Libya’s Trapped African Migrants: A Case of Postmodern Slavery

Libya

We are pleased to announce that the next seminar in our Theorising Africa series will be a paper titled “Libya’s Trapped African Migrants: A Case of Postmodern Slavery” which will be delivered by Nolwazi Nadia Ncube on 24 April at 4pm in the LHRI Seminar Room 1. This series is hosted in association with LUCAS and is open to all. Feel free to join our Facebook community to keep up with future events and announcements.

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Abstract

This paper adopts an interdisciplinary approach bringing together the field of Media Studies and Sociology, using Ross Kemp’s 2017 documentary entitled ‘Libya’s Migrant Hell’ as an entry point into the reconceptualization of this particular case of trapped migration as a form of not only postcolonial, but postmodern slavery. In this case study, migrants predominately from Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Sudan in an exodus to Europe via Libya are taking great stakes for a ‘better life’ in Europe. Within this process of pursuing a better life, some of these migrants are held ransom for the price of their continued; exploited and exposed to gendered vulnerabilities and harm en route to Italy. They are trapped in an existence that is neither here – in their country of origin – nor there – in their desired destination. The paper explores these migrants through the lens of the ‘fourth space’, which is drawn from Bhabha’s (1994) concept of a ‘third space’. The paper proposes that these African migrants exist in fourth space – trapped, unwanted, unrecognised and forgotten by (i) Libya, (ii) Europe and (iii) their home country. The paper critiques the Weberian concept of ‘lebeschancen’ (life chances) employing the Ndebele proverb ‘ithemba alibulali’ (hope does not kill) as an extended metaphor and African appropriation of their condition that encapsulates the dehumanizing dangers of seeking a better life at any and all costs. The operationalization of this proverb into a conceptual tool in this paper marks une petite rupture with the transposition of African theories into and onto existing frames of European philosophical thought. In a quasi-non-conformist fashion, the paper breaks away from rather than replicates and re-enforces value-laden binaries such as better/worse, modern/traditional and developed/developing amidst a dominant tide of academic rhetoric in which ‘indigenous’ and ‘ethno’ are prefixed to African epistemologies in such a way as to delegitimise them as theories by fixating on their locality. In this instance Ndebele refers to the language spoken by the same-named African tribe in Zimbabwe, also known as the Matabele.

About Nolwazi Nadia Ncube 

NadiaNcubeNolwazi Nadia Ncube is a PhD student at the Department of Sociology at the University of Aberdeen. Her main research interests are the Sociology of Reproduction and the Body, Socio-linguistics, Gender Studies, Development Studies, Public Health and Transmigration Studies. She is Elphinstone Scholar at the University of Aberdeen who is interested in theory from and of Africa and her PhD topic which is titled, Menstruation Narratives: Through Narratives of the Zimbabwean Rural Girl Child aims to capture cultural narrative in a work linked to a program that she founded in 2015 called ‘Save the Girl-with-a-Vision’ (SGV). The program supports 70 girls in the village of Mbizingwe in Esigodini, Zimbabwe. Through SGV, Nadia advocates for the sexual reproductive health and rights of rural girl and widens the access to sanitary wear for the SGV programme beneficiaries in an effort to curb school girl absenteeism. Nadia speaks Ndebele, Zulu, Shona, French and English. She considers her proficiency in these languages to be a rich archive from which critical theories of Africa can be accessed and transformed.

Nadia holds three degrees in Sociology from UCT – a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), a Bachelor of Social Science (Honours) in Development Studies and Master of Social Science in Global Studies. During her master’s she was the awardee of the merit-based International Student Scholarship. She has a heart for the plight of women, children and marginalised groups and is a published poet, journalist and creative writer with a fourthcoming article in the African Journal of Social Work entitled, ‘Citizenship Alterities: The Case of Birth Registration: the Case of Birth Registrations in the Tongogara Refugee Camp of Zimbabwe’ (Ncube, Chimbwanda & Willie, 2018).

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Re-thinking Sunjata: Epics and Epistemology in West African Oral Narratives

The next seminar paper in our Theorising Africa series will be delivered by Stephen Bulman and is entitled “Re-thinking Sunjata: epics and epistemology in West African oral narratives”. The seminar will take place on 27 March at the LHRI seminar room 1 at 4pm. The event is free and open to all.

