A grounded university curriculum that reflects the realities and is responsive to the needs of the poor, hungry and homeless of Africa is urgent and long overdue. This translates to a radical rethink of the purpose and mission of higher education. Taking billions away from higher education to bail out a historically mismanaged and looted state airline must surely reflect poorly on the agenda and prioritisation of governing elites. Part One of a two-part series.
Firoz Khan is Associate Professor in the School of Public Leadership at the University of Stellenbosch.
The poverty of theory
It was the occasion of Africa Day, 18 May 2018, at the University of the Western Cape — home of iconic liberation Struggle thinkers including Neville Alexander, Harold Wolpe and Jakes Gerwel. Students and faculty waited patiently in a large, packed lecture theatre for the keynote speaker, the “white African” intellectual, Ben Turok. The fierce and fearless champion of the poor entered the room to thunderous applause. He looked frail and weak. There was silence. He placed his notes on the table, he paused, he looked at us, and then the lion roared, students roaring louder.
The talk of the day was decolonisation — Reconsidering…