“Using the current #BlackLivesMatter protests as a starting point, in this talk I want to explore the limits of the current wave of decolonial and decolonisation discourse as they apply to the African situation – 60 years since the first country gained independence. I will argue that the current academic trends in decolonisation, while helpful in describing some of the deep structural problems facing South Africa, its universities and society, cannot lead us towards a liberated Africa. I will argue that the current trends are not well located in the long traditions of Black Africa’s education philosophies which are rooted in a strong moral ethic notion of education without assimilation. I will argue that in fact, today’s decolonisation trend is begging for white acceptance and affirmation with its focus on symbolic victories around statues and correcting racist behaviour online. I propose that African liberatory education should build on the older lineages of building independent Black institutions as advanced by the likes of JL Dube, as well as the organic education of our grandmothers and community. I call the lineages of JL Dube the ‘umbilical’ tradition – that roots us in our own context while pushing us to believe we can outcompete the rest of the world that has dominated us” Professor Nomalanga Mkhize.
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