Transformation seminar by Adam Habib and Thaddeus Metz hosted by uj sociology, anthropolgy and developmental studies.

Transformation seminar by Adam Habib and Thaddeus Metz hosted  by uj sociology, anthropolgy and developmental studies.

It is always a pleasure and fulfilling to sip from the reservoir of the sages and enlightened ones. It brings one great joy when is in the midst of people who are reputed to be pundits of a particular discipline or theme. Moreover when the latter is close to your heart as a budding intellectual. The seminar  titled “Transcending the past and reimagining the future of the South African university by Adam Habib" on the 09/09/2015 hosted by UJ Sociology, Anthropology & Development studies was an event that couldn’t be missed because Adam Habib was going to be the main speaker at the event. To cut it to the chase, the seminar revealed quite numerous issues that warrant extensive and in-depth interrogation from a Black person perspective. This august moment was not an extraordinary one because firstly this seminar/discussion is held on the backdrop of an antagonist wave of rebellion sweeping the greater academic and social spaces of our country. The room reeked of paranoia and insecurity from the esteemed guest from the supposedly leading University in the country, in the midst of the throngs the security personnel from the protection unit was among the audience to dispel any “violence” that might occur because it was pre-empted that we might be physical with our guest or disrupt the proceedings.

The suspicion on the largely black minds and bodies who were there that day is reminiscent of the Apartheid police state that painted each and every one of us as delinquent, violent, savages and bunch of people who know nothing about communication in resolving their issues. Thus worthy to be bayonetted and suffocated before even they voice their deeply tortured and mutilated system that find no remorse in the squalor and white-towerism of institutions designated to Black people.  The themed was hinged on Transformation of universities in South Africa and the main speakers which was Adam Habib and certain Metz who both oozes with a sense of authority in their respective disciplines. The abnormality of the event was the fact that Thaddeus Metz, a white male from USA propagated for the restoration and preservation of Afrikan authorities and culture in the pedagogy of the university.

The abnormality is the fact that this man from America is supposedly the main authority in African Philosophy at the University of Johannesburg , which irks the hell out of one because this is pattern that was propagated by the Euro-pseudo Egyptologists who were once mouth pieces on the history and heritage of our own glorious Khemet. Thus rendering the narrative of the latter useless through extensive bastardazation making our story white and owing its greatness from Europe. So Thaddeus Metz is no different, because he is liberal and seek credit for advancing the African centred thought in academia. We speak to the euro Thaddeus Metz because he strike one as being on our side but at the same time he is on the notion that there should be a discourse or dialogue between the superior and subordinate at Universities in ushering in the Afrikan centred thought in academia.

The problem is the system is structured in a sense that the one in high position has the absolute power and the one under him/her should just comment. The imbalances of power and authority renders Thaddeus Metz argument that through dialogue there could be a progress in ushering in Afrikan centred thought in academia. Moreover not to mention the monstrous capitalist western vested interests that are hell bent to counter the advance of Afrikan centred education in Tertiary institutions in Afrika. The grapevine mill is of the view that he also write on delicate Afrikan issues such as Ubuntu and Pan Afrikanism, which is an absurd because he culturally remain a foreign regardless of the amount of books or research studies he has done on the former and latter. In our quest to decolonization, we are adamant that white and racist spaces must be obliterated and thus Metz is not an ideal person to head or lead that cause because of his geographical and racial origin. It’s only us who can be at the forefront of such noble course.

It is unfortunate to hear a Blackman who supposedly felt the wrath of the apartheid and racist hegemony. Adam Habib is credited for being a pundit on contemporary issues related to education, politics and society. But it doesn’t change the fact that he has meted Stalinist measures on any dissent at his institutions he heads as the Vice Chancellor, he was in high spirit at the UJ seminar, speaking of multi-culturalism, cosmopolitan institution in the twentieth century and worse non-racialism. Moreover arrogantly choosing to caste critique at Afrikaner racist havens in the form of University of Stellenbosch, North West University and the others. Furthermore categorizing the revolutionary movement of our time the Rhodes Must Fall movement as perpetuating racial essentialism while we come from painful experience of the latter in the form of apartheid. 

The esteemed American educated Blackman Adam Habib has no moral duty to critique NWU and US because first of this is the very same man who was in charge of UJ which still has entrenched Afrikaans racist aura in its corridors and policy, this is the very same man who didn’t change who strive to change the racial and resource makeup of the former historical black institution like Soweto campus and Auckland park campus. They are still the same when he was there and when he left order than a sprinkle of blacks and whites there and there, no fundamental change whatsoever.  

The academic buffoonery Habib smacks is shocking taking to consideration the racial dynamics at play in our institutions of higher learning. Habib is correct when he says Black people feel foreign to institutions that supposed to be responsive and represent their interests. But he loses the plot when he say universities should carve a new identity on students because of the diverse backgrounds students come from and that we are in a global village. What is this new identity which is supported by non-racialism, multi-culturalism and cosmopolitanism? And how does one start to be race blind when every institutions in our society are dominated by racial vested interests? Particularly on tertiary institutions where the philosophy of the pedagogy of teaching, curriculum, managerial positions, university councils and business models are intertwined with the racial connotations. This is the epitome of TRC where whites were served with reconciliation on a silver platter without a request. How long should Blacks continue to make devastating concessions while white people continue to slumber in white privilege? Even before proper reparations have been made after centuries of cultural, economic and physical subjugation. 

This thing of carving a new identity as informed by multi-culturalism, cosmopolitan and non-racialism is nothing but a slap of the downtrodden folk which Blacks. Is synonymous to pacification of the wounded after years and years in the concentration camps, ours being the former Bantustans and currently being townships, locations and villages.
 Adam Habib has no moral authority to transcend the past and even reimagine the future of South African University because he is on the future now but he dismally fails to radically transcend the past by changing the modus operandi of a university which is the remnant and legacy of our torturous past. Adam Habib is of the view that we should be an active participant and competitor in the global village academically thus we should be on the same wavelength with everyone forgetting that China and Japan designed and carved institutions that are responsive and representative first of their people before they can even look beyond their borders.

We don’t advocate ignorance and island mentality here but we say it’s us first before them and that should be our modus operandi in building institutions. The violence he so passionately spoke about at institutions of higher is subsequent to the militarist and punitive measures the likes of him put in place to squash debate and dissent. Forgetting that universities are those protected spaces where dissent must flourish and debate must expand, but if it’s being suffocated what do you expect would happen? Revolt of course! And ours as black people our daily reality is absolute violence intellectually, socially and physically, it has been our companion to this very day. We call upon Adam Habib not to romanticize the issue of decolonization and be bold and discard his reformist stance on delicate issues and decolonize Wits, he failed with University of Johannesburg. 

In closing we must state it clearly and unequivocally that we love Frantz Fanon and we invoke his undying spirit. Moreover Black Thought we are driven by his words when he said:
 ““Each generation must, out of relative obscurity, discover its mission, fulfill it, or betray it.”
#Black thought!



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