The Writer’s Café: Foregrounding ubuntu, decolonisation and deconstruction
Keywords:Decolonisation, Gender, Sexuality, Sociology, Health, Ubuntu
This paper offers a critical reflection on the experiences of facilitating postgraduate and undergraduate seminars in the field of sociology through a decolonial forum we term the Writer’s Café. The paper represents our attempt at grappling with issues of power by negotiating, distinguishing and finding our collective and acceptable regimes of truth through this forum. The frameworks of ubuntu and decolonisation became integral in the conceptualisation of the Writer’s Café, as well as its implementation. As researchers in the fields of sociology of health and sexualities and gender studies, the Writer’s Café offers opportunities to unpack the social and cultural bases of the subjects of both fields of study. Key to this analysis of the Writer’s Café is the emphasis on agency, inequality, change, and understanding connections between epistemologies. As an African philosophy and practice, ubuntu offers the student in sociology an integrated experience of two fields of study that are deeply embedded in the experience of everyday life while addressing African realities. We use critical reflection as a method of inquiry by situating ourselves as research participants, using examples from the Writer’s Café, as well as a selective review of literature on critical pedagogy and ubuntu to draw out the interconnectedness of both fields and their implications for decolonisation and a responsive pedagogy.