After long discussion between Dr. Munyaradzi Mushonga and Sandew Hira, secretary of the DIN Foundation, the board of the DIN Foundation has appointed Dr. Mushonga as the Global Academic Director of DIN. He is born in 1965 in Zimbabwe. He taught history at the University of Zimbabwe from 1992-2004; history, environmental history, and culture and heritage studies at the National University of Lesotho from 2004-2019; and is now employed at the University of the Free State in South Africa since 2019, where he is the Programme Director for Africa Studies, in the Centre for Gender and Africa Studies (CGAS), teaching an array of courses in gender studies and Africa studies, with strong bias towards decoloniality. His CV can be downloaded here.
Almost 30 years after the fall of Apartheid in South Africa the country has still to find its way in improving the living standards of the masses and transforming the old society in a new one. The Rhodes Must Fall movement and other movements which came along with it put an enormous pressure on the Government of South Africa to do something of decolonization. The Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) has demanded from each and every university that they present their policy on how to deal with decolonizing the university. A university is also judged on their relevance for society. They have to connect with communities outside the academia. In South Africa – and the black communities in general – the focus on decolonial theory is on Decolonizing The Mind. This goes back to the traditions of Marcus Garvey. It is encouraging to note that Government of South Africa has also taken the decolonization trajectory to schools by demanding the “the teaching and promotion of African languages, South African and African history and national symbols to all learners up to Grade 12”.
The University of the Free State, where Dr. Mushonga is working, has its roots in Apartheid South Africa. Today it wants to shed any association with its Apartheid past, and its commitment to the decolonial project is a marvel. UFS wants to connect to social groups and has the ambition to become an international player in the academia, and Prof. Francis Petersen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of UFS, is a key player in the university’s academic and engaged scholarship trajectories, including the decolonial project.
In the past years DIN has developed an extensive network across the globe with academics who in one way or another contacted DIN. But these were on an individual basis and not institutional.
DIN is also involved in discussions on decolonizing different disciplines. Building on the work of C.K. Raju Sandew Hira gave a lecture on May 7, 2022 for the Mathematics and Science Education of Kwazulu Natal University on decolonizing mathematics. The lecture is based on the chapter on mathematics in his forthcoming book title Decolonizing The Mind.
DIN is involved on discussions with activists and lawyers on how to use the judicial system for the promotion of social struggle and is working with different organizations in organizing an international conference in 2023 on this topic. The relation between DIN and the academia is of the utmost importance.
DIN needs someone in the academia who has a formal position in the university and is able to convince the university to engage in a formal conversation with the DIN Foundation in creating a Global Center for Decolonizing The Mind that develops and executes concrete projects on the field of research, education and mobilization.
The tasks of the Global Academic Director are:
- Get the university where (s)he works into a formal conversation with the DIN Foundation about setting up a Global Center for Decolonizing The Mind that should result in a Memorandum Of Understanding.
- Develop DTM projects in the field of research, education and mobilization and attract funding for these projects.
- Develop local chapter of academic directors of DIN that are affiliated to the Global Center and operates on a project basis.
- Report on a monthly basis via the DIN Newsletter on the progress of the work.
- Working in close cooperation with the secretary of DIN.
The Global Academic Director will formally start per January 1, 2023. The coming period will be used to prepare the launch of his work. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.