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UCT academic, Dr Shari Daya, contributes to conversations on Geography in South Africa

20 May 2021 - 11:45

In a recently published article in Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers titled, ‘Moving from crisis to critical praxis: Geography in South Africa’, Dr Daya reflects on the many recent challenges in South African Higher Education. She suggests that we might re-frame the idea of crisis as opportunity, times in which to reflect critically on our practices, and work towards relationships premised on care. In the current moment, this could usefully include a deeper engagement with work produced under the banners of Southern and decolonial theory, as well as with the long-standing traditions of feminist and postcolonial thought. Noting that growing geographical theory in ways that genuinely reflect our diverse African contexts will take ‘emotional and intellectual energy’, Dr Daya challenges us to take the necessary intellectual risks, even engaging in ‘epistemic disobedience’.

Written before the devastating fires at UCT in April 2021, but in the wake of staff and student activism, drought and lockdowns, the paper suggests that in the midst of turmoil and struggle, Geographers have particular skills that position us particularly well to imagine African alternatives and foster more caring academic spaces.