Keynote Speaker: Tuesday 14 November

Prof Pumla Gqola

Pumla Gqola is Professor of Literary and Cultural Studies and the DSI-NRF SARChI Chair in African Feminist Imagination at Nelson Mandela University. She is the author of ground-breaking studies on slave memory in South Africa, What is Slavery To Me? Postcolonial/Slave Memory in Post-apartheid South Africa, and on rape culture, Female Fear Factory: Gender and Patriarchy under Racial Capitalism, and Rape: A South African Nightmare, which won the 2016 Alan Paton Award. She has written extensively on slave memory, Black Consciousness, African and postcolonial feminisms, African and Caribbean writers, South African visual and musical artists, and post-apartheid public culture.

Keynote Speaker: Tuesday 15 November

Dr Thando Njovane

Dr Thando Njovane is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Literary Studies in English at Rhodes University, where she is an Andrew Mellon early career scholar. Dr. Njovane’s work is deeply rooted in the fields of memory, contested past, trauma theory, childhood studies, psychoanalysis, political philosophy, critical race theory, feminisms, and higher education. Her current research focus centers on her forthcoming monograph titled Trauma and Childhood in Contemporary African Fiction, demonstrating her commitment to exploring pressing issues related to African literature, trauma, and childhood experiences.

Keynote Speaker: Thursday 16 November

Prof Achille Mbembe

Achille Mbembe is a Research Professor in History and Politics at WISER and the Director of the new Innovation Foundation for Democracy. He is the recipient of an Honorary Doctorates from the University of Paris VIII (France), Universite Catholique de Louvain (Belgium) and the University of Bergen (Norway). He has also held the Albert the Great Chair at the University of Koln (2019) and was an Honorary Professor at the Jakob Fugger-Zentrum, University of Augsburg (Germany). He has been awarded numerous awards including the 2015 Geswichter Scholl-Preis, the 2018 Gerda Henkel Award and the 2018 Ernst Bloch Award.

The Colloquium, The Colonial Wound and the Practice of Repair, aims to engender a fertile intellectual space for an interrogation and reparative engagement with the injury: psychic, existential, and spiritual, wrought by centuries of colonial violence. For this colloquium, the call for emerging researchers includes international doctoral candidates, postdoctoral researchers and early career researchers who have received a doctorate in the last five years.

With the publication of W.E.B Du Bois’s, The Souls of Black Folk, the diagnosis of the colonial condition as a social pathology became a theoretical problematic that would influence debates between activists, scholars and future politicians. Whether the theoretical focus has been on alienation, trauma or non-being in Asia, South America or Africa, practitioners of colonial studies have emphasized the relationship between racializing violence, the deracination of local structures and the constitution of a wounded, colonized subject. In many postcolonial societies, the transformation of the colonial condition instituted a new regime of violence, one that did not heal the wound but intensified the laceration. These developments gave birth to the study of the Postcolony, as a regime of brutality and corrupt conviviality. In this context, the practice of repair as an open-ended process of individual and communal healing has been essential to restoring the dignity and independence of the former colonized and colonizer. Significantly, the reparative is concerned with re-humanizing modes of deficient sociality, transcending hitherto colonial relations that divided human beings into violently opposing types.

This colloquium is organised and hosted by the postdoc fellows at the Centre for the Study of Violence and the Reparative Quest (AVReQ).