Decolonising the mind

And decoloniality is central to our work. Part of our task is to build a canon, knowledge, and a way of knowing.

Decolonising the mind

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Rhodes was an avid businessman whose accumulated wealth stemmed largely from mining in Southern Africa, and he was also the colonial driver instigating the creation of the Rhodesian territory. Decolonisation therefore becomes the process through which the negative effects of colonialism are fought against, with the intention of giving rise to an environment where self-reliance and self-determination become possible.

The wide ranging effects of this extend to the opportunities and limitations presented in physical locations, layouts of classrooms and Decolonising the mind broadly the dispositions of our existing institutions to industry, state and society tensions 22 years into post-apartheid South Africa.

One of the easiest ways to begin with this analysis is by looking at the vastly different ways in which historically white and black institutions are framed and who they consider their peers. Historically white campuses often openly and unapologetically declare development paths that ring of aspirations to be like Harvard and Oxford, both through form and function, reinforcing hierarchies that reproduce and reflect global political dynamics instead of resisting them, as the student movements may have wished would be the case.

The movement successfully fought off the fee increase for the period but has struggled to continue to fight back against factionalism along with campus and state repression.

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Old questions, new ideas? How is knowledge produced? What assumptions are made about the ideal learner? What are the student-teacher relationship models? These ways of seeing and developing knowledge have themselves developed out of particular needs and conditions within society and are grouped together in discipline and profession in ways that must be reflected on critically.

In raising the proverbial mirror to the work that we do, the call for decolonisation encourages us to be intentional in work that we do and mindful of what it contributes for better or worse providing direction as to the trajectory of our efforts.

This discontinuity introduces an unnecessary hierarchy that itself serves no purpose beyond the production of an elite class. Critical reflection is also needed when looking at the gains of hard-fought institutions and experimentations around what worker education could look like.

These range from lessons from worker colleagues at the University of the Western Cape through to programmes such as Wits PLUS at the University of the Witwatersrand, which provide spaces for academics, students and workers alike to begin to make serious inroads into the democratisation of knowledge and its production.

Admittedly the curriculum debate finds itself in the context of a national climate that has higher education strained from various quarters. Lack of funding from government and increasing running costs and rising student access make time-intensive learning processes all the more expensive and undesirable from the managerial perspective.

In this way it seems to me to be no surprise that the early alliances between black student organisers in the wake of RhodesMustFall are strongest between universities that are considered the elite class of higher education institutions in the country.

Through their proximity to whiteness, proximity to the empire, it would seem that acts of resistance echo loudly from the high chambers of Oxford out into the colonies in a manner that is simultaneously exciting, full of potential and deeply concerning.

Decolonising the mind

It becomes concerning for me as I begin to consider the role of graduates from the likes of Oxford not at all dissimilar to the likes of the University of Cape Town in the continued domination of the continent.

We need to critically interrogate the role of curriculum in generating inequality and take steps to find ways that this can be radically undone through curriculum change processes, and not simply reintroduced under a different name using different terminology without engaging with material contradictions of elite spaces and their ability to reproduce and control.

The fight for the curriculum is, for the moment, a less explosive topic in the context of a nation embroiled in fire, both physical and proverbial. While this remains the case, converting the gains made by social movements into a critically reflexive, creative and socially responsive curricula and learning environment provides us with an opportunity to combat and subvert neo-liberalisation from the inside out.

Brian Kamanzi is a Cape Town-based writer and electrical engineer by trade committed to the social upliftment of his fellow people. He is a Pan-Africanist eager to make contributions to the movement and form cross-cultural connections with others in the struggle towards African liberation.JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary sources.

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JSTOR: Access Check Decolonising the Mind (Studies in African Literature (Paperback)) (): Ngugi Wa Thiong'o: Books. Cultural Differences between Australia and England. Australia’s Convict heritage forms a kind of glue that binds it to Britain. Of course, British and Australians naturally approach the heritage in a .

Weep Not, Child is Kenyan author Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o's first novel, published in under the name James was the first English novel to be published by an East African. Thiong'o's works deal with the relationship between Africans and the British colonists in Africa, and are heavily critical of British colonial rule.

Specifically, Weep Not, Child .

Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga | New Zealand's Māori Centre of Research Excellence