Esteemed decolonial writer Professor Ngugi wa Thiong’o joined us at the Centre for Equity and Inclusion last month.
In honour of his contributions, the symposium was held with our partner, African Voices Platform and in collaboration with The Racial Justice Network. The event spanned two days at Utopia Theatre’s Creative Hub and at the University of Sheffield.
Day one featured a Gukunguira ceremony led by the Kenyan delegation and artivist Githuku Ndungu. Professor Ngugi wa Thiong’o was honoured with a robe and hat, followed by performances and speeches by local creatives, activists, and scholars from the African diaspora.
Sheffield’s poet laureate Danae Wellington and her predecessor Warda Yassin delivered verses exploring identity and belonging. BBC reporter and poet Sile Sibanda shared her work, while theatre artist John Rwoth Omack presented a dramatic piece alongside Tongesayi Gumbo’s drumming. Postgraduate researcher Macole Lannaman discussed the mental well-being of young Black individuals in the UK. Mojisola Kareem-Elufowoju, CEO and Artistic Director of Utopia Theatre shared insights into how Professor Ngugi’s works influenced her directing.
On the second day, we hosted a workshop on decolonisation for postgraduate research students at the University of Sheffield. Professor Ngugi emphasised challenging colonial ideologies within academia and society, advocating for preserving African languages and cultures. Students engaged in a dialogue seeking guidance on their research pursuits.
The symposium celebrated Professor Ngugi’s legacy and reinforced a commitment to continuing the crucial work of decolonisation in our minds and world.