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2023 Pauley Lecture featuring Tshepo Masango Chéry

“The University Belongs to Us!” Meditations on Protest and Change in South Africa’s Higher Education and Beyond

4:00 pm–5:30 pm
Nebraska Union Room: Regency Suite
1400 R St
Lincoln NE 68508
Additional Info: NU
Target Audiences:
Dawne Curry, (402) 472-2414,
In 2015 and again in 2022, students and staff in South Africa relied on a series of protests, strikes, and campaigns to demand change in higher education. These demonstrations came to be known as the #FeesMustFall campaign, a decolonial strategy that referenced students’ core demand for a free and quality education, what they claim is a sacred human right. How did South African students shut down all the country’s universities while inspiring protests in the United States, the United Kingdom, Cameroon, and India? Historian Tshepo Masango Chéry will discuss the intersections between race, education, protest, and religion. Reaching back to the 1955 Freedom Charter that declared education as liberation and culminating in the Soweto Uprising of 1976, in which state-sanctioned violence thwarted youth protest, Masango Chéry historicizes these contemporary struggles as part of South Africans’ tradition of protest. These historical moments in South Africa provide us with the political creativity and inspiration to reimagine the current neoliberal structures that organize our own universities in the United States.

Tshepo Masango Chéry is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History at the University of Houston. She is a South African scholar who turns to religion as a site from which to historicize liberation struggles in Africa.

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This event originated in History.