HomeArticlesGlobal Engagement, Human Rights, and Cognitive Justice – Part 1
Global Engagement, Human Rights, and Cognitive Justice – Part 1
February 20, 2020
Okay, I’m here. You welcomed me with all your heart isn’t it thank you so much, so much. I’ve come here from far away far far away to share with you this thing that holds us together. In the spirit of Ubuntu, the philosophy of practice of Africa. I am because you are, not because I think like Des Cartes said. I am because you are. Think about it. It means that my problems are yours, your joys are mine also. In that spirit, I invite you to share with me both, my pains and joys, both my spirituals and my troubles. Okay, thank you. And now, okay, this is me. The South African Research Chairs Initiative is a strategically focused knowledge and human resource intervention into the South African higher education systems. That means that I’m not just a professor, No! No no no no. I deal with national questions, yes. I raise awareness and develope strategic codes which can make the Academy transform to the national question, you get me? So part of this strategic intervention, which is funded by the Parliament of South Africa through the Ministry of Science and Technology, the University of South Africa hosts me, but I’m not part of them, you get me? So you can read the mandate. Advance frontiers of knowledge and advance frontiers of knowledge. That means that I don’t do not go around revolving the same things over and over and no no no no I’m supposed to advance the frontiers, you get me? So this is UNISA, the biggest university in africa. What are my goals? 1) To make transdisciplinary a core facet in leadership building 2) Offer robust expositions of the constitutive, not regulatory rules unknowns that control current thinking and practice 3) It represents an epistemology of hope, hope that probes the future and thereby illuminates the possibilities of the present. Knowing that sometimes these entities that perform the functions and wield authority are not actually persons like pilots or doctors, but words. So I’ve gathered fellows of my chair, 40 of them, I told you about it in our conversations and combine them with circles of elders and the VCs of the universities into a discourse coalition to bring about change. So one (Part 1) The Context. As a people we know that no community is complete without the other. No society is complete in itself. The other opens us, enlargens us without the otherness of the other. The self is incomplete and even vulnerable. What is true of society is true of knowledge. No knowledge is complete in itself. No knowledge is complete without dreams of the other. Hospitality, reciprocity, generosity, plurality, without these, no commons of knowledge is possible. And yet, we know that the prevailing and dominating worldviews that surround us today and which we are all compelled to respond to is one that is: Narrow in its vision, Exclusive and detached in relating to the total environment, Analytical and deductive in its perception and thinking, Linear in its ‘doing’, Hierarchical and competitive in its management of the field of activity. The painful facts in the name of Ubuntu, I ask you to share with me this painful facts. The era of the Empire, weak and strong at the same time, declared Africa to have nothing, its knowledge systems were irrelevant. We were unsuited for the modern world. The Imperial, twisted, parochial methodologies taught us in Africa that a handful of countries in Europe dominated all thoughts and actions and naturally set the pattern for the world. Really, really, really. They mangled Darwin’s theories of evolution into a populist racist, political narrative of progress and race, and they used it to justify their untold violence on Africa. Saying all the while that it was a manifestation of scientific destiny. So they intentionally headed everything, everything, everything, everything, from table manners and dress codes to economic methods to political philosophy to governmental administration to notions of civilizational truth and destiny. Thanks to the pen of Herbert Spencer’s “survival of the fittest”, certainly public debate in Europe was full of scientific truisms that were neither scientific, nor true, nor true. We had social Darwinism, which helped to create more Empire mythologies than any other, from Europe to here. The combined narratives ruled Africa up to now. Europeans insisted that their principles, in particular, were universal. Hello, you know nothing! It is only as who known. Isn’t it? Read it. Their a narrative of history, cuisine, of civilization, of fashion, spread wide during the violence of colonialism, ALL apparently universal. Educational curricula were fill with these absurdities. They then went to mount attacks on indigenous cultures and people’s all over the world and demean them by banning their languages, cultures, and written, living only the Western rituals, culture. It is not funny, it is not funny. Isn’t it really? It is not funny in the name of Ubuntu, it is not funny.