Professor Elelwani Ramugondo

Singo, Tshivhelevhele

Professor Elelwani Ramugondo is the Deputy Dean for Postgraduate Education at the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town. She has worked as a clinical occupational therapist in both rural South Africa and the United States of America. As Head of Division for Occupational Therapy, she led a division which became the most diverse both nationally and internationally in terms of its staff and students.

She was appointed Special Advisor on Transformation to the Vice Chancellor at University of Cape Town in 2015, in response to the student-led Rhodes Must Fall movement’s call for decolonisation. She later co-chaired the Curriculum Change Working Group which led university-wide engagements on decolonisation and decoloniality. She played a critical role in drafting the University of Cape Town Curriculum Change Framework. She also convened the inaugural 2019 University of Cape Town Decolonial Summer School. She is well published and currently supervises several doctoral studies focused on decolonial scholarship.

Gender and decolonisation in Africa

Rural Women Decolonizing Knowledge: The Case of the Green Belt Movement in Kenya, Eddah Mutua:
Wangari Maathai’s reference to Kenya’s rural women as “foresters without a diploma” challenges the Western and modern scientific “systemic sidelining of knowledge from Africa”. In this presentation, I will use Maathai’s rhetoric to illustrate ways that the Green Belt Movement became a site for transformative legacy of rural women as custodians of local knowledge.

Centring African languages to decolonise curricula in health sciences, Professor Elelwani Ramugondo:
Whereas both IsiXhosa and Afrikaans have long been part of undergraduate learning and teaching in Health Sciences degrees at the University of Cape Town, the teaching of IsiXhosa has been found to be inadequate (Tyam, 2016). Furthermore, both at University of Cape Town and within academia broadly, there has never been a focus on African languages as cultural capital for learning within professional health sciences degrees, as legitimate tools for scholarship and scientific research, and a resource for communication on health matters. Black students and staff often feel disconnected from their communities as they progress in the academy. Upward mobility often means lesser use of African languages and the ability to link acquired disciplinary knowledge with communities. Meaningful decolonisation of curricula requires direct engagement with communities based on issues that concern them. I hope to share our story of a project based at University of Cape Town, focussed on centring African languages to decolonise curricula.

Professor Elelwani Ramugondo