Seasoned community organiser and Anton Lembede Foundation staffer, Skhonza Nxasana, called on researchers and community engagement experts to transform and enhance ways of doing research, with a particular emphasis on using methodologies which value Afrocentric paradigms and knowledge.
In his presentation on the history of Umlazi Township at the Engaging the World Through the African Perspective Conference (EWTAP), Nxasana said it was important to recognise that there was more than one side to a historical event. This was the reason the conference chose to tell the history of various locations from the perspectives of the local communities. This was in line with the theme of the conference, which is ‘Engaging the world through the African perspective’.
Nxasana said Umlazi Township was the second biggest township in South Africa with a vibrant beautiful black township culture. It was “the first township to have its own Hotel, Cinema, Car Registration, and Court”.
He added that Umlazi was also historically significant for its ‘culture of education excellence’, the spirit of resistance, and ideals of modernity because of its “entanglements of cultures, confluence of traditions and religions, conflicts and compromise from the times of King Shaka to the present”.
He added that it was important to tell history in a manner that recognises all contributions in society, not just those made by certain individuals.