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Abstract

African oral epics, in common with African oral traditions as a whole, have in the past too often been understood as hallowed messages from the past, handed down unchanged from generation to generation. New thinking based on analysis of Manding epics about Sunjata Keita and his rival for power Sumanguru Kante, two legendary rulers from the pre-colonial era, suggests that such oral traditions are part of a cultural meta-discourse fashioned and re-fashioned over time in response to social and political shifts; and their tellers, hereditary griots or jeliw, intellectual actors whose narratives help shape and re-form the identities of, and relationships between, cultural and social groups. This seminar will examine how the recently published Epic of Sumanguru Kante, a narrative retelling medieval Mali’s foundation from the perspective of Sunjata’s defeated rival, offers fresh insights into the role of African historical oral poetry in shaping Manding ‘oral historiography’ and epistemology.

He said: It is true, indeed, I came with my name. My name is Soo-Maanguru. That’s the meaning of being Sumanguru. He said: I, here, I will not be slave. I will not be lackey.

– Bulman The Epic of Sumanguru Kante (2017)

About Stephen Bulman

bulmanStephen Bulman (Ph.D. Birmingham 1990) studied the Epic of Sunjata as a doctoral student. He has taught history at Newman University in Birmingham, worked as an academic at Leeds Trinity University and Cumbria University, and has published several studies of the Epic of Sunjata and related African oral traditions including, with Valentin Vydrine, a critical source edition of The Epic of Sumanguru (Brill, 2017) based on an oral epic he recorded in the Republic of Mali.

Art and Ways of knowing in Uganda

A screening and discussion of two short films developed in response to a

workshop with artists and activists

 Ruth Kelly  (CHR, York) & Director, Patience Nitumwesiga

Communion poster

We are delighted to be opening our Theorising Africa session with a screening, discussion and interview with the Ugandan director, Patience Nitumwesiga, who will be speaking to Ruth Kelly about two short films made in Kampala last year.  The event will take place on 13 February 2018 at the Leeds Humanities Research Institute (LHRI) Seminar Room 1 at 4pm.

This event, which is hosted in collaboration with LUCAS, is open to all and entrance is free.

 

Abstract                                                                                 

In July 2017, a group of academics, artists and activists met in Kampala, Uganda to explore how art could help us imagine and inhabit new ways of being, feeling and knowing, opening space to dream up visions of a more just and sustainable world. The methodology for the research is inspired by the research practice of Boaventura de Sousa Santos and of J.K. Gibson-Graham who have undertaken studies that have questioned dominant paradigms – Western epistemologies and capitalism, respectively – and gone on to develop research and practice uncovering and proposing alternatives – epistemologies of the South and community economies respectively.

Our assumption was that Western epistemologies and dominant paradigms limit what the researcher, practitioner or activist finds important, or even what they are able to know and learn from their interactions with others. In the workshop, the researchers sought to use arts-based practices to disrupt dominant ways of knowing and performing “development,” encouraging participants to explore and articulate the different ways of knowing that they embody, have experienced, or could experience through engagement with the arts. In particular, a session linking traditional and hybrid forms of oral poetry in Uganda helped participants to tap into the cultural heritage of the different language groups represented to explore alternative ways of knowing, being in community and making political interventions. As part of the presentation, I will show and discuss two short films made in response to the workshop: ‘Should I stay or should I go,’ a video collage of performances of a poem by Helena Okiring about diaspora and politics, composed and performed during the workshop in each of the different Ugandan languages that participants spoke, produced by Emilie Flower; and the second, ‘Communion,’ a short film reflecting on performance and reality, written and produced after the workshop by Patience Nitumwesiga.

 

About Ruth Kelly & Patience Nitumwesiga

Ruth Profile photoRuth Kelly’s doctoral research (Centre for Applied Human Rights, York) explores the potential for art and narrative to help communities and activists articulate alternative approaches to development. In the past, Ruth has worked with ActionAid, Oxfam, UNDP and the European Commission, on jobs and industrial policy, international trade and tax policy, land rights, and programme implementation.

