Leading change

Decolonisation is an open-ended exploration

Speaking at a seminar organised by the Archie Mafeje Research Institute (AMRI) and Change Management Unit (CMU) in Unisa’s College of Graduate Studies, Prof Nelson Maldonado-Torres, an executive board member of the Frantz Fanon Foundation in France, unpacked the concept of decolonisation.

Pictured at the Archie Mafeje Research Institute and Change Management Unit seminar were Prof Sabelo Ndlovu-Gatsheni (Head: Archie Mafeje Research Institute, Unisa), Prof Nelson Maldonado-Torres (Rutgers University, New Brunswick, and visiting researcher, CHS), and Prof Wendy Isaacs-Martin (Associate Professor: Archie Mafeje Research Institute, Unisa).

The seminar was organised under the theme “What, fundamentally, is decolonisation?’’. Maldonado-Torres tackled a wide range of issues, including fascism, racism, and civilisation and its interrelation with colonialism. He said that most forms of prejudice were committed under the pretext of liberalism. “Liberalism should be considered a low intensity of fascism,’’ he said.

Maldonado-Torres devoted almost the entire presentation to the question of decolonisation. He said decolonisation is complex and should be approached in threefold based on what he described as decolonisation of power, knowledge, and being. “Decolonisation is about rescuing humanity,” he said. “It must take place at different fields.’’
He debunked the notion that colonialism had brought civilisation to Africa. He added that language is central to the process of decolonisation.

Mpho Mathoagae, lecturer at the Institute for African Renaissance Studies, said the seminar was  eye-opening and refreshing. “It set parameters for true spirit and pillars on how we relate globally,’’ said Mathoagae.

The seminar follows a series of sessions that Maldonado-Torres addressed since his arrival in the country.

*By Percy Mthombeni

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