An afrocentric critique of South Africa’s contemporary knowledge production regime
The politics of knowledge in the world are as old as the cradle of human civilisation. The stakes of knowledge politics are higher in countries that have a rich history of colonialism, such as South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe, among others. In the post-apartheid South Africa, there has been a raging scholarly and policy debate about the dynamics of the knowledge industry within our shores. At the centre of this debate has been the role of statutory institutions, such as ASSAf, NRF, universities and research councils. Despite the expressed legislative framework, the role of these institutions in terms of knowledge generation and development has not been applied in line with this framework by their administrators. The policy makers have not yet seriously held them accountable. The consequence is that these administrators have been largely acting not within the national policy framework. In fact, this discourse has largely assumed the form of a conversation between the deaf. Drawing from the fusion of an alternative Afrocentric perspective and interdisciplinary discourse analysis in its broadest form, this paper argues that statutory institutions have an important national role to play in the knowledge industry. But their activities are not above board. If left operating the way they do, their wrong activities have a potential to undermine declared policy measures to the pursuit of true and quality knowledge.
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