African history in context: Toward a praxis of radical education
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This chapter reflects on the context, process, and challenges of the Know Your Continent (KYC) popular education course which we ran in Cape Town in the second half of 2015. KYC brought together people from local high schools, community activist networks, universities – both students and academics, and others into conversations emerging from themes and debates in African history and their relevance and relationship to our own contemporary contexts of struggle. First, the chapter examines the KYC’s historical context. Second, it looks at how KYC was deliberately rooted in the contemporary questions posed by the urgent political project of decolonisation – questions concerning how to decentre the university, how to liberate knowledge from the hierarchies that bind it, and how to imagine and practice collaborative radical education. The third part speaks to some of the contradictory potentialities of doing radical work in, or in affiliation to, a university. Through a reflection on the successes and limitations of KYC, we hope to contribute to conversations about the potential for different kinds of engagement, and different kinds of solidarity between the often-segregated spaces of schools, universities, and activist organisations.