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. In addition to her role as a lecturer, Dr. Njovane actively contributes to the academic community as a researcher, Gender and Diversity, and Early Career Officer at the Rhodes University Centre for Higher Education Research, Teaching and Learning (CHERTL) and the African Studies Centre. Furthermore, she serves as the co-director of the transcontinental interdisciplinary platform, Finding Africa, a postcolonial African studies platform convened in collaboration with the University of Leeds and Bristol in the UK. Dr. Njovane’s recent publications, including her contribution to the forthcoming book Knowing / Unknowing: African Studies at the Crossroads, co-authored with Mandy Hlengwa, highlight her commitment to transformative and thought-provoking research. Another noteworthy work is her chapter “The (Auto)Biographical Es’kia Mphahlele” in “The Meaning of Foundational Writers Across a Century,” showcasing her proficiency in African literary studies. Dr. Thando Njovane’s academic contributions continue to shape contemporary discourse in various fields, making her a distinguished scholar at Rhodes University.


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. A major figure in the emergence of a new wave of French critical theory, he has written extensively on contemporary politics and philosophy, including On the Postcolony (University of California Press, 2001), Critique of Black Reason (Duke University Press, 2016), Necropolitics (Duke University Press, 2019) and Out of the Dark Night: Essays on Decolonization (Columbia University Press, 2020). His latest book, La communauté terrestre, was published in 2023. Originally written in French, his books and numerous articles are translated in sixteen languages (English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Dutch, Polish, Slovenian, Danish, Swedish, Romanian, Arabic, Serbian, Turkish, Catalan, Chinese). He has an A1 rating from the South African National Research Foundation and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Fellow of the British Academy

More speakers coming soon