We are academics raised and educated in various parts of the world, and now living and working in South Africa. The predicaments of its higher education landscape and society mark our work and thought. In this article, we approach that story from our other locations: the rest of the African continent and India.
Last month, the Harvard Art Museums reopened, and with them another addition to Harvard’s museum landscape: the Ethelbert Cooper Gallery of African and African American Art, which will host rotating exhibitions of American, European, and other black art traditions. World-renowned architects Italian-born Renzo Piano and Tanzanian-born David Adjaye designed the respective spaces. These events took me back to a difficult 20-plus years fight to bring African art into equal footing at Harvard.
Universities are any nation’s key public institutions of knowledge development. They drive research, teach students and supervise postgraduates. By producing and disseminating knowledge, universities can fulfil their mandate as institutions of social, economic, cultural and intellectual development for democratic societies and the global environment.
The constitutional compromise of 1994 is one part of the problem. The other is a ruling party navigating its own limits for change, writes Malcolm Ray.
In the late 1970s, a group of mainly white intellectuals were expelled from the ANC for challenging the party line. The group, led by Martin Legassick, argued that the ANC was a working-class organisation with a middle-class leadership and policies.
At the end of the ANC’s elective conference in Mangaung in 2012, a veteran remarked about how inept the party had become at dealing with leadership contestation.
“Every time we go to an elective conference, we come back with a layer of the ANC having been peeled off,” he said with a sense of forlornness.
It was such an apt statement, which could not have been better demonstrated than by this week’s dramatic events in KwaZulu-Natal, which saw Premier Senzo Mchunu unceremoniously sacked by the provincial ANC leadership.
Eritrea marks 25 years of independence from Ethiopia this month. It is now one of the most underdeveloped countries in the world and is run by a repressive government. The Conversation Africa’s politics and society editor, Thabo Leshilo, asked Valerie Frank* to shed light on the secretive country as it marks this milestone.
The struggle for freedom is a reckless, foolish and sacrosanct adventure—so believed Albert Luthuli, president of the African National Congress from 1952-1968. A devour Christian, a man deeply committed to land and community, Luthuli saw the relationship between nation and its ideals as founded in shared values—not the ingratiated construct that beleaguers the nationalism playing out in South Africa today.
THE "ethnic fires kindled by the republican government will spread until this continent is destroyed irrevocably", said Gazankulu chief minister Hudson Ntsanwisi on May 9 1984.
He was responding to the apartheid government’s proposed spatial boundaries that had fuelled ethnic tensions between the Tsonga and Venda groups.