achille mbembe on fire

Brilliant and inspiring lecture by Prof. Achille Mbembe in conversation with Rhodes Must Fall at UCT on 29 April 2015, talking about decolonising the university.

Read his speaking notes here: Achille Mbembe – Decolonizing Knowledge and the Question of the Archive (pdf document).

2 thoughts on “achille mbembe on fire

  1. Lived with this discourse through the 70s in SA.We ran counter courses which we examined African literature and the questions Mbembe now poses as students.We read Fanon, Mbembe is not in new territory. Discourse on language is established in SA constitution but underdeveloped and weakly implemented . As a teacher myself and colleague Esther Sangweni in the 1980s produced Ngugis plays in Durban eg. The trial of Dedan Kimathi in Inanda high schools in 1980.during the process of struggle I the high schools. Ngugi was in jail in Kenya at the time.This was 35 years ago. Ngugi when asked if South Africa would face the same crisis of disillusionment as the rest of Africa when he came to Durban at the time of transition he said’ no it would not. ‘ Mbembe has nothing new to offer here its very old discourse SA requires a discourse on democracy and reconstruction and redistribution/folded into that is decolonisation-This extends the debate he claims to be seeking to avoid and emphasises on the cekbratory issues identity has which promote narrow nationalisms, rather than communicative democracy.A communicative democracy is the way to address the xenophobia not to perfect our own identities but to accommodate the identities of others is what happens in a progressive democratic reconstructing social order.

    But all this discussion is essentially good if it means more zen and less phobia and a public discourse that addresses access to education in South Africa overall… not just i in comfortable U C T. How is the state doing on funding the opening of higher education to a growing army of youth? How is the public sphere and the question of privatisation which Mbembe raises going to be resolved. Only this will head off a rising tide of reactionary thought and the consolidation of the social strata that Fanon feared under Africanisation and nationalism. It is very much in charge but can use many of Mbembes arguments to further its own agenda through usurpation and social closure. The people that don’t do anything are in charge….as he states……, So how do you rejuvinate the democratic process…..,that’s the question. Not a return to a tired notion of decolonisation of the mind alone.That’s 1980 all Capitalism has moved us to the information age with all of its cultural and economic consequences. Its 35 years ago that this discourse took place ….. regroup the ideas and reshape to relate this to current issues in the planet….

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