Decolonizing the Academy: A digital panel

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This week, the University of Edinburgh’s Centre of African Studies is hosting the ‘Decolonizing the Academy’ conference. As part of this conference we are running a digital panel on activism and the academy. We hope that this new approach to panel presentations can provide a model for more accessible ways of sharing and debating knowledge.

You can find the digital panel videos on our You Tube channel. The panel is divided into two sections. The first reflects on activism with the academy.

Prof Noor Nieftagodien reflects on the #FeesMustFall protests at the University of Witwatersrand and helps us to place them in their historical context.

Camalita Naicker, a PhD candidate at the university currently known as Rhodes University, builds on Noor’s insights and looks at the fractures in these protest movements.

Simukai Chigudu, a PhD candidate at the University of Oxford, provides an insight into the Rhodes Must Fall protests at the university and argues that these are integral to struggles for honour, recognition, and respect.

Lenin Escudero, Cleaners for Justice, gives a background to the struggles around outsourcing that have been taking place over the last decade at SOAS.

In the second half of our panel, we look at how academics can be activists and allies beyond the academy.

S’bu Zikode, from the shackdwellers’ movement Abahlali baseMjondolo, lays out principles for good academic-activist collaboration.

Katy Long, researcher and writer, explores the space for activism within policy circles.

Chambi Chachage talks about his work making academia accessible on his blog, Udadisi.

And the LIVED project in Edinburgh speak about their activism, which centres on documentary projects that share the lived realities of refugee life for young people.

We will be hosting it with a Twitter Q and A – ‪#‎decolonizing‬ from 15:30 this Friday with some of the presenters.

You can also hold your own discussion group with these videos and send us your thoughts in a blog for the conference website – email them to: or

Join in the debate... let us know what you think!

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