Researching higher education in Africa as a process of meaning-making: Epistemological and theoretical considerations

  • Michael Cross UJ
  • Logan Govender UJ
Keywords: African higher education, alternative thinking, epistemological decolonisation, social justice

Abstract

The article argues for a new way of thinking about knowledge construction in African higher education, as a basis for developing new theoretical and epistemological insights, founded on inclusivity, epistemic freedom and social justice. It recognizes “coloniality as a fundamental problem in the modern age”, thereby enabling scrutiny of knowledge for decolonization (to make change possible) and knowledge of decolonization (about decolonisation itself). Following Bourdieu, such thinking also requires degrees of vigilance which entail fundamental epistemological breaks; or put differently, it requires epistemological decolonization as a point of departure. Thus, the future of tertiary education in Africa, must be located within a new horizon of possibilities, informed by a nuanced political epistemology and ontology, embedded in the complex African experience and visibility of the colonized and oppressed.  In short, there can be no social justice without epistemic justice.

 

Key words: African higher education, alternative thinking, epistemological decolonisation, social justice

Published
2021-07-26