 

Patience headshotPatience Nitumwesiga is a writer/director whose play monsters premiered in March 2017 at Le Cartel festival in Burkina Faso. It has been translated into French. The play also received a reading at the BIBU festival in Sweden. She has been trained at the famous Prospero performing arts centre in Sweden and Denmark, and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Drama from Makerere University, Kampala.

Patience has written both for stage and for TV, having attended the renowned Hollywood Director Mira Nair’s Maisha film lab (screenwriting) in 2009 and 2016. She was a writer, and assistant script editor for the TV Series Yat MaditYat Madit is produced by Media Focus on Africa and Trivision Uganda, two of East Africa’s leading producers in social awareness content. She also worked with Rafiki Theatre from 2010-2012, writing and acting with German director Claus Schrowange.

In May 2014, Patience was an Assistant director for the pilot project of the TV-adapted Rock point 256 seriesIn September 2015, she was a 1st assistant director for the Yat Madit seriesIn June 2016, she enrolled as a creative directing apprentice with Silent Voices Uganda’s Ga-AD! Production, as a step towards her Creative Directing career.

In 2012, she directed Everybody Needs an Electrician, a short documentary that she developed at the Maisha documentary lab. She has worked as an assistant director, researcher and logging assistant for the documentary Somebody Clap for Me. She was an associate producer and video coach on Sauti, a documentary that has graced a number of international festivals since 2016.

Nitumwesiga was discovered in 2012 as a photographer by ICT Creatives, and she went on to work on photography campaigns for NGOs, private contractors and individual projects. This birthed her ventures into art and design.  She was also the photographer for Yat Madit production, 2015-2016. She was the production designer for the short film Askari, 2017

She is a published poet, featured in anthologies like Painted Voices Volume 2 by FEMRITE, A Thousand Voices Rising, by BNN, and Reflections: An Anthology of New Work, by African women poets by Lynne Reinner publishers.

Final Call: 2nd Narrative Enquiry for Social Transformation International Conference 2018

Finding Africa

NEST logo2nd Narrative Enquiry for Social Transformation (NEST) International Conference

22-24 March 2018

University of the Witwatersrand

Keynote Speakers

51Hhdp4PAYL._SX313_BO1,204,203,200_Molly Andrews is Professor of Political Psychology, and Co-director of the Centre for Narrative Research (www.uelac.uk/cnr/index.html) at the University of East London. Her research interests include political narratives, the psychological basis of political commitment, political identity, patriotism, and aging. She is currently working on a project called The Unbuilding of East Germany: Excavating Biography and History. Her books include Lifetimes of Commitment: Aging, Politics, Psychology and Shaping History: Narratives of Political Change (both Cambridge University Press), and Narrative Imagination and Everyday Life (Oxford University Press). Her publications have appeared in five languages.

regarding_muslimslr-180x260Gabeba Baderoon is the author of Regarding Muslims: from Slavery to Postapartheid (awarded the 2017 National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences Best Non-fiction Monograph Award) and the poetry collections The Dream in the Next Body,

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CFP Theorising Africa: Reviewing a History of Ideas

Finding Africa

21314649_1471303176288228_2685142725548250835_n

CALL FOR PAPERS

Theorising Africa: Reviewing a History of Ideas

University of Leeds

Seminar Series 2018

The field of cultural theory has – for as long as it’s been a discipline – been dominated by Western epistemologies.  Our ways of knowing have, undoubtably, always required a framework through which they can be conceptualised – or even legitimised. The consequence of this institutionalisation of thought, which has its roots in a myriad of complex historical and structural implementations of power, is that other epistemologies often get overlooked or even rebranded under different names or theories, at the behest of fitting the demands and criteria of Western academe. The notion of a history of ideas that is grounded in a Euro-American paradigm obscures, and limits, our understanding of and engagement with the multiplicities of meaning at work in cultural analysis. Theorising Africa seeks to explore what it means to be human, to…

View original post 249 more words

Programme: (Re)reading African Feminisms Colloquium 2017

 

FRIDAY 21 JULY 2017
Fine Arts Department

9h Registration 

9.30-9.50h Welcome and Opening – Thando Njovane (UCKAR)

