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La situation des enfants dans le monde - La petite enfance. Estado Mundial de la Infancia - La primera infancia. The State of the World's Children La situation des enfants dans le monde Estado Mundial de la Infancia The heterogeneous and multiple global structures put in place over a period of years did not evaporate with the juridical-political decolonization ofthe periphery over the past 50 years.

We continue to live under the same 'colonial power matrix'. With juridical administrative decolonization we moved from a period of' global colonialism to the current period of 'global coloniality'. Although 'colonialism administrations' have been entirely eradicated and the majority of the periphery is politically organised into independent states, non-European people are still living under crude European exploitation and domination.

The old colonial hierarchies of European versus non-Europeans remain in place and are entangled with the 'international division of labour' and accumulation of capital at a world-scale. The above articulation of coloniality simply means that the celebration of the removal of juridical administrative colonialism tends to obscure the continuity between the colonial past and many other invisible "colonialisms" in the present.

These include the colonisation of knowledge - a development that can hinder unity among the peoples of formerly colonised nation-states such as South Africa. Coloniality survives classical colonialism.

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According to scholars Maldonado-Torres :. Coloniality is different from colonialism. Colonialism denotes a political and economic relation in which the sovereignty of a nation or a people rests on the power of another nation, which makes such a nation an empire. Coloniality, instead, refers to a long-standing patterns of power that emerged as a result of colonialism, but that define culture, labour, intersubjectivity relations, and knowledge production well beyond the strict limits of colonial administrations.

Thus, coloniality survives colonialism.

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It is maintained alive in books, in the criteria for academic performance, in cultural patterns, in common sense, in the self-image of peoples, in aspirations of self, and so many other aspects of our modern experience. In a way, as modern subjects we breathe coloniality all the time and every day. The concept of coloniality, unlike the critique that underpinned classical colonialism, unveils the mystery of why, after the end of colonial administrations in the juridical-political spheres of state administration, there is still continuity of colonial forms of domination.

This holistic approach to the problem of colonial domination allows us to visualise other dynamics of the colonial process which include among them "colonization of imagination" Quijano, , "colonization of the mind" Dascal, and colonisation of knowledge and power. The idea of the colonisation of power and knowledge is quite crucial in that it explicates why, despite the advent of post-apartheid South Africa, knowledge production in subjects such as history, the views and voices of the formerly colonised peoples are marginalised in historical narratives.

The concept of coloniality of power enables us to understand coloniality in ways that go beyond the Foucauldian concept of "disciplinary power" because through the idea of the "colonial matrix of power", the concept of "coloniality of power" views the modern world as a network of relations of exploitation and domination through technologies that affects all dimensions of social existence including knowledge production.

According to Castro-Gomez :. This global structure is configured by the colonial relation between centre and periphery that is at the root of European expansion. The significance of the concept of coloniality of power, therefore, is that it enables the peoples of the Third World to understand the relationship between the power structure of colonial domination and knowledge production. Thus, the concept of coloniality of power is inseparably intertwined with that of knowledge which speaks directly to epistemological colonisation of the non-Western peoples through the processes of displacement, discipline and destruction of their knowledges.

In the case of South Africa, where the former colonisers and the formerly colonised have resolved to reconcile and live together after the demise of juridical administrative apartheid, the question that emerges out of understanding how coloniality permeates knowledge production is that of whether this peaceful co-existence in the day-to-day relationships is extended to peaceful co-existence of "ecologies of knowledges" about the past in the field of knowledge production.

This question is quite significant because epistemic violence has the potential to affect the physical and social co-existence of the people. By and large, the rhetoric of objectivity and universality has served to sustain the epistemicide of the peripherised knowledges. Coloniality in the field of knowledge production has tricked a number scholarly endeavours that sought to reverse Western hegemony by hiding the "locus ofenunciation" Grosfoguel, of the subject that speaks even if that subject perpetuates the subordination of the worldviews of non-Western peoples.

In other words, through what Castro-Gomez referred as the "point zero" strategy, Euro-centric points of view come to be projected as a neutral "god-eye view" - a point of view that represents itself as being without a point of view and as such, even the marginalised subjects find themselves perpetuating their own marginalisation in the field of knowledge production through pursuing myths such as "objectivity" and "universal truths" that are beyond time and space. According to Grosfoguel :. What all this means, is that the hegemonic Western worldview tends to succeed in making the subjects that are socially located in the oppressed side of colonial difference, to think epistemically like the ones that are located on the dominant side.

The quest to decolonize history for nation-building is therefore not about the actual people who produce historical knowledge per se but is about the epistemic location of the narratives that dominate the field of knowledge production. This is mainly because it is possible for the people whose histories are the subjected to denigration to partake in the production of colonised versions of history.

In other words, the key to the process of decolonising history lies in the colonised subject's capacity to shift what Gordon referred to as "the geography of reason" and practise what Mignolo termed "epistemic disobedience". The Quest to trancend "struggle histories" for nation-building in South Africa.


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It is beyond dispute that the manner in which past events and activities are narrated, imagined, packaged and disseminated can either serve to unite or divide the people of South Africa during the process of nation-building. This is mainly because the manner in which historical discourses are constructed has the potential to unite or divide people along racial, ethnic, sexual, generational and gender lines.

State of the nation: South Africa 2007

In Southern Africa, the imagination and packaging of pre-colonial historical events such as the mfecane were deployed to prevent concerted action against colonial domination by dividing people on ethnic lines. In the mfecane discourses, ethnic groups such as Zulus and Ndebeles are portrayed as violent, barbaric, primitive and monstrous people who caused untold suffering in Southern Africa while other ethnic groups such as the BaSotho and Shona are generally presented as peace-loving victims of "bloodthirsty savages" and "war-mongers" Epprecht While the purpose of inventing and packaging history such as that of the mfecane during the colonial and apartheid South Africa was done in order to "reify African "tribalism" and justify apartheid" Epprecht , the problem is that the continued existence of such historical narratives in the post-apartheid era can prevent unity among the peoples meant to assume the new national identity.

In South Africa, this predicament is made worse by the fact that nation-building projects and programmes, such as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that took place after the advent of a democratic era, only sought to reconcile the people to become South Africans along racial lines. This was done while neglecting the historically-rooted gender, generational, ethnic and sexual aspects of disunity and conflicts among the people who are meant to constitute the new inclusive South African national identity. One can, therefore, argue that this grave oversight can lead to the proliferation of anti-nation attitudes and behaviours such as patriarchy, tribalism, sexism, rape and generational struