Change the world


Towards the end of 2019, the Journal of Southern African Studies (JSAS) published a special issue under the theme “Reassessing Mandela”, which includes ten articles from various scholars.

Two of these Mandela scholars, namely Professor Xolela Mangcu and Professor Shireen Hassim, will present their contributions in a webinar jointly hosted by the Nelson Mandela Foundation (NMF) and the Chair for Critical Studies in Higher Education Transformation (CriSHET) at Nelson Mandela University.

The JSAS contributions, which have been shared with webinar participants, will serve as a point of departure, with Professors Mangcu and Hassim to offer provocations to initiate the webinar discussion.

The webinar takes place during what has come to be known as Mandela Month in commemoration of the social justice icon’s birthday, and ahead of the 18th Annual Nelson Mandela Lecture.

It aims to engage with current Mandela scholarship, identify and explore fresh lines of enquiry and to distil critical questions that would be helpful in advancing the work currently underway towards the establishment of a Transdisciplinary Institute for Mandela Studies (TIMS).

Professor Mangcu, who delivered a Mandela lecture series at the University as part of its year-long centenary celebrations last year, is a professor of Sociology and History and the Director of Africana Studies at the George Washington University, in the US. He is also a Visiting Professor at Mandela University.

Professor Hassim is the Canada 150 Research Chair in Gender and African Politics at Carleton University, in Canada. She is also an internationally renowned expert in feminist theory, politics, social movement and collective action, and spent two years as a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University.

Over the past two years, following the launch of its new name, Mandela University has been exploring its role as the only university in the world that carries Madiba’s name, and the enormous responsibility that goes with this.

It was from these discussions that the idea of TIMS was introduced — critical studies where Mandela, as a figure of social justice, becomes the lens through which the huge challenges of our time can be viewed, grappled with and understood, and ultimately pave the way towards new and better ways to solve them.

Confirmed webinar guests represent a mix of emerging and established scholars, staff and students. These include collaborators from Oxford, in the UK, such as the editors of the JSAS special issue Professors Colin Bundy and William Beinart, academic and writer Professor Elleke Boehmer and Professor Jonny Steinberg. Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa (HSRC) Chief Executive, Professor Crain Soudien, and the NMF’s Professor Verne Harris and Patronella Nqaba will also be among the attendant guests, with Mandela University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sibongile Muthwa, to open the session.

The Transdisciplinary Institute for Mandela Studies (TIMS), the concept of which was introduced last year during a unique colloquium titled Dalibhunga: This time? That Mandela?, is a joint project between the University, the Foundation and the HSRC.

The collaboration between the University and Foundation has given rise to a number of other projects, all geared at making a meaningful impact on society.

These include the Atlantic Fellows for Racial Equity (AFRE), which is a partnership between the Foundation and Columbia University, in New York City, with Mandela University roped into the collaboration to assist with developing curriculum content for the fellowship programme. Patronella Nqaba is the Associate Director of AFRE.

Contact information
Ms Zandile Mbabela
Media Manager
Tel: 0415042777