10.10h-11h Keynote Address: Feminism as Pedagogy

Dr Danai Mupotsa (Wits University)

PANELS

English Department Seminar Room

11-13h Women and Visual Arts

An African feminist conversation about the KhoiKhoi and San women in the Rock Art of South Africa – Beverly Barry (UCKAR)

Feminisms in Visual Culture; Un- silencing historically marginalized artists – Amy von Witt (UCKAR)

‘Defining ambiguity’: Theorising a politics of a ectivity in contem- porary South Africa through Mary Sibande’s ‘Sophie’– Erin de Kock (UCKAR)

Chair: Dr Sharlene Khan
Fine Arts Department Seminar Room

11-13h African Feminist Thought

A Stiwanist Study of Selected Works of Francophone Authors – Joy Joseph (UCKAR)

Womanism and Critical Method in African Diaspora Writing – Brendon Nicholls (Leeds)

The re-articulation of a holistic African female subjectivity in Koleka Putuma’s Collective Amnesia – Manthipe Moila (Rhodes)

Chair: Dr Betty Govinden

English Department Seminar Room

14-16h Intersectionality

Pompoms and Struggle Songs: The Limited Space for Feminism in #feesmustfall – Chelsey Wilken (Rhodes)

Towards a Decolonial Feminist Disability Studies for Southern Africa – Kharnita Mohamed (UCT)

Patriarchy Masked as Decoloniality: Problematizing ‘Decolonial’ Masculinist Critiques of Intersectionality – Marzia Milazzo (Rhodes/Vanderbijlt)

Chair: Dr Danai Mupotsa

Fine Arts Department Seminar Room

14-16h Alternative Spaces

The politics of erasure and exposure of the black female bodies in site- specific performances. Discussing Woman in a Passage (2014) –  Pumelela Nqelenga (UKZN)

Towards eradicating domestic violence in Nigeria: The peace education option – Chibuzor Nwobueze (Rivers State) and James Okolie-Osemene (Ibadan)

[Re]presenting Race, Rape and “white” justice: An auto-ethno- graphic study on the role of the Black female theatre-educator in Post-Madiba South Africa – Ayanda Khala-Phiri (UKZN)

Challenging sexism, misogyny and censorship: A search for alternative spaces for feminist discourses in Zimbabwe – Gibson Ncube (Stellenbosch)

Chair: Siphokazi Jonas

 

Fine Arts Department
16.15-18.15h Thinking Through, Talking Back: Creative theorisation as Sites of Praxis-Theory. An Art on our Mind creative dialogue between Dr Sharlene Khan, Prof Pumla Dineo Gqola, Dr Yvette Abrahams, Prof Neelika Jayawardane and Dr Betty Govinden
18.30 Launch of artist book ‘I Make Art’ by Dr Sharlene Khan 
Perfomance Poetry by Siphokazi Jonas and Betty Govinden
Exhibition: BEING HERE, BECOMING HER (curated by Refilwe Nkomo and Thato Mogotsi) in conversation with with UCKAR performances and artwork by Heidi Sincuba, Erin de Kock, Khwezi Zungu, Samkela Stampe and Akissi Beukman (co-curated by Buhle Siwendu and Sharlene Khan)

SATURDAY 22 JULY 2017

English Department Seminar Room

9-11h Labour

An intersectional analysis of work place discrimination in South African labour markets – Jamela Hoveni (Rhodes)

Perpetuation of female dependency syndrome in South Africa mirrors religious narratives: The case of Ruth –  Thembinkosi Twalo (HSRC)

The unfolding of African feminism in CODESRIA – Nimi Hoffmann (ISER)

Chair: Prof Pumla Gqola

Fine Arts Department Seminar Room

9-11h African Feminist Literary Readings

Demolishing the mountain within: Debunking patriarchy and self-reflexivity in African Women’s Writing – Susan Okpala (North-West)

Queering Domestic Space and Reproductive Time in Zöe Wicomb’s “Mrs Pringle’s Bed” – Jenny du Preez (Rhodes)

The Future of African Feminisms/ Miriam Makeba and Cosmo-existential Feminism – Palesa Mokoena (UCKAR)

