Notes on Talk by Mshai Mwangola at ASAA 2017


  • African intellectuals or Africans who have invested in Africa
  • Your work is historically situated
  • You are part of a generation of scholars.
  • You fit in a historical trajectory
  • If we collectively are one chain in the link. How do we ensure that we are not the weak link in the chain?
  • How will history remember us?
  • Knowledge produced by Africans
  • Knowledge that Africans can use
  • Epistemic communities - CODESRIA as an epistemic community
  • “Finding your community. Who do you want to be in conversation with?”
  • Finding THE family that you want to belong with and investing in that community.
  • Identify a generational mission. 
  • “I like what they have been doing. I want to make sure I pick up the baton and push it forward.”
  • What will intellectual leadership do for the historical era I am in.
  • Whatever you decide should be reflected in your funding priorities. Not just what you will fund but where you will get your funding from.
  • Africans must finance African priorities.
  • Control of the agenda and also we are taking responsibility for ourselves.
  • That makes manifest that you have grown into a different space.
  • What is it that we want to achieve?
  • Recognition of African intellectuals of all kinds as premier producers of Africa from Africa. Africans must be the premiere producers and consumers. We must write for them! If we are only publishing for journals that Africans cannot read, what does it mean?
  • There is a funding issue there - what will people fund and why will they fund it?
  • 15 years later, I can see that our generation is on our way to realizing. Some of those concerns that we have are coming to realization. We picked the baton and we know where we want to leave it. Control of resources is priority when thinking about challenging the status quo.
  • Mindset change. In this historical era, what do we need to do to make others do something.
  • Let’s not beat our fathers and mothers. Instead of complaining about them before us?
  • Can we do what they didn’t do in our historical era? If we can’t, can we leave a foundation for the next era to do it?
  • We need to also answer question for next generation, why should the future invest in our work?
  • Our responsibility to make the case in the language that the rest of Africa understands on why their hard earned resources must be given to African intellectuals. What is the work that African intellectuals are doing so that African intellectuals don’t go elsewhere?!?! What are intellectuals doing for African societies so that the people know for sure that they want to invest in them!


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Contributed date

May 7, 2018 - 3:23pm

Critical Commentary

These are brief bullet point notes taken during talk by Mshai Mwangola on a panel entitled "The politics of funding // Knowledge Production in Africa" at the African Studies Association of Africa (ASAA) conference held in Accra, Ghana in October 2017. Important for thinking critically about the geopolitics of funding and research agendas.


Mshai Mwangola



Cite as

Angela Okune, "Notes on Talk by Mshai Mwangola at ASAA 2017", contributed by Angela Okune, STS Infrastructures, Platform for Experimental Collaborative Ethnography, last modified 7 May 2018, accessed 19 May 2024.