Published: Dec. 6, 2018 By

Taphy CU Engage Doctoral Research Assistant Tafadzwa (Taphy) Tivaringe recently authored and published a research article "Decolonizing the Academy." The paper is published by Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA), an independent pan-African research organization primarily focusing on social sciences research in Africa. Tivaringe describes the article as "primarily aimed at people committed to fighting colonial structures and is an invitation for deeper thought, reflection and soberness in attempts to disrupt colonial frameworks."

Growing up African in the post-colonial context, Tivaringe experienced multiple decolonial strategies that were attempts to address the effects of colonialism. "While some decolonial strategies were in spirit, well intentioned, I have experienced how they can unwittingly replicate the colonial frameworks they seek to disrupt," remarks Tivaringe. 

He notes that the interesting finding of his research is that some well-intentioned decolonial strategies rely on colonial frameworks and therefore inadvertently reproduce colonial structures.

"In the last couple of years, decolonizing knowledge production has become more central in the social sciences in general and education in particular in the global north and south," Tivaringe states. "In the global north, historically marginalized groups are increasingly questioning unjust systems that have colonial roots and developing new strategies of dismantling such structures,” he explains.

Meanwhile, the global south is experiencing new social movements that question the effectiveness of decolonial strategies that have been used by postcolonial thinkers. New decolonial strategies have become more urgent because there have been numerous failed attempts to address colonial systems in both the global north and south.

"My paper attempts to ensure that the global north and south connect and take stock of what works and what doesn't," states Tivaringe.

"We need to be more thoughtful," Tivaringe reflects. "Yes, the need for change is urgent. However, shortcuts to change only serve to deepen unjust systems."