Performativity, inclusion and shaping the knowledge society for the 21st Century: A decolonial turn


Educational curriculum, pedagogy and practice have invited critical questions in the decolonisation discourse since they are viewed as central to the production and re-production of marginalising systems of knowledge creation. Thus, decolonising curriculum is to diversify the curriculum to include perspectives and knowledges of the excluded. The presentation drives the argument that there is no social justice without cognitive justice (de Sousa Santos 2010). Two basic ideas gird this argument. First, the understanding that without the decolonisation of the principally Eurocentric curriculum, the attainment of cognitive justice for the colonised is unattainable. This is done through tracing the historical and theoretical underpinnings of pedagogy in the 21st century through a historiographical reading of the emergence of the idea of education from 1492 to today. Second, there is a need to uncover the institutionalised systems that both sustain and authenticate the social and cognitive foundations of a global South-oriented curriculum. Therefore, this presentation calls for a decolonial turn that moves away from the epistemological degradation of those in the global South towards the development of pluriversal global South epistemologies. It calls for the epistemic visibility of the colonised as an important pre-condition for decolonising the curriculum. Owing to the pervasiveness and asymmetrical power relations of the institutionalised cognitive inequalities, injustices and successes, I argue, epistemic freedom will only be realised through an epistemological break which interrogates form, content and culture of these epistemological foundations that are built on the in-visibilisation and suppression of other knowledges. This futures-oriented part of the presentation uses South African case studies to interrogate the potential for positive change to demonstrate how delocalisation of epistemologies can at once shape local histories and challenge imperial global designs.


About Prof. Blessed Ngwenya


Blessed Ngwenya, Associate Professor in the Optentia Research Unit at North-West University, South Africa. He is the coordinator of the programme; Inclusion and Decolonial Praxis. Ngwenya who graduated with a DPhil in Socio-Legal Studies at University of Oxford has worked on inclusivity, diversity, decoloniality and sustainability projects with the Venezuelan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Blekinge Institute of Technology in Sweden on Decoloniality and Health. Ngwenya a founder member of Africa Decolonial Network (ADERN) is also an advisory board member of the “Print and Digital Media Transformation Committee” that drafts the communication transformation sector code as well as to advise the Minister in the Presidency on media sustainability in South Africa. His latest work includes a book entitled: Media Power and Hegemony in South Africa: The Myth of Independence (Routledge 2021).




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