UJ’s Prof Ihron Rensburg explores decolonisation at 2017 Mandela Education Legacy Lecture

Critical reflection about the nature of knowledge and how Africanism, and African thought, contribute to the transformation of the higher education landscape, are essential parts of the project of decolonisation. This was the sentiment of Professor Ihron Rensburg, the Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Johannesburg (UJ) on Monday, 18 September 2017.

Speaking at the annual Mandela Education Legacy Lecture, hosted by UJ’s Faculty of Education, the Postgraduate School, and the South African Education Research Association (SAERA), Prof Rensburg pointed out that the decolonisation epoch offers genuine opportunities to reimagine the future of higher education, as it opens windows of opportunity for imaginative, innovative and creative solutions that we are collectively exploring.

In his address, entitled The meaning of decolonising knowledge and universities – problems and opportunities, Prof Rensburg analysed literature, theory and politics, focused on the legacy of former President Mandela, and placed emphasis on the opportunities and challenges for Global Africa and reflected on the challenges and opportunities of decolonised education, and asked the question whether both the 1994 democratic settlement, and the current decolonisation moment represented real “epistemic breaks” or whether they form part, uncomfortably, of mere ‘rumours of decolonisation’.

Listen to Prof Rensburg’s full address.


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