School of Built Environment & Development Studies

‘Hearing Africa Speak Again’

The Centre for Civil Society (CCS) at UKZN’s School of Built Environment and Development Studies recently hosted Professor Siphamandla Zondi, Political Sciences Department Head and Institute for Strategic and Political Affairs acting Head at the University of Pretoria.

Zondi’s work is focused on African Political thought and agency, radical global south agency and international relations.

A collaboration with International Relations, School of Social Sciences focused on Amilcar Cabral’s Seven Theses on the African Predicament and was entitled ‘Hearing Africa Speak Again’.

In his address, Zondi discussed Cabral’s use of theory as a weapon, an instrument in the struggle for liberation in Guinea with general application through the South. The central principles of this idea of theory as a weapon were outlined and analysed with the hope that they can then be applied to predicaments in Africa and beyond.

Professor Zondi argued that as the vast amount of work on the state of Africa borrows from Eurocentric assumptions about the state, power, development and being, the African predicament is misdiagnosed and mistreated.

‘Understand that ancient African wisdom in the idiom: “borrowed water may fill your stomach, but it will not quench your thirst”, Cabral forces us to reverse extraversion with endogenously thought ideas that have global application in similar circumstances. It is part of that orientation where actors in the struggle are not just activists galvanizing people onto the streets in peaceful resistance or to the trenches in armed struggle, but they are also theorists, at the same time challenging the conceptual basis of the enemy or the phenomenon,’ he said.

Seminar participants discussed the idea of theory as a weapon, decolonisation and seeking to ask questions aimed at understanding fundamental rather than superficial causes of social ills.

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