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(Re)Imagining the future: African perspectives on global inequalities

Both the history and future of 'African' societies have far too often been represented through the lenses of Eurocentric perspectives. However, African and African-diasporic scholars and activists such as Toni Morrison, Audre Lorde or Prinz Kum'a Ndumbe III., have created a vast pool of literature and knowledge in the past decades that challenges the Eurocentric perspectives on the history of people of African descent. Yet there remains an urgent need to (re)imagine the future through the lenses of African and African-diasporic perspectives. The project '(Re)Imagining the future: African perspectives on global inequalities' seeks to trace and analyse critically diverse 'African' perspective on the future(s). Underlying our project is the observation that in social movements such as RhodesMusFall, 'Why isn't my professor Black' or FeesMustFall as well as in literature, art and music, a vision of the future is expressed that redefines the relationship between Africa and Europe anew. In context of our project, we therefore ask questions like How do 'African'/ 'African'-diasporic activists_scholars imagine the future in context of persisting global inequalities? What role does Europe/ the West occupy in these visions? And what changes need to happen in order to realize the vision of the future that is expressed by 'African'/ 'African'-diasporic activists? The goal of the project is to make these different views on the future visible as well as to work towards a realization of these visions.

International Symposium: '(Re)imagining the future: Afro-feminist/ LGBTIQ* perspectives on education, (int.) politics and identity in context of global inequalities'

“Let's think about the future because the past has been crazy!” Espérance Niyonsaba

Who can we talk about struggles of women* and LGBTIQ* activists without falling into the bias pattern of Eurocentric views about 'Africa' as a place without civilization? What are the dilemmas which emerge in a context of global structures of inequality for activists_scholars in that field? What are the visions of activists_scholars for the future with regard to education, (int.) politics and identity?  

The conference '(Re)imagining the future: Afro-feminist/ LGBTIQ* perspectives on education, (int.) politics and identity in context of global inequalities' is an attempts to specifically provide a space for views expressed by 'African' female* activists_scholars on the challenges of the future.
Throughout the conference we would like our speakers and audience to engage in a critical discussion on a postcolonial and intersectional critique of University structure both in 'Africa' and Europe. In this regard we would like to engage for example with scholar_activists as Ncumisa Mdlokolo, Mariétou Mbaye, Awino Okech and Athinangamso Nkopo in order to picture their visions  Afro-feminist/LGBTIQ* perspective on the future of education. In addition we envision to have a panel which specifically deals with the challenges, postcolonial dilemmas and possibilities of LGBTIQ* activism in context of postcolonial inequalities. In this regard we would like to invite Ncumisa Mdlokolo, Awino Okech, Athinangamso Nkopo for a conversation on the postcolonial dilemmas which each of them experience in their work. 

Invited speakers/ Organizations:

•    Ncumisa Mdlokolo (Student activist UWC)
•    Mariétou Mbaye – Ken Bugul (Senegalese author)
•    Generation Adefra - ADEFRA e.V. (requested)
•    Awino Okech (research scholar SOAS)
•    We are born free! Empowernment radio
•    Athinangamso Nkopo (Student activist Rhodes Must Fall in Oxford)
•    LesMigras e.V (requested)

Save the Date!
Date: Saturday 09.09.2017 in Refugio Berlin
More information will appear on this website soon!
Free entrance.

Contact and registration: m.hellmich(at)africavenir.org 

Mit freundlicher Unterstützung des Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung, Brot für die Welt und der Landesstelle für Entwicklungszusammenarbeit.


Quotes from 1st panel:

"The men in the space were like, we deal with feminism later, it is race first, and we were like absolutely not. I don't only walk into the room as a black person, I also walk in as a women, I also walk in as a queer." - Ncumisa Mdlokolo 

"The idea that Africa cannot produce individuals who are competitive across the world is one that we must begin to demystify." - Dr. Awino Okech 

"Some people came up with saying 'All Lives Matter', but no they don't, not to say that not all lives matter, but if that is true then 'Black Lives Matter' wouldn't have to exist. If truly all lives matter, we wouldn't have to say black lives matter." - Ncumisa Mdlokolo 



Background and Motivation

In recent years, German coverage of the African continent has spoken of all sorts of 'opportunities' and 'futures'. Often this affected an economic upswing in certain countries as measured by the gross domestic product or even new socio-cultural impulses. There has been less public debate when colonial monuments are overthrown and replaced in Cameroon, as well as in Namibia, South Africa and other countries, as they are seen as symbols of continuing virulent (neo) colonial relations. While a European public is newly interested in an emerging Africa, at least part of African civil society is increasingly turning its back on Europe.

