CODESRIA DAY LECTURE: The Struggles for Epistemic Freedom in Africa
by Prof. Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gatsheni
February is a special month for CODESRIA. This is the month when CODESRIA was formally founded as a Council. In recent times, the Council has observed February 1st to celebrate its birthday by hosting an event held at its headquarters in Dakar, Senegal. During the event, members and colleagues present in Dakar enjoy energising intellectual engagement convened at the Council. The event is often linked to a broad based engagement with the public through media interviews. In 2018, however, CODESRIA will inaugurate an Annual Lecture Series to commemorate CODESRIA Day. This will be called CODESRIA Day Lecture. The venue for the lecture and the lecturer will be decided upon at the end of every preceding year during the Annual Programming Seminar so that preparations commence for the lecture in advance of February.
The Council will ensure that the lecture constitutes a significant part of the annual engagement planned with participants in the Methodology and Scholarly Writing Workshop to be jointly organised by our Research and Training, Grants and Fellowships Programmes. We expect that the Workshop will bring together up to 70 participants selected for the Meaning-Making Research Initiative (MRI) Grant. The lecture will be organized as an event open to public participation. Given that the Methodology and Scholarly Writing Workshop will rotate over the years in the regions of the continent, CODESRIA Day Lecture will similarly rotate to the regions. We plan that the Lecturer will visit two other CODESRIA regions to deliver a similar or related Lecture organised jointly with a university or research centre in the selected region.
This way of approaching the CODESRIA Day has several significant advantages. First, it enables a more pan-African engagement precisely because the lecture rotates in regions. Second, the lecture will speak directly to the historic mandate of CODESRIA thereby contributing to enhancing the pan-African profile of the Council. Third, the lecture will be published as a lead article in Africa Development so as to provoke wider debate beyond the forum of its presentation. Four, the lecture will be associated with a membership mobilisation process that the Council has now committed to undertake annually. The aim is to get new and paid up members and also sensitise the community about CODESRIA’s annual Work Plan which will have been approved by the Executive Committee in December of the preceding year. Finally, we will, in due course, align this lecture to the proposed Reflection on Policy Series, a Series that will convene academics and policy actors to reflect on key findings out of the Council’s basic research output and to jointly speak to significant policy implications out of this research for the continent. Ultimately, the Council will deliberately align the CODESRIA Day Lecture to plans towards the 50th Anniversary that will be celebrated in 2023.
Plans for the CODESRIA Day Lecture for 2018 are at an advanced stage. The lecture will be delivered by Prof. Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gatsheni, Acting Executive Director of Change Management Unit (CMU), Vice-Chancellor’s Office, University of South Africa (UNISA). It will be held on 21st February on the back of the Methodology and Scholarly Writing Workshop organised for the winning proposals for the MRI Grant in Harare, Zimbabwe. The title of the lecture is “The Struggles for Epistemic Freedom in Africa.” In his lecture, Prof. Ndlovu-Gatsheni will speak to the struggle for epistemic freedom in Africa while also reflecting on the contributions of CODESRIA to this struggle. The lecture will draw from his soon to be published book entitled ’Epistemic Freedom in Africa: Deprovincialization and Decolonization (Routledge). The lecture will be jointly hosted with Sam Moyo African Institute for Agrarian Studies (SMAIAS). We take this opportunity to welcome you to the lecture.
Godwin R. MURUNGA
February 1st 2018.