Achille Mbembe from the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (Wiser) gave a series of talks entitled "Decolonizing Knowledge and the Question of the Archive". My friend Viv Bozalek drew it to my attention. I think it is wonderful. Mbembe begins the talk by referring to the Rhodes Must Fall campaign, and says that the need to remove statues of colonizers such as Cecil John Rhodes is obvious, and that what is surprising is that it did not happen earlier. He argues for a new kind of institution in which buildings and public spaces are decolonised, and where there is "democratisation of access". Here is one of my favorite sentences:
We need to reconcile a logic of indictment and a logic of self-affirmation, interruption and occupation.
- And relevant for our focus on a socially just pedagogy, he does on to say, "This requires the conscious constitution of a substantial amount of mental capital and the development of a set of pedagogies we should call pedagogies of presence". I will quote a bit more, rather than to cannibalise what he has written: "Another site of decolonization is the university classroom. We cannot keep teaching the way we have always taught. A number of our institutions are teaching obsolete forms of knowledge with obsolete pedagogies. Just as we decommission statues, we should decommission a lot of what passes for knowledge in our teaching. ... in order to set our institutions firmly on the path of future knowledges, we need to reinvent a classroom without walls in which we are all co-learners: a university that is capable of convening various publics in new forms of assemblies that become points of convergence of and platforms for the redistribution of different kinds of knowledges."
There is so much more in this very rich talk, about whiteness, decolonization of knowledge, a critique of africanization a la Fanon and Ngugi, epistemic diversity and the pluriversity. The PDF is available on the SOTL @ UJ dropbox folder, and the video of the talk is available in two parts on You Tube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g-lU4BCsL8w