Chair: Thando Njovane

English Department Seminar Room

11.15 Economics and Policy

South African foreign policy and its implications for feminist Inter- national Relations: the legacies of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Maite Nkoana-Mashabane – Siphokazi Magadla and Nica Cornell (Rhodes)

African Feminist Futures: Fashioning Life in a Neoliberal World – Miriam Kilimo (Emory)

Chair: Dr Yvette Abrahams

11.15-13.15h Imaging Women

Paw-Paw Politics: Lady Skollie and the Curating of Contradiction – Wamuwi Mbao (Stellenbosch)

Women in African Cinema: Female Identity on Screen – Lizelle Bisschof  (Glasgow)

Re-imagining African feminism through the Afro-futuristic lens – Tshepiso Maleswena (Wits)

The Message of Misogyny in Hip- Hop Music and its Gender Dynamics – Mamaputle Boikanyo (Rhodes)

Chair: Prof M.Neelika Jayawardane

English Department Seminar Room
14.15-15.15h  Sexuality

Looking at disruption within feminist and anti-rape activism – Gorata Chengeta (Wits)

Bisexuality in South Africa – Zuziwe Khuzwayo (HSRC)

Chair: Prof Pumla Gqola

Fine Arts Department Seminar Room

14.15-15.15h Life Writing

(Re)visiting writing raced queerness: a  fictocritical exploration of writing the race-d queer South African Womxn – Chantelle Croeser (Stellenbosch)

A song in the night: the feminist ordeals of Norah Mumba – Ranka Primorac (Southampton)

Ekhaya nasemzini: Negotiating home in Noni Jabavu’s life narratives Drawn in Colour: African Contrasts and the Ochre People – Athambile Masola (Pretoria)

Chair: Dr Lynda Spencer

Closing Remarks – Dr Lynda Gichanda Spencer

* This event is funded by Finding Africa, UCAPI, The Andrew Mellon Foundation, the National Research Foundation, Art on Our Mind Research Project and Rhodes University.

CFP Theorising Africa: Reviewing a History of Ideas

21314649_1471303176288228_2685142725548250835_n

CALL FOR PAPERS

Theorising Africa: Reviewing a History of Ideas

University of Leeds

Seminar Series 2018

 

The field of cultural theory has – for as long as it’s been a discipline – been dominated by Western epistemologies.  Our ways of knowing have, undoubtably, always required a framework through which they can be conceptualised – or even legitimised. The consequence of this institutionalisation of thought, which has its roots in a myriad of complex historical and structural implementations of power, is that other epistemologies often get overlooked or even rebranded under different names or theories, at the behest of fitting the demands and criteria of Western academe. The notion of a history of ideas that is grounded in a Euro-American paradigm obscures, and limits, our understanding of and engagement with the multiplicities of meaning at work in cultural analysis. Theorising Africa seeks to explore what it means to be human, to be a member of society, through the exploration of identity, aesthetics, and politics by placing cultural theory and African epistemic frameworks in dialogue.

The concept of Ubuntu finds its distorted counterpart in some versions of post-humanist thought. Ideas of community deriving from Igbo cosmology similarly find their traces – albeit inversely – in much of the discourses pertaining to community building in the fields of cultural theory, law, and literature. Subverting the closure inherent in binary oppositions, we seek to bridge the divide that has so far disadvantaged African epistemologies on the academic platform, entering into dialogue and engaging with a richly diverse history of ideas.

For this seminar series we are interested in looking to Africa for its history of ideas: How has African thought transcended boundaries and how can it continue to do so? What can African thought contribute to the many blind spots in the fields of cultural theory? How can these contributions account for the work of knowledge-making? In what ways are these contributions necessary?

We seek papers and proposals on topics including, but not limited to:

  • African literary theory
  • Reframing the history of ideas – philosophical interrogations
  • Cultural analysis
  • Psychoanalysis
  • African Futures
  • Law
  • Politics and bio-violence
  • Feminisms and policy
  • Community building
  • The creaturely
  • Animism
  • Theology
  • Art History
  • Challenges to the legacy of the writer
  • Any non-conforming inquiry which doesn’t fall into a field

Please get in touch with proposals (max 300 words + bio) in Word format to findingpocoafrica@gmail.com by 31 January 2018.