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African intellectuality undermined for far too long – Molefi Asante

The demand for decolonising education intensified at the University of Limpopo (UL)’s three-day Spring Lectures as various scholars emphasised the role of educational institutions in shaping and promoting the understanding of the world from an African perspective

The Spring Lectures are organised annually by the Faculty of Humanities as a platform for staff and students at both post- and under-graduate levels as well as emerging researchers and established scholars to read their papers.

The 2018 theme was “Calling for Transgressive and Constructionist Dialogue(s) on Africanisation and Decoloniality” in an attempt to identify opportunities and challenges in the application and implementation of Africanisation and Decoloniality thoughts and approaches on a number of fronts.

Widely regarded as the father of Afrocentricity, Professor Molefi Kete Asante’s plenary paper on “Curricula insurgency: Decolonising regimes of knowledge in an African university” uttered a state of urgency for African scholars to infuse indigenous knowledge into the curriculum.

He says intellectuality, languages and religious practices among many other valuable aspects in Africa have been undermined for too long. He explains: “To preserve African cultures, African universities in their disciplines should highlight some of the contributions of African heroes, scholars, kings, and queens into their lessons, and advocate for African ideas.”

Director of Africa-wide Centre for Advanced Studies of African Society (CASAS) Professor Kwesi Kwa Prah, in his opening plenary remarks, noted the use of African languages in education as one of the first factors of decolonising the curriculum. He adds that the languages are closely tied to cultures and the understanding of the world, and could ease the teaching and learning process as well as enhance comprehension levels. His plenary paper looked at the “Imperialism, Language and Decolonisation of Education.”

“Emerging journalists should maintain accuracy and fairness in their news reporting. Yet importantly, they should represent the divergent voices and cultures of the African people,” says a professor of Journalism in the Institute for African Renaissance Studies at the University of South Africa, Simphiwe Sesanti.

When presenting on “Afrocentric Journalism for Pan-Africanism and the African Renaissance: An Ethical Imperative”, Sesanti strongly believed that the media played a critical role in shaping societal ideologies and existing power structures.

Dr Makhosazana Rasana, Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Education at the Nelson Mandela University endorsed the idea of multilingualism in higher learning as one of decolonisation tools. She presented a paper during a plenary session entitled “Rethinking and re-positioning African languages in the South African higher education curriculum.”

Emerging scholars could not agree more, indicating that the decolonisation of education starts with a change to pedagogical approaches where African history and values are critically studied from African narratives and perspectives. One such a researcher is Charlotte Mogale, an English Honours student whose paper is entitled “African Oral Traditions: A study of Ruth Finnegan’s Oral Literature in Africa”.

Mogale says oral traditions were historically used as tools for transferring knowledge from one generation to the next “and are significant in embracing history and cultural traditions, customs and social norms in Africa.”

According to Director of School of Social Sciences Professor Sello Sithole, the Spring Lectures aimed to inculcate a culture of reading among the young and upcoming academics as well as to develop the next generation of academics and promoting networking among peer researchers.

Eighty-one papers were presented during the three-day proceedings, which culminated in a gala dinner as an award-giving ceremony for staff and students who were outstanding in the 2018 academic year.

The award categories were Most Resourceful Staff Member (eight staff members received R1000 each and academic bags), Best Male Researcher (R5000 and an academic bag), and Teaching and Learning Excellence (two received R5000 and an academic bag).
Date created:2018-09-17 09:03:40