2016 has been a tumultuous year for South African universities. The student call for decolonised education places a critical spotlight on university curricula, established canons and the history of disciplinary practices. It underscores the centrality of a critical interrogation of archive in any review of prevailing knowledge practices and highlights the need for the kind of work pioneered in the Archive and Public Culture Research Initiative. Most relevant is APC work in exploring the mutually constituting roles of archive and public, political and academic discourses and practices across time.
At the end of 2016 we can be satisfied with having reached a number of research milestones pertinent to the current crisis in higher education and to how matters are discussed and debated in public and academic life.
The APC's November research development workshop took place against the backdrop of nation-wide student protests about fees and the lack of transformation in higher education, and a delicately-brokered agreement for the completion of the 2016 academic year. The event drew together graduate students, fellows, affiliates and guests from England, Germany and Chile, as well as from Johannesburg, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.
From 27 to 29 October 2016, four APC associated scholars—Carolyn Hamilton, Mbongiseni Buthelezi, Nessa Leibhammer and Catherine Elliott Weinberg—joined a group of international and other South African scholars in London and Cambridge for a number of events linked to the British Museum’s major autumn exhibition “South Africa: The Art of a Nation”, that opened to the public on 27 October.
Dr José Manuel De Prada-Samper’s The man who cursed the wind / Die man wat die wind vervloek het, published by African Sun Press in collaboration with UCT’s Centre for African Studies, is a collection of 61 oral narratives recorded in the Karoo region of South Africa. De Prada-Samper first reported to the APC on this work following his 2011–2012 fieldtrips on which it is based.