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28 June 2022 | Story Rulanzen Martin | Photo Sonia Small (Kaleidoscope Studios)
Dr Munyaradzi Mushonga is very optimistic about his appointment as the Global Academic Director of the Decolonial International Network.

Dr Munyaradzi Mushonga of the Centre for Gender and Africa Studies (CGAS) at the University of the Free State (UFS) has been appointed Global Academic Director of the Decolonial International Network (DIN). Dr Mushonga, who is a senior lecturer and programme director of CGAS’s Africa Studies programme, says his vision for DIN is “to work towards a new world civilisation that is opposed to the militarism and war, lawlessness and genocides of other civilisations.” 

Dr Mushonga, who is a leading voice and scholar on decolonialisation, will formally assume his role at DIN in 2023. 

The duality of new technology and scholarly work

Dr Mushonga says it is important for our minds to be decolonised, and he is therefore planning to establish a Centre for Decolonising The Mind (CDTM), which will use 21st-century technologies to achieve the ideal of decolonialisation. “Here pluriversal decolonial chapters and centres will be driven towards developing a decolonial history app,” he says. The aim is also to work towards a decolonial textbook on the history of Africa. 

He says it is commendable to employ technology to address decolonisation, but the real work to achieve the ideal of a decolonial mind lies in the scholarly work done by academics. At the CGAS the entire Africa Studies programme addresses decolonial theory and praxis through several approaches. “These are informed by our identity, which is anchored on two pillars, namely the interdisciplinary nature of all our engagements, as well as the exploration and critique of what it means to be ‘human’, but also in relation to the ‘non-human’ world.” He adds that the Centre’s teaching, supervision, and engagement with its students also challenges academics to think beyond the binaries of ‘coloniser’ and ‘colonised’, ‘white’ and ‘black’, and to reject all forms of fundamentalism. 

UFS’s commitment to decoloniality is a great asset 

Dr Mushonga's tenure at DIN will also reinforce the commitment to decolonial education made by the UFS, which has been noted by DIN. “I am convinced that DIN, the CGAS and the UFS can become the great vehicles to drive the decolonial agenda from the global South in general, and South Africa in particular,” he says. He says the commitment to the ideals of decolonisation displayed by UFS and the CGAS played a large part in his appointment to his new DIN role. 

The CGAS and the UFS will become key players in the DIN project, and Dr Mushonga hopes that more individuals and groups will come forward to join forces with DIN. “I hope this will enable DIN to push for new ethics in living.” 

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