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Nelson Mandela University must lead in decolonising African minds: Ramaphosa

By Afikile Lugunya - Jul 20, 2017
Nelson Mandela University must lead in decolonising African minds: Ramaphosa

The Nelson Mandela University (NMU), formerly the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU), on Thursday formally came into being at a ceremony held at the university's Missionvale Campus in Port Elizabeth.

Addressing the gathering, Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa, said that now that the university that is named after Nelson Mandela, it must carry the burden of being the leader in change - starting with decolonising the education curriculum.

“We must decolonise our higher education system and reposition it to make the contribution that we expect of it as we build our nation and the national democratic society we desire. We need an educational system that will see Africans as world contributors," Ramaphosa said.

“A university that associates itself with Nelson Mandela must review its curriculum and it must also examine the subtle layers of the colonial and neo-colonial norms that underline its thought systems.”

According to the Deputy President, liberating the mind of an African scholar is important.

“The university will have to liberate the mind and awaken the potential of African scholarship that is imbedded in our being as Africans. It will have to remove the clone of institutionalised racism as well as sexism," he added.

“It will have to promote African teachings and contribute through teaching and   research in making the African century possible. This must be an African university that serves the people of our continent.

“By naming this institution after Nelson Mandela, you are making the commitment of that of your teachings will emerge African scholars and academics that can bring a diversity of thought through diversity of knowledge system.”

Ramaphosa also said that the Nelson Mandela University must work to produce graduates, who will help the country address its day to day economic challenges.

“Your curriculum will have to encourage and seek to challenge graduates to find solutions to the economic challenges that confront this country and this continent,” he said.

“By naming the university after Nelson Mandela, you are going beyond the city, the province, you are even going beyond South Africa you are now going global.

"There are a number of institutions around the world that want to rebrand themselves after Nelson Mandela. You are the chosen ones, your university is the one that bears his name - so be the example for other universities around South Africa and beyond.”