The project is based on the observation that in various social groups models for the future in and about Africa are being imagined, created and negotiated. However, these models not only negotiate how different "futures" can unfold in African societies. They also always imply a new or different relationship with Europe and especially with the former colonial powers. But it also becomes clear that these are diverse and ambivalent processes that can not be rashly reduced to a common denominator. While in some areas old boundaries between Africa and Europe are actively overcome, new differences appear elsewhere. This not only changes the relationship to Europe, but also the different social divisions. The LGBTI* movement in Uganda criticizes both homophobic attitudes in the country itself and paternalistic influence from the West. In Cameroon, people regularly gather under the slogan 'Generation Change' as pragmatic reformers in a participative network that works to improve municipal infrastructure away from both governmental and NGO-led structures. For some time now, Benin has had successful entrepreneurial counterparts to Western business models that rework, preserve and disseminate traditional knowledge from agriculture and medicine. They explicitly associate their entrepreneurship with a pan-African claim of complete break with the old colonial powers. In order to understand the changes outlined above, not only Africa and Europe but also relations within societies need to be considered accordingly.

Under the title "Determining the Future", speakers from Africa and the Afro-European Community will discuss the effects of the thematic visions of the future on two fields: on the future Afro-European relations in politics, economics and culture and on developmental education work. In addition to presentations of recent developments, actors in educational work should be invited to ask about the consequences of these developments for the contents and methods of their daily work and to include them in their work.

Further Readings and Links

(Re)Imagining the Future: 

Felwine Sarr über "Afrotopia." "Kulturzeit"-Gespräch mit dem Autor: Einer der aktuell meist diskutierten Denker Africas - Felwine Sara aus dem Senegal. 3 sat, 16. June 2017.

"The revolution will bot be NGO-ised": four lessons from African feminist organising" by Valerie Bah & Felogene Anumo, Awid Women's Rights, 31. July 2017. 

"Black to the Future: Queer Afro-feministist perspectives" by Riri Hylton, Siegessäule.de. 

"African LGBTI Manifesto/Declaration" by Sokari, Black Looks, 17. May 2011.

"The Future of Sex in Africa" by Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah, Open Democracy, 50.50, 4. August 2017. 

      Adventures from the Bedrooms of African women. A blog managed by Nana Darkoa
Sekyiamah and Malaka to create a space for African Women to share experiences of Sex and our our diverse Sexualities. 

      Afrofuturism to everyday futurists: new kinds of artist, power and tech by Jessica Bland, The Guardian, 11. March 2015. 

      How Africa can use its traditional knowledge to make progress. Chika Ezeanya-Esiobu, Ted.com, August 2017. 

These African Women Artists Discuss Using Art as a Language of Resistence to Patriarchy.
Nadia Sesay, Okayafrica.com, 3. November 2017. 

The Foxy Five. Frauen of Color erzählen ihre Narrative. Miriam Yosef, analyse&kritik:Zeitung für linke Debatte und Praxis, 14. November 2017.



Related Events

Gallery Reflection #3 Art and (New) Intersectional Feminisms - Kunst und (neue)intersektionale Feminismen 

      Donnerstag, 16. November, 19:30 Uhr 
ifa-Galerie Berlin, Linienstr.139/140, 10115 Berlin

      Ein Gespräch zwischen Federica Bueti (Autorin und Redakteurin, SAVVY Contemporary), Alanna Lockward (Autorin, Filmemacherin, BE.BOP-Kuratorin), Kathy-Ann Tan (Amerikanist*in, Berlin) und Jonas Tinius (Anthropologe, CARMAH/HU Berlin)

      Intersektionaler Feminismus beschreibt und untersucht, wie strukturelle, allgemeine und subjektive  Überschneidungen von Diskriminierungsformen aufgrund von Rasse, Klasse, ethnischer Zugehörigkeit, Religion und Gender die Erfahrungen von Frauen und Trans*Personen prägen. Wie reflektieren, artikulieren und kritisieren künstlerische Praktiken diese politische Position? Worin besteht das Erbe seinerzeit ausschlaggebender intersektionaler Diskurse des Schwarzen Feminismus und Aktivismus (Kimberlé Crenshaw) und welchen Einfluss haben sie auf aktuelle Generationen von Künstler*innen, Aktivist*innen und Akademiker*innen? Welche Rolle spielt die Kunst bei der Suche nach einer intersektionalen feministischen politischen Ökonomie? Bei der dritten Veranstaltung im Rahmen der Reihe Gallery Reflections diskutieren wir über das Verhältnis von Kunst und intersektionalem Feminismus im Kontext der Ausstellung Every Mask I Ever Loved der nigerianisch-amerikanischen Künstlerin Wura-Natasha Ogunji.

      Die Autorin und Herausgeberin Federica Bueti lebt in Berlin und forscht über feministische Politiken und Ökonomien des Schreibens. Sie ist Herausgeberin von ...ment, Journal for Contemporary Culture, Art and Politics (www.journalment.org) und gehört zum Kurator*innen-Team von SAVVY Contemporary, wo sie Co-Kuratorin der Reihe Speaking Feminism rund um aktuelle feministischer Praktiken und Zusammenschlüsse ist. Gegenwärtig promoviert sie über Critical Writing in Art am Royal College of Art in London.

      Alanna Lockward ist eine dominikanisch-deutsche Autorin, Kuratorin und Filmemacherin. Sie ist Gründungsdirektorin der Art Labour Archives, einer einmaligen Plattform für die Verschmelzung von Theorie, politischem Aktivismus und Ästhetik. Weiterhin erforscht sie, wie das Phänomen der marronage, der Flucht karibischer Sklav*innen, auf diskursiver und mystischer Ebene in zeitbasierten Praktiken, kritischer Rassentheorie, dekolonialen Ästhetiken/dekolonialer Ästhesie, Schwarzem Feminismus und womanistischen Ästhetiken fortwirkt.

      Kathy-Ann Tan lebt in Berlin. Sie erlangte ihren Doktor der Amerikanistik an der Universität Tübingen, wo sie sich auch habilitierte. Ihre Forschungsschwerpunkte sind postkoloniale und dekoloniale Studien, kritische Rassentheorie sowie Citizenship, Gender und Queer Studies, Dichtung und visuelle Kultur. Gegenwärtig ist sie Gastprofessorin für Amerikastudien an der Universität Paderborn. Im Rahmen ihres aktuellen Forschungsprojekts The Aesthetics of Decolonization: Performance, Affect and Visual Perception untersucht sie, wie die beherrschenden Narrative der westlichen Moderne in Performancekunst und visueller Kultur, sowie im Rahmen kulturellen Praktiken und innerhalb von gesellschaftlichen Gebilden, kritisch hinterfragt, analysiert und neu verhandelt werden.

      Jonas Tinius ist Kunstanthropologe und Post-doctoral Research Fellow des Centre for Anthropological Research on Museums and Heritage am Institut für Europäische Ethnologie der Humboldt-Universität Berlin. Im Rahmen seines aktuellen Forschungsprojekts untersucht er, wie sich in Berlin arbeitende Kurator*innen Fragen von Andersheit und Differenz nähern. Er ist Leiter des Netzwerks Anthropology and the Arts der European Association of Social Anthropologists (mit Roger Sansi, Barcelona). www.jonastinius.com

Veranstaltung in englischer Sprache

      Gallery Reflections ist eine Veranstaltungsreihe mit Diskussionen über Institutionen und kuratorische Praktiken moderiert von dem Anthropologen Jonas Tinius im Rahmen von Untie to Tie – Koloniale Vermächtnisse und zeitgenössische Gesellschaften. 



The Symposium is funded by:

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