«Rhodes debe caer»: las universidades sudafricanas como campo de lucha

Contenido principal del artículo

Autores

Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gatsheni

Resumen

La universidad en Sudáfrica se convirtió en campo clave de lucha en 2015. Profesores y líderes universitarios, así como el gobierno, se vieron tomados por sorpresa cuando los estudiantes se unieron a los «ciudadanos insurgentes», para exigir la descolonización inmediata de la universidad. Lo que se inició como el movimiento Rhodes Debe Caer (Rhodes Must Fakk) contra la estatua de Cecil John Rhodes en la Universidad de Ciudad del Cabo, rápidamente se extendió a demandas más amplias de justicia cognitiva; cambio de currículo; desmantelamiento de símbolos ofensivos coloniales o del apartheid; derecho a la educación gratuita, relevante y de calidad; libertad cultural; y cambio total de la idea misma de universidad, de su pedigrí occidental («la universidad en África») a la «universidad africana». Este artículo analiza porqué la universidad en Sudáfrica se ha convertido en campo de luchas, al tiempo que explica las actuales protestas estudiantiles. En un nivel, el artículo sitúa y teoriza el RMF en un contexto más amplio sobre la crisis de la civilización y la modernidad euro-norteamericano-céntricas, así como la historia de la protesta africana, que abarca tres fases de protestas anticoloniales de las décadas de 1950 y 1960; las protestas antiausteridad y los límites de la reforma de las décadas de 1980 y 1990; y los actuales «levantamientos africanos» (Branch & Mampilly, 2015). En otro nivel, el artículo pretende historizar y teorizar sobre el movimiento RMF en el contexto de la idea altamente disputada y en evolución de Sudáfrica mediada por el «paradigma de la diferencia» y las prácticas de la «imposibilidad de co-presencia» (Mudimbe, 1994; Santos, 2007, pp. 45-89). En términos generales, el artículo ofrece un marco teórico e histórico, así como una interpretación del terreno, del que puede extraerse un significado más profundo de los actuales movimientos estudiantiles.

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