African feminists have offered a sustained critique of colonialism, coloniality, and retrogressive thought for many years. Yet, in certain parts of the globe, African feminist thinkers are oftentimes forgotten in feminist curricula and reference lists that focus on decolonial and socially just futures. Prof. Sylvia Tamale’s recent book, Decolonization and Afro-Feminism (Daraja Press, 2020), is a sharp reminder of the importance of centering African feminist thinkers in scholarly conversations about decolonization.
Sylvia Bawa and Grace Adeniyi-Ogunyankin had a refreshing interview with Prof. Tamale about various themes in her book that revolve around an audacious decolonization agenda that not only unshackles Africa from its Euro-colonial tethers, but also showcases the continent’s hopeful futures. In short, the book strongly opposes the pessimism surrounding decolonization in Africa; in particular, she rejects the narrative that the decolonization project is an exercise in science fiction. Accordingly, Prof. Tamale calls for African liberation, a prerequisite for decolonial African futures. She emphasizes that liberation is only possible if it is informed by a Pan-African feminist and Ubuntu philosophy/ethic because they effectively challenge modern liberalism—the life-giving spirit of capitalism—and dehumanization. Our discussions on decolonization focus on re-storying Africa, African spirituality, Afro-ecofeminism, restorative justice, legal pluralism, and Wakanda.
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