Dress Code: Pan African
Theme: ‘Building the Pan-African Inspired Multiversity.’
At FACE [Forever Africa Conference and Events], as a collective created within a university, we are particularly concerned with centring Pan-African knowledges in a pluriversal world. Our current knowledge system is predicated on the assumption that all knowledge produced in Africa, in the thousands of years prior to slavery and colonisation, is inferior and not universal. That all the knowledge produced by Africans and people of African descent during slavery and colonisation has no intellectual value. That the current African/Africana experience is of no academic value to the world and that while we may celebrate Pan-African ‘culture’ there is no cerebral benefit to studying African history. These assumptions impoverish the corpus of knowledge available to the world, it creates a system that is epistemically violent, marked as it is by the superiorization of one body of knowledge to eliminate any considered ‘other’. This system removes the African from her history, denies the current nature of the world as a product of a continuing brutal history. This leaves humanity with only one destination – destruction.
Yet, Africa, and her history are key to understanding today’s global political and economic system and its inequalities. Our world is interconnected across space and time. There is an unbroken line of ideology from the ideas that allowed the slave trade, leaving bodies at the bottom of the ocean to the ideas that currently leave bodies to drown in the Mediterranean… It is the same ideology. That some human beings are disposable, as is the knowledge which they produce and carry. Everywhere we go colonisation follows us, everywhere we step is colonial ground… Understanding the colonial nature of the world’s history and present allows us to understand why we are where we are. And where we may go from here. If we are able to change direction. Knowledge that does not aim to change the world is pointless. So, we have as our guiding star the fact that Africa and her Diasporas are very much a future story of a third of the world’s population. In other words, the future of us all. We are forever Africa.
And so we speak of a multiverse of knowledges. A “Multiversity” is a space to affirm, promote, advocate and advance the multiplicity of thought and knowledges as a necessity to vitalize the world’s knowledges, as well as human knowledge as a whole. A multiversal approach recognises the persistent effect of epistemicides* and seeks to reverse it. A multiversity seeks to change all the world for the benefit of everyone. The Pan-African inspired multiversity appreciates that the particular history, experience and intellectual thought of Africans and people of African descent are necessary and essential to creating a different world; it recognises the particular harm that has been done and continues to be done, to African descended people; it envisages a possibility of cessation of harm. Because ultimately, this is what knowledge is meant to do, create and not destroy – so that we can really believe that another world is possible, a better one.
FACE 2019 is concerned with how we become free, how we achieve justice, with how we build a world where Africans are not just bystanders and marginal consumers, but creators of this new and better world. Therefore, the object of the conference will be to collectively produce a outcome document with recommendations to government bodies, institutions, universities and other educational organisations for structural changes in the following areas: the student (learning) experience; teaching (content and process); research; careers and enterprise.
This outcome document will be as much a document of recommendations as a manifesto for ourselves, a reminder of the work that needs to be done for the intellectual liberation that must precede structural liberation.
Keynote Speaker: Sir Professor Geoff Palmer OBE
Other Speakers Include:
- Professor Hakim Adi
- Dr Shawn Naphtali Sobers
- Dr Chizoba Imoka
- Esther Stanford-Xosei
- Aisha Thomas
- Jendayi Serwah
- Furaha Asani
- Ronke Lawal
- Fope Olaleye
- Wale Lawal
- Timi Ariyo
- Sipho Mudau
- The University of Bristol
- The Global Lounge, the University of Bristol
- The Law School, The University of Bristol
- ACP Young Professionals Network
- UN International Decade of People of African Descent
*An epistemicide is a systematic destruction of any indigenous knowledge base. It is the destruction of any knowledge which is different from the perpetrator’s knowledge system. It is predicated on the rejection of fusion or exchange of knowledge but is predisposed to complete disregard of the other’s knowledge. The destruction of the indigenous other’s knowledge base is the precursor for the physical annihilation of the other. [See for example, de Sousa Santos, Boaventura. Epistemologies of the South: Justice against epistemicide. Routledge, 2015.]