CoDE seminar: 'Decolonisation through ubuntu: reflections on responsive pedagogies in South African universities' zethu Matebeni (Fort Hare)
|Dates:||17 March 2022|
|Times:||15:00 - 16:15|
|What is it:||Webinar|
|Organiser:||Centre on Dynamics of Ethnicity (CoDE)|
|Who is it for:||University staff, External researchers, Adults, Current University students|
How do we begin to account for what seems to be a ‘pause’ in decolonisation efforts since the end of #RhodesMustFall and #FeesMustFall campaigns in South African universities? What new insights might have these campaigns brought to the decolonisation debate in South Africa? And what now?
In this reflective essay I focus on a number of interventions in three South African universities which have engaged with decolonisation in very different ways. Taking sexualities and genders as critical points of view in decolonisation efforts, I reflect on how in one university, intersectional politics and the centrality of queerness and homelessness during #RhodesMustFall and #FeesMustFall unsettled classist and heteronormative cultures. In another university, an intervention aimed at decolonising a discipline brought students to engage with their own prejudices and cultural assumptions around sexuality and health. And in another, a deeply religious and conservative university environment is quickly transitioning to engage with genders and sexualities in non-resistant ways. What binds these interventions in very different university contexts is the practice of ubuntu. As an African philosophy, ubuntu as shared humanity provides a framework for counteracting internalised hegemonic values. Within decolonisation efforts these values are replaced with alternative truths and new ways of imagining possibilities for academic institutions.
zethu Matebeni is a sociologist, activist and writer whose research focuses on the development of African Queer Studies. She has worked at different universities in South Africa and has been part of decolonizing interventions, including #RhodesMustFall and the Black Academic Caucus at the University of Cape Town. zethu has edited and co-edited various volumes on African LGBTQI life, including Reclaiming African: queer perspectives on sexual and gender identities (Modjaji, 2014); Queer in Africa: LGBTQI Identities, Citizenship and Activism (Routledge, 2018); and Beyond the Mountain: queer life in 'Africa's gay capital' (UNISA Press, 2021). Since 2020, she has been a visiting professor at the Nelson Mandela University’s Centre for Women and Gender Studies. zethu holds the National Research Foundation South Africa Research Chair in Sexualities, Genders and Queer Studies at the University of Fort Hare.
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