Disrupting Higher Education Curriculum through Anti-Colonial Theory and Praxis in South Africa

The Umthombo Centre for Student Success team have been awarded an Unsettling Paradigms grant through the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which will allow the EDU to conduct research into the effectiveness and impact of the new suite of disciplinary-based, first year level Khanyisa Introductory Courses for all students doing general degrees that are currently (in 2021) being piloted across the Faculty.

The 2018 proposal for the project was developed in response to the students’ call, during the 2015-2017 protests, to 'decolonize curricula' by ‘re-centring Africa’ and offering forms of pedagogy that affirm their identities, relate to their experiences and build their agency. The stated purpose of the proposal was to ‘offer one concrete, practical means of responding to the students’ call at the level of the Humanities undergraduate degree structure. These Khanyisa courses are the result of a decision taken by Humanities Faculty Board to develop courses specifically designed to present first year students with challenging, decolonial content which contains enriched pedagogy that sets them up for study in the critical Humanities in the majors of their choice.

The 8 courses in the suite aim to introduce students to the disciplines in ways that that are cognizant of our African location and by extention, develop enriched pedagogy focuses on the development of critical Humanities skills. They further aim to provide innovative teaching and delivery methods which allow more time for active engagement and online research skills development, as well as the option of allowing for multilingualism and translanguaging in the classroom.

Current Research Projects
Names of Principal Researchers:
  • Ms Nicci Isaacs
  • Ms Jaamia Galant
  • Dr Shannon Morreira
  • Associate Professor Ellen Hurst