For Okayafrica


Critics of #ScienceMustFall are loud and clear: science is a neutral exercise, exempt from decolonisation.

Of course there are successful counter-arguments, shared in response to the social media rage that ensued after a video of a University of Cape Town student—who declared science must be scratched as a whole because it’s a product of Western modernity—took centre stage.

The infamous #ScienceMustFall clip—which is sitting at just under a million views since it surfaced last month—was an excerpt from a more nuanced, two-hour-long discussion on this topic, and was inspired by the #FeesMustFall movement’s call for free, decolonised education in South Africa.

In September, student protests flared up for a second year in a row following an announcement by South Africa’s Minister of Higher Education, Blade Nzimande, that it would be up to the individual institutions to decide if they’ll raise fees, with a recommended 8 percent cap. The following day, universities shut down nationwide, private security was ordered on campus and, although the media often had you believe the protests were mindless, decolonisation was repeatedly discussed in panels and papers.

How music and dance pertain to decolonisation was one of the less public debates, but it still deserves attention. Science’s subjectivity may lie beneath the surface, but surely, most people would agree that the arts are highly personal and deeply expressionistic practises, full of history, culture and politics. Especially in South Africa.

Read more here.

Image credit: Photo of Thandeka Louisa Mfinyongo by Marco-John Titus