“When I came up with the expression: ‘making fish understand its water’, I knew that different people will variably interpret it in different ways,” said Prof Mogomme Masoga, during his Professorial Inaugural Lecture that was held on 25 May 2017 at Research Conference Centre.

Africa has rich cultural practices that can benefit us all if taken serious -Prof Masoga.

The title: ‘Making the fish understand its water: Reflecting on Africanisation, Indigenous Knowledge and Decoloniality of our time’ attracted a lot of members of the University community and was also attended by among others the Premier of Limpopo Province, Mr Stanley Mathabatha, MEC of Sport, Arts and Culture, Ms Onica Moloi; Acting Executive Mayor of Vhembe District Municipality, Cllr Tshitereke Matibe, Mayor of Thulamela Municipality, Cllr Avhashoni Tshifhango, Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Prof Peter Mbati; Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic, Prof Jan Crafford and Emeritus Professor David Coplan, who presented a series of lectures in the School of Human and Social Sciences.

In attendance was also a world renowned and an esteemed scholar, Prof Kwesi Prah who is the founder and the Director of the Africa-wide Centre for Advanced Studies of African Society (CASAS) based in Cape Town.

L-R: Prof Kwesi Prah, MEC Onica Moloi, Prof Peter Mbati, Hon Premier Stan Mathabatha, Prof Mogomme Masoga and Prof Jan Crafford posing for a photo after the lecture.

Prof Masoga said, “This diversity is unavoidable for many reasons, especially due to people’s culturally-entrenched background.” He further expressed that this title is figurative and this figure of speech asserts the need for people to be cognizant of their most fruitful environment. His title simply means to teach the fish to understand and be aware of its needs for survival in the water as its habitat. The title of his Inaugural Professorial Lecture was directed at Africans, urging them to understand their own context at their disposal. Prof Masoga told the audience that for over a century, colonial structures militated against the utilisation of Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS).
“The theme of the embodiment of an Afro-sensed outlook in the title means Africans must grasp the ideology drown from the proverb of the aquatic environment of fish and adopt it as a story of motivation, advocating the implementation of Information Knowledge System.” He told the audience that Africa has rich cultural practices that can benefit us all if taken serious. He further said that his approach attempt to regard and treat local communities not as ‘end-users’ of education, as simply a product, but also stakeholders in education in education production.

Prof Masoga further expressed that African cultural values, beneficiation and value packaged in Information Knowledge Systems cannot be taken for granted because African communities are ‘living libraries’. He said the language debate in Africa has been understood as one which has had some negative implications on African cultural belief system. His paper proposed that education system in Africa should consider some education reforms. “The recommendations for education reforms comprise the use of local indigenous languages such as Tshivenda, Sesotho, Xitsonga, IsiZulu, Shona etc. in learning subjects like Mathematics, History, Geography, Biology and Sciences etc. at both high school and tertiary level”.

He said it is not that Africans are dump or not good enough to grasp what they are being taught, but it is because scripts are examined and marked on the grammatical correctness in English as the so called ‘official language’ in order to convince examiners.

Prof Peter Mbati welcoming the guests and audience during the Professorial Inaugural Lecture.


In his Welcome and Introduction, Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Prof Peter Mbati said, Africa day is an important day in our national calendar and it allows us to reflect about ourselves as African people, and our connectivity with the rest of the universe. He further applauded Prof Masoga for realising the dream for all Africans. “Honourable Premier, we are particularly privileged to have you and your entourage gracing this inaugural lecture by Research Professor Mogomme Alpheus Masoga, an eminent academic and researcher at the University of Venda,” he concluded.

Premier of Limpopo, Mr Stanley Mathabatha giving his inputs during the Public Lecture.

“This is one of the most important title more especially because it is rendered on the day in which Africa is celebrating its identity,” said the Premier of Limpopo, Mr Stanley Mathabatha in his comments after Prof Masoga‘s presentation. Mr Mathabatha said as Africans we need to know where we come from in order to know where we are going. He further expressed that the issue of coloniality, is a political aspect and we need to come out clearly as Africans because politics is not only for those who make noise, “politics is for all of us, we need to stand united as one in order to conquer and reclaim our continent,” Concluded Mathabatha.

There is a need to understand historical development of the concept of coloniality, pre-coloniality and post-coloniality before attending to the issue of decoloniality-Prof Crafford.

Speaking at the Gala Dinner that complemented the Inaugural Lecture organized at Khoroni Hotel on the evening of the same day, the Deputy Vice- Chancellor Academic, Prof Jan Crafford congratulated Prof Masoga for a splendid job. He said, “Decolonization is possible but there are other things that should come to play.” He said we first need to understand where we are coming from and come up with proper approaches before we act. “We first need to understand colonity, pre-colonity and Post colonity. How do we decolonise education if it is still in a colonial language? This should be the point of departure for decolonization,” He said. Prof Crafford further thanked the School of Human and Social Sciences for making the Inaugural Lecture possible.

Brenda Zwane rendering her poem during the Gala Dinner

During the Galla Dinner Brenda Zwane, a student doing Bachelor of Arts in International Relations rendered a poem titled ‘African Child’. Her poem was in line with the title of the Professorial Inaugural Lecture and it complemented what Prof Masoga was emphasizing in his lecture.

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