What is Decolonisation in practice?
Decolonisation in practice is about bringing to light and taking apart colonialist power in all its forms. For this, we also need to understand that society as we know it is built upon this power. This includes all the things that perpetuate and reproduce the legacy of colonialism in areas like education, housing, finance, policing, healthcare and many more. We are not the only one campaigning on this, and this is not a new issue. For example, if we look at education, it is about paying attention to how our education system, our schools, colleges and universities, and ways of learning are built on colonial histories. They all put whiteness at the centre and as a neutral perspective to learn about our world.
Decolonising means providing students, staff and their local communities with the tools and language to critically identify the ways our schools, colleges and universities are built using the same colonial hierarchies. It also means empowering them to confront, challenge and reject the status quo. They would then be able to reimagine how things can be done differently and create alternatives that would benefit us all.
Currently, we do not trust schools’, colleges’ and universities’ senior leadership teams in their effort to decolonise their institution. And this makes sense: they benefit from it as individuals and don’t want to lose the power they gained from it. This is why we are supporting the creation of alternative learning spaces, such as the Free Black University, which is outside of the current model. This is also why our campaign is about capacity-building in our own communities rather than lobbying education providers to change.