News & events


11 October 2017

Surely good scholarship means having our perspectives challenged?

Daily Maverick

If universities of the future are to be relevant and contribute to building an inclusive, just society, one that nurtures reflection and deep learning, they should be places where we are intrigued by opinions that differ from our own. Such perspectives may challenge the status quo and our assumptions about the world we live in.

Last year during a lunch break at a conference at Unisa, a tall, lean Indian man with wispy grey hair asked if he could sit next to me. I was eating alone and felt a bit awkward, so I said that he was welcome to join me, relieved to have a companion and avoid appearing to be the conference attendee with no friends. The scholar told me that he had designed the first Indian super computer, but that he was now more interested in the history of mathematics. He spoke eloquently and complained about all of this nonsense in South Africa about science and mathematics being “white man’s knowledge”, that all peoples have practised science of some sort since antiquity and that he was determined to set the record straight.

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Daily Maverick