relevance to global discourses in challenging sustainability research.

“Using the alternative lens of Ubuntu enables us to celebrate the success of Southern evidence communities and to work together on a level footing with the North to tackle the challenges of poverty and inequality through better use of evidence”, said Prof Ruth Steward, UJ Director-Africa Centre for Evidence.

The panel of experts included: Prof Saurabh Sinha, UJ Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research and Internationalisation; Siziwe Ngwabe, Africa Evidence Network Senior Manager and Promise Nduku, Synthesis researcher-Africa Centre for Evidence.

The interactive contexualisation concluded by challenging the audience to figure out what this all means, the starting point would be to ask: What needs to be decolonised? From the broad spectrum of scientific methods, will the starting point be social science research methods? Is it data, research or researchers themselves who need to be ‘decolonised’

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