Transformation in Africa: Where do we begin?

The last engage Wednesdays session was held at the IS seminar room with attendants from persons within the IS department and even the faculty of commerce. The session began with the formation of different groups in order to come up with words/phrases that depicted what transformation meant to each individual and what primary step they thought should be taken in order to achieve this in their country(ies). One of the groups presented what they had collectively decided and some keywords such as natural, equity, acceptance, transparency and open dialogue were mentioned.

Following the group activity was the presentation by the speaker of the day, Dr Ingrid Tufvesson. She addressed the topic “Transformation in Africa: Where do we begin”. In light of this and her stance as an African she began the presentation with greetings from different languages. Her presentation was very insightful and drove home some key points on the history of transformation, how it applies to the entire African continent and particularly South Africa. She also invoked thinking and conversation around Transformation. Below are some excerpts from what she said:

“Transformation in the South Africa context is not a choice, it is an imperative that was first coined in the South African legislation and as a deliberation discourse. Its export to other parts of the world has transformed the notion of transformation…In the volatility of the notion, it can be deployed to any space, issue or context.”

“It is inexplicable that no matter where you go, with the notion of transformation, it requires provocative thinking and you must be emotionally and intellectually mature enough to have that kind of that conversation. Otherwise, if you cant deal with provocative thinking it means when provocative speaking takes place you will have an immediate anti-catalyst response to transformation.”

Dr Tufvesson gave the definition of Transformation as seen in the image below:


She added that, “An Africa-wide approach to transformation requires vigorous interaction with the realities and fundamental truths about the colonial settler impact and its continued longevity. It also must ground any redress project aimed to bring about change in intersectional examinational context. It also must be context specific. As life is dynamic, transformation is also dynamic. We must also engage with the politics of loyalty. If you look at who is loyal to who, you will see where the imbalance in power is taking place.”

The session closed few minutes after Dr Tufvesson’s presentation and the attendants wrote their thoughts on Transformation as it applies to them and their countries and took pictures with these writings. Some of these pictures are below.

The session showed that Transformation cannot be a one time, once off conversation and most importantly, it should not be one sided or a one person show; rather, it requires continuous thought processes and equal and collective engagement.

Engage Wednesdays will like to thank Dr Ingrid Tufvesson and all those who attended the session. We also extend special thanks to the following people for their support, input and contribution that made the session possible and a success: Prof Kevin Johnston, the administrative staff of Information Systems Department, Mohammed Al-Hassan, Samwel Mwapele, Henry Oladimeji, Mervelleuse.

Please share your thoughts in the comments section.

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