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Professor Olúfẹ́mi Táíwò
Professor of African Political Thought, Cornell

The freedom of ordinary Africans and their ability, at the individual level, to control their lives, lead lives marked by inviolate dignity of their persons and concurrent limits on the reach of governments and of their fellows in their daily lives, must never be up for negotiation. Indeed, this ought to be the standard by which we judge the legitimacy and attractiveness of any government and the quality of any of our societies in the continent as it increasingly is the case in other parts of the world that are also engaged in struggles like what I have here called our second struggle for freedom. As I have written in Against Decolonization, Africa is not alone in this connection at the present time. The difference is that those who are dominated by what I call the metaphysics of difference that underpins an unhelpful cathexis to identity are loathe to see these similarities and, as a result, leave themselves without help from the experiences of other humans both in the past and at present. What’s decolonization got to do with it? The basic principles for which Africans are immolating themselves, risking life and limb in standing up to dictatorial\authoritarian regimes, and generally insisting that they, too, must be free, are shared with other oppressed humanity from Denmark to Myanmar, from Eswatini to China. The discourse on decolonization is a distraction from this much-needed struggle. Worse, it has nothing useful to offer this struggle.

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Event details

Lecture Theatre 3 (NE 0.01)
Bush House North East Wing
Bush House North East Wing, 30 Aldwych, WC2B 4BG