Tuesday 27th November saw HEPI’s 2018 Annual Lecture by Professor Ihron Rensburg: “Global Africa: Nelson Mandela and the meaning of decolonising knowledge and universities”. Held at London’s Royal Geographical Society, it was truly food for thought. One hundred years since Mandela’s birth, Professor Rensburg offered a heartfelt reflection upon his legacy, and considerations for the future of academia in South Africa and, indeed, globally.
Discourse on a wide range of issues, including the factors contributing to the nature of the country’s break from the Ancien Regime; their manifestation vis-à-vis Western hegemony; the fashion of transformation in African universities; and the centrality of ubuntu (African Humanism), all served to set out a thoughtful and cautiously optimistic call for intellectuals the world over.
In short, the importance of confronting dogma, representing unheard voices, learning from history and believing in the progress of humanity, even when we are faced with challenges that are hitherto unseen, are key factors in ensuring that the progress of previous generations can be built upon.
Berwick Partners is very grateful to Nick Hillman (Director of HEPI) and his team for the invitation to such an enjoyable and thought-provoking evening.