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Nomthetho Simelane delivers 2013 Archie Mafeje Memorial Lecture

From left: Thoko Didiza (Programme Director), Prof Vizikhungo Mzamane (Project Leader and General Editor: ESAACH), and Prof Nomthetho Simelane (Former Lecturer in Political Science: University of Swaziland) paid tribute to a great Pan-Africanist at the 2013 Archie Mafeje Annual Memorial Lecture.

The Annual Archie Mafeje Memorial Lecture Series celebrates the memory of an inspiring figure who worked tirelessly to highlight the importance of being an African through self-knowledge, self-control and self-emancipation.

Paying tribute at the 2013 event hosted by Unisa’s Archie Mafeje Research Institute (AMRI), in collaboration with the Africa Institute of South Africa (AISA), were Prof Nomthetho Simelane, former Lecturer in Political Science, Department of Political Administrative Studies, University of Swaziland, who delivered the memorial lecture, and Prof Vizikhungo Mzamane, Project Leader and General Editor: Encyclopaedia of South African Arts, Culture and Heritage (ESAACH) and former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Fort Hare.

What emerged was an endearing picture of the great Pan-Africanist as a fascinating man, “this tall man who loved himself so much, but loved Africans even more”.

“His own worst enemy”, “a difficult individual” who could be “exasperating and insulting”, Mafeje was also an erudite scholar who was intellectually rigorous and who placed Africa at the epicentre of his research.

Speaking on Mafeje’s legacy of an African perspective based on the understanding of local context, Simelane said that the social science community had to realise that the majority of the continent’s population lived in a very different world to that of researchers. “Social science research must not only be available but accessible to that population.” She asserted that it was needful for researchers to ask what the obstacles were to the wider distribution of their research findings. One way, she said, for people to be made beneficiaries of this social science research, was for AMRI and other research institutes to contribute innovative solutions to its dissemination.

 

About the Archie Mafeje Symposium and Memorial Lecture

Unisa’s Archie Mafeje Research Institute (AMRI), in collaboration with the Africa Institute of South Africa (AISA), hosts an annual symposium and memorial lecture in honour of Prof Archie Mafeje, the great Pan Africanist and renowned African intellectual. The lecture and symposium celebrate the memory of an inspiring figure who worked tirelessly to highlight the importance of being African through self-knowledge, self-control and self-emancipation.

*Written by Sharon Farrell

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