The Africa Chapter of the Memory Studies Association Inaugural Conference

“Memory in Africa: Transcultural Dimensions”

University of Pretoria, South-Africa – October 17-19, 2019

Conference Report

Memory in Africa: Transcultural Dimensions

By Atabongwoung Gallous

The memory in Africa inaugural conference was held on the 17-19 October, 2019 at the University of Pretoria Hatfield Campus. The conference was organized by the Africa Chapter of Memory Studies Association. The Africa Chapter of Memory Studies Association is a brainchild of the International Memory Studies Association – MSA. The conference was aimed at promoting content of memory studies that are more African centred because within Memory Studies, the African continent, its people, diaspora and global linkages constitute neglected areas of research despite the effort individual scholars and the MSA’s explicit mission to move beyond the Euro/Anglo centrism. The conference was attended by over 40 delegates from Germany, United Kingdom, United States, Finland, Sweden, South Africa, the Kingdom of Eswatini, the Kingdom of Lesotho, Greece etc. The conference was very interactive and provided a platform for academic researchers in Africa and international scholars interested in Africa to network, to share their research and begin developing an Afrocentric approach to memory studies. The two Keynote speakers were Professor John Sutton from the Department of Cognitive Science at Macquarie University in Sydney – Australia and Professor Sifiso Mxolisi Ndlovu from the Department of History at the University of South Africa. Professor John Sutton spoke on the topic “Moving minds: emotion, memory, and embodied skill.” He said, activities of remembering are typically personal, cultural, and worldly all at once, distributed across embodied agents in interactive social groups embedded in complex ecologies. In his presentation, Professor Sutton tried to test and refine new ideas in memory studies in dialogue with some indigenous epistemologies. While Professor Sifiso Mxolisi Ndlovu spoke on the topic “Reclaiming the Ancestral Memory of Rolihlahla Dalibhunga Nelson Mandela.” In his Presentation, Professor Sifiso cited an article titled ‘Liberating Mandela’s Memory’ published in the New African magazine of March 2011, by Ayi Kwei Armah, the Ghanaian intellectual and literary scholar who locates Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela within African epistemologies and highlights epistemicide committed through Euro-centric scholarship which dominates publications on Mandela. The date of the 2020 Memory in Africa Conference would be announced soon!!!!!!


(taken by Kim Groop)