Becoming a professor at a time of decolonisation

Prof Emmanuel Mfanafuthi Mgqwashu, the director of the Centre for Higher Education Professional Development at the North-West University (NWU), recently delivered his inaugural lecture on the Potchefstroom Campus.

The topic of his lecture was “A timely question: How can we not talk about becoming a professor in the context of decolonising higher education?”

During this lecture, Prof Mgqwashu drew from his 26 years of experience in the academia and shared critical reflections on his journey to becoming a professor.

He explained how two types of pressure facing higher education institutions necessitate revisiting the role of a professor.

“These pressures are, firstly, to account for market-friendliness and, secondly, to respond to the transformation and decolonisation imperatives because of massification,” said Prof Mgqwashu.

He also reflected on the broader socio-economic and political conditions under which universities exist and the impact these conditions have on the knowledge project.

“Such impact manifests through instrumental reasoning and the commodification of knowledge, as well as what Leibowitz refers to as ‘Western hegemony’ of knowledge or the domination of one body of knowledge or one way of seeing the world over others,” he added.

Given this impact, Prof Mgqwashu explored the extent to which a professorial role may need to re-adapt to respond to the broader socio-economic and political exigencies that continue to spill over into higher education.

“In this presentation, I neither prescribe how a professorial role needs to respond to these imperatives, nor am I questioning the role the professoriate currently plays in higher education. Instead, I suggest possible conceptual frameworks that we could draw upon as we attempt to re-envision this role,” said Prof Mgqwashu.

Watch Prof Mgqwashu's lecture here:


Prof Emmanuel Mfanafuthi Mgqwashu.

Submitted on Tue, 04/18/2023 - 10:19