Revitalising the Humanities


In her inaugural address, Vice-Chancellor Professor Sibongile Muthwa said: "To be human, and to cultivate humanity, as a key message of Mandela University, requires the frontier between “science” and the “humanities” to be reconceptualised and redrawn. The findings of the Academy of Science of South Africa’s Consensus Study on the State of Humanities (2011) and the Report on the Charter for the Humanities and Social Sciences (2011) commissioned by DHET, suggest such a recalibration between the natural sciences and the humanities, arts and social sciences. The renewal of the academic project must, therefore, have as one of its focus areas the re-imagination of the humanities to revitalise the transformative potential of its disciplines. 

The humanities, with open and malleable borders, are called upon to use their innate potential to awaken African scholarship, epistemologies and systems of thought so as to excavate the African praxes of our regions to write an inclusive narrative of progress. 

There is a constitutive link between knowledge, teaching and learning and institutional culture. Much of our non-transformative, exclusionary academic and non-academic practices and behaviours are closely knitted into our views of pedagogy, knowledge and institutional ethos. Whereas there have been clear shifts and progress in the system and institution, we are yet to generate an institution-wide, deep-penetrating and paradigm-shifting ensemble of academic and administrative practices that fully and profoundly respond to our own social justice obligations and that of our students and communities."

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