Change the world


Interim Director for the Centre for Women and Gender Studies Dr Babalwa Magoqwana introduced Day three of Nelson Mandela University Research Week programme, highlighting the theme of research and innovation for global impact.  

Nelson Mandela University Executive Dean of Humanities, Prof Pamela Maseko added that the university recognises the critical role of research in humanities, in interpreting, understanding and improving the human condition. 

"It's important that when we talk about revitalisation of humanities, how do we do that as a university in and of Africa in the context of epistemic erasure. We should be telling the STEM subjects that whatever you do, if it doesn't have a humanitist element, I'm not sure what the social impact would be. We can no longer be following the narrative that the humanities are not valued at Nelson Mandela, otherwise we would be undermining the vision of the university led by Prof Muthwa."

Multiple award-winning author and Chair in African Feminist Imaginations Prof Pumla Gqola, said being part of Nelson Mandela University where humanities and social sciences are highly valued was a privilege. "With an economic crisis being imminent or ongoing depending on who you speak to, we know that it sends alarm bells. This tells us this will have implications on how money (for research) flows into what is seen as priority areas. Humanities and social sciences, and gerenally areas of social transformation, are usually areas where priorities are seen not to lie." 

"As people located in the academy, we know in many places, centres for women and gender studies are being closed down. And so it is a particular pleasure, honour and advantage to be sitting at a university where leadership; intellectual leadership, strategic leadership and financial leadership follows the commitment to think about our societies. It positions us to take ourselves seriously in our capacity to take leadership. At Nelson Mandela humanities are taken seriously."

Associate Professor at Wits Prof Sarah Mosoetsa talked about the future of humanities and the social sciences, commending Nelson Mandela University's position to revitalise humanities and social sciences. "We acknowledge the systematic erasure of African knowledge has triggered societal values and world views that need to be awakened through our universities. We have arrived because we have a university in this continent and in our country that says humanities matter and should matter, and that African ways of knowing and being are as important as anything else and we will do it in ways that matter to all of us."

Dr Siphokazi Magadla, HoD and Senior Political Sciences Lecturer at Rhodes University talked about research projects that to the fore the intellectual legacies of South African women, and women's contribution to the armed struggle

These contained in two forthcoming books with contributions from Rhodes masters students. "Following a colloquium in 2020 hosted by Nelson Mandela University together with Rhodes University and University of Pretoria, we grappled with women's intellectual histories across two centuries, the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. We were able to grapple with the intellectual legacies of women like Nosuthu Soga, Sarah Baartman, and on to the intellectual legacies of Phyllis Ntantala, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Nontsizi Mgwetho to contemporary intellectuals like Thandiswa Mazwai. We also have a  project on women and the armed struggle in South Africa.

The book coming out in February is called Guerrillas and the Combative Mothers: Women and the Armed Struggle in South Africa. That book is only a project that we need to build upon."

Recordings of each days' sessions can be found on our YouTube channel:

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