Saturday, 10 September 2011

Reflections on the Frantz Fanon Fifty Years Later Colloquium

by Camalita Naicker, Thinking Africa Newsletter

There are many clichés one could devolve into when speaking about an event like this, I will try my best to refrain from doing so, however clichés have become such because of their overuse but also their ability to describe feelings and emotions fairly appropriately. What I will say is that for me it was an extremely novel, profound experience. Reading Frantz Fanon and engaging with people who have known him and engaged with his work over so many years and still recognise not only his relevance to our society today but how we, through our fidelity to him and in living Fanon, can recognise the possibility for the creation of a new humanity.

To be at the free and open conference and to have conversations with people whose books I’ve read or readings I have done in my politics lectures was incredible and also an experience unheard of at other South African universities. The Fanon Colloquium as well as our week long winter school was a testament to the commitment this department has not only to re-thinking the role of the intellectual in our society but also about re-thinking academia and (for the most part) its rigidity and the old hierarchical and to put it frankly “Old white boys club” stigma it seems to carry. It was a pioneering event, which given the right support and funding in the future would see this department continue to take learning and engaging with theory to new levels. It would undoubtedly be a calling card for post-grads around South Africa as well as other countries to come here and help build a more open and inclusive society and democracy committed to Fanon’s new humanity, premised on equality.