Colloquium / Seminar / Symposium

Decolonisation, Pluriversality, and African-situatedness in sexuality and sexuality-related violence research and advocacy

Aime_Cesaire 2

Colonisation, said Aimé Césaire, the anti-colonial Martiniquan poet and politician, equals “thingification”. To us this suggests that sexual thingification – including sexual entitlement, rape and femicide – equates sexual and gendered colonisation. What is needed to truly decolonise – that’s one question.

In Decolonising the mind, the Kenyan writer Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o argued for African languages and cultures. Noting that although imperialism may have introduced writing to many African languages, it denied many Africans the means to master the world irreparably cracked by colonialism by restricting reading and writing to a small class of the colonised who preferred the colonisers’ cultures and languages.

Concerned primarily with the decolonisation of science in its broad meaning, the Beninoise philosopher Paulin Hountondji contended that the key intertwined problems of colonial science are “theoretical emptiness”, “theoretical extraversion” that tempts many African researchers to respond and address themselves to non-African publics, and subordination to global markets of knowledge.

Urging for decolonial delinking from the “colonial matrix” of all forms of power – including economic, racial, gender, cultural and sexual power – the Argentine semiotician Walter Mignolo has suggested that decolonisation compels us “to build knowledge and arguments that supersede the current hegemony of Western knowledge”.

In light of these and other ideas by several radical African and global antiracist, feminist, queer, and decolonial/ist thinkers, there are many issues confronting researchers and advocates on sexualities and sexuality-related violence who perceive the fact of colonisation in knowledge making. These issues include how to share the knowledge and conceptual tools with the greatest number of people to grasp the ever-changing world in order to enable them to live with dignity; how to conduct work that emboldens women, men and other genders of all sexualities to assert control over their bodies and decide on their desires; how to conduct research and advocacy that humanises rather than exploits.

There are other issues, struggles, challenges, and goals, certainly. As such, the aim of the Colloquium on decolonisation, pluriversality, and African-situatedness in sexuality and sexuality-related violence research and advocacy” is to address these and other questions revolving around sexuality and sexuality-related violence in a context in which African-situated, pluriversal, and decolonial/list thought is at once endorsed, weighed, and enlarged. The colloquium is intended to assist us to find ways to share the means and ways to work towards research and advocacy that are embedded in African publics, to overcome the dominant EuroAmerican hegemonic theories, research and ways of activation, to think in a world characterised by entanglement, to theorise from Africa for the world, as well as to control knowledge and the means of producing knowledge.

The colloquium is co-hosted by the South African Medical Research Council and University of South Africa’s Violence, Injury and Peace Research Unit and the Transdisciplinary African Psychology Programme at the University of South Africa.

The event will be held on July 25, 2017, 9.30a-3.30p, at the Conference Centre of the South Africa Medical Research Council, Parow.

For enquiries please contact Neziswa Titi at or 021 938 0930.

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