UCT in trilateral agreement

30 October 2006

Bonding: Prof Eon Nigel Harris of the University of the West Indies, UCT's Prof Njabulo S Ndebele and Dr Brenda Allen formalise a new agreement between the three institutions.

A trilateral agreement between UCT, Brown University in the US the University of West Indies in Jamaica, centred around African and African diasporic thought, has hit the ground running.

Even before Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Njabulo S Ndebele, completed the formalities and the paperwork with Dr Brenda Allen of Brown University and Professor Eon Nigel Harris of the University of the West Indies (UWI) at a special function last Monday evening, the agreement had already borne its first fruits.

Professor Tony Bogues, who holds the chair of Africana studies at Brown and is a visiting professor at the Centre for Caribbean Thought at West Indies, is well entrenched at UCT's Centre for African Studies (CAS), where he had spent the past few months teaching alongside CAS' Dr Nick Shepherd. At the same time, Bogues, Shepherd, CAS colleague Associate Professor Harry Garuba and UWI's Professor Brian Meeks had been doing the groundwork for the collaboration.

On Saturday, October 21, UCT hosted a one-day colloquium titled The University in Africa, featuring scholars from all three institutions. And on the morning of the actual signing of the agreement, the CAS had kicked off a three-day Workshop on African and African Diasporic Knowledges with many of the selfsame representatives.

It's a brave journey the universities have embarked on, said Prof Ndebele.

"One of the key questions that the colloquium and the conference are asking is, what are the potentials in the network of relationships between those living and working in Africa, and those who are part of the global African diaspora? This partnership that is being ritually signed and consolidated here gestures towards fulfilling that potential with the substance of new knowledge production, which will enrich our teaching and also research."

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