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Decolonisation is always a disruptive phenomenon: On social movements and the ‘decolonial turn’ in constitutional theory

28 January 2019
12:30 - 12:30

Presenter: Dr Tshepo Madlingozi, Department of Jurisprudence, University of Pretoria.
Chair: Prof. Mia Swart, Democracy, Governance and Service Delivery, HSRC
Date: 28 January 2019
Time: 12h30 – 14h00
Venues in Pretoria and Cape Town (See below for videoconferencing facilities)

The decolonisation scholarship is an inchoate scholarship that is still working through gaps, contradictions and lack of methodological exactitude. More importantly, ‘decolonial scholars’ are not at all clear about which political subject(s) or constituent power(s) could usher in a post-colonial or post-conquest era. In this talk, Tshepo Madlingozi returns to

“Legal academics and progressive politics in South Africa: Moving beyond the ivory tower” (Madlingozi, 2006) to advance three provocations: (i) decolonisation is always a disruptive phenomenon; (ii) decolonisation scholars ought to move beyond the ivory tower if they are serious about contributing to the decolonisation of the law, society and the polity; and (iii) certain social movements of impoverished people have been engaged in what we can call ‘decolonisation from below’. There is much to learn from these movements. In this regard, I will focus on the disruptive struggle of Abahlali baseMjondolo with specific reference to how this movement of shack-dwellers has sought to disrupt and decolonise the law, society and hegemonic epistemologies and ways of being in the world.

DrTshepo Madlingozi is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Jurisprudence, University of Pretoria. He has masters degrees in law and in sociology and he read for his doctorate degree at Birkbeck, University of London. He is the co-editor of Socio-Economic Rights in South Africa: Symbol and Substance (Cambridge UP).

This seminar will be the first in the DGSD Democracy and Disruption series
The HSRC seminar series is funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST). The views and opinions expressed therein as well as findings and statements of the seminar series do not necessarily represent the views of the DST.

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Kindly RSVP by 27 January 2019

Pretoria : HSRC Video Conference, 1st floor HSRC Library Human Sciences Research Council, 134 Pretorius Street, Pretoria. Arlene Grossberg, Tel: (012) 302 2811, e-mail:
Cape Town : HSRC, Merchant House 116-118 Buitengracht Street Cape Town, Cape Town. Contact: Carmen Erasmus, Tel (021) 4667827, Fax (021) 461 0299, or
Durban:  The Atrium, 5th Floor, 430 Peter Mokaba Ridge, Berea, 4001 , Contact Ridhwaan