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04 June 2021

Archie Mafeje Memorial Lecture to unpack positionality of Africans on science and innovation

Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)
Press Release

Pretoria, Thursday 3 June 2021 – The Human Sciences Research Council’s Africa Institute of South Africa (AISA) invites members of the media to the Annual Archie Mafeje Memorial Lecture to be held virtually on Friday 4 June 2021.

Professor Pearl Sithole, Vice-Principal of the University of the Free State, will deliver this year’s lecture under the theme, Lessons from Mafeje’s theories and positionality of Africans on Science and Innovation.

The Archie Mafeje Memorial Lecture commemorates the academic and intellectual contributions of the late Professor Archibald  Monwabisi Mafeje, one of Africa’s greatest social scientists to emerge in the last century. 

This year, the lecture will seek to engage Mafeje’s teachings beyond his ideological and philosophical views, with an attempt to imagine the future of the continent and its people, driven by science and innovation. 

The lecture will aim to interrogate ideologies and theories about Africa’s development and to promote self-determination of Africa by Africans, without foregoing the historical context that informs its present realities. 

The organisers will unpack the ontological and epistemological contributions of Africa’s science and innovation to agitate Africa to understand itself, and to determine the relevance of taught science for the emancipation of Africans.

Objectives of the lecture are:

•To explore Africanity as a means to respond to Africa’s diverse challenges through decolonising and promoting science and innovation. 

•To reflect on Africa’s response to pandemics and interpretations thereof;

•To provide recommendations on how African institutions can participate in the science revolution through pedagogy and practice.

The event will also feature the address by the Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Buti Manamela. 

The panel will include the following speakers:

Dr Awino Okech

Reader in Gender Studies, SOAS, University of London.

Panel Session Chairperson

Prof Puleng Lenka-Bula

Principal and Vice-Chancellor of University of South Africa

Archie Mafeje and the significance of his work in the education landscape

Dr Mpho Tshivhase

Senior Lecturer, University of Pretoria and Stanford University Fellow

The quest to explore interdisciplinary inquiry through Mafeje’s ideologies

Prof Adebayo Olukoshi

Director, International Institution for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, West Africa and West Asia

Archie Mafeje and the agenda to decolonise knowledge in Africa

Prof Edith Phaswana

Associate Professor & Head of Academic Programmes at the Thabo Mbeki African School of Public & International Affairs 

Reflection on Archie Mafeje’s quest to decolonise knowledge and its relevance for public and international affairs in Africa.

The details of the event are as follows:

Date:4 June 2021

Time:09:00 to 12:30

Zoom link:

For more information, contact Adziliwi Nematandani at 082 765 9191 or

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About the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)

The HSRC was established in 1968 as South Africa’s statutory research agency and has grown to become the largest dedicated research institute in the social sciences and humanities on the African continent, doing cutting-edge public research in areas that are crucial to development.

Our mandate is to inform the effective formulation and monitoring of government policy; to evaluate policy implementation; to stimulate public debate through the effective dissemination of research-based data and fact-based research results; to foster research collaboration; and to help build research capacity and infrastructure for the human sciences. 

The Council conducts large-scale, policy-relevant, social-scientific research for public sector users, non-governmental organisations and international development agencies. Research activities and structures are closely aligned with South Africa’s national development priorities.

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