Political Literacy and the Precolonial Problem

24 Dec 2018 - 12:30
Caption: Tshisimani Centre (Photo courtesy of Paula Ensor)


In December, 2018, the Tshisimani Centre for Activist Education in Cape Town invited NRF Chair, Carolyn Hamilton, to facilitate a discussion at Tshisimani on the history of the southern African past before European colonialism. The discussion covered: problems of terminology and the need for a conceptual revolution; debated periodization; why and how an understanding of the early periods is central to contemporary political literacy; the nature and extent of the research challenges involved and the ways which they are stalled in the academies. The discussion also encompassed consideration of what is contained in the school curriculum and in the institutions of public culture. The discussion turned repeatedly to the relevance of the late independent era to contemporary debates and discussion about the land.