year in review 2018 Paperturn - Page 153



2018: A YEAR IN REVIEW | TEACHING AND LEARNING
Mbembe pedagogy and curriculum
of ‘presence’.
“This represents an affirmation of
the students and their blackness, of
their selves, their bodies and their
identities, and their intergenerational
knowledge and their direct
experience of the world.
“This requires a countermovement:
the acknowledgement of the identity
and the position of those who teach
as well as white students in their
privilege, but also in their lack ...
[A] ‘pedagogy of presence’ should
help all of the university.
“[This] would require the entire
university to revisit its notions of
student learning and reconsider
the way students are taught. This
has implications for language of
instruction, the modalities of teaching,
the notions of assessment and the
understanding of the student as an
individual and autonomous self.
“At the curricula level,
a pedagogy of presence makes
possible two important intellectual
movements. One is the resizing
of European knowledge ... The
other is the incorporation of other
epistemological traditions ... in the
horizon of global knowledge.”
of excellence to one that is more
critical of itself, more encompassing
and deeply rooted in the moral
imperative of transformation.”
Lange took the audience back
20 years to “the Mamdani affair”,
which remains “one of the dark
moments of post-apartheid UCT”.
Mahmood Mamdani, renowned
Africanist scholar from Makerere in
Uganda, had been invited to UCT
to design and lead a foundational
semester course in African studies.
“It was clear that what Mamdani
was proposing defied UCT’s
academic conception of Africa and
its knowledge.”
And now, another call has come
for the university to implement
a decolonised curriculum that
critically examines Africa.
“In 1998 UCT closed ranks
against Mamdani; after RMF some
academics actually heeded the call
for a decolonised curriculum.”
This work would require
institutional support and the
development of a critical mass of
committed academics and supportive
and active students, Lange added.
However, the students’ demands
in the RMF protests had conflated
ontological and epistemological
recognition, often reducing the
decolonisation of the curriculum
to Africanisation.
“As important, urgent and
necessary as this is ontologically, the
Africanisation of the curriculum ...
is epistemologically and politically
isolating. ... Instead, I would like
to propose following the Achille
“AND WE MUST ACCEPT,
ONCE AND FOR ALL, THAT
LEARNING HOW TO TEACH
IS NOT AN OPTIONAL
ASPECT IN THE LIFE OF
AN ACADEMIC.”
151

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