How do we have a lecture and form a consolidated voice, as the oppressed, in the presence of those who oppress us?” – Kolosa Ntombini On Friday, 3 March, 2017 a lecture was held by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o at the Baxter Theatre to address staff and students on the topic of decolonization. Sociology professor Xolela Mangcu says he, “invited Thiong’o as part of an initiative with funding from the National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences.
Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o was interrupted by Kolosa Ntombini, a student from the Pan Africanist Student Movement of Azania (PASMA), who climbed on the stage before his address and requested that Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o assist in asking white people, “the oppressors” to leave the event.
When asked about what she thought about these interruptions, Mokabaii Mary, a third-year Humanities student admits that, at first, she did not see any reason for the space to be exclusive to black people. She thought the need for inclusive dialogue trumped the need for an exclusively black space of engagement. But after speaking to members of fallist movements, she came to see their perspective and understand where they were coming from.
Further, into the lecture, Thiong’o was interrupted once more when a student walked on stage carrying a poster that read, “SAn Education is excluding poor, black disabled people.” Thiong’o asked to read the poster and thereafter continued with the lecture as the student sat on the stage.
Source: Twitter @professa44, March 3, 2017
The lecture focused on inequalities between Africa and Europe and emphasized the importance of knowing one’s mother tongue, saying, “Knowing the languages of the world but not your own is enslavement.” wa Thiong’o went on to state the power of not only the government but institutes of education by stating “the defenders of English are intellectuals and policymakers.
Despite the interruptions, wa Thiong’o went on to address the issues of decolonisation that concerned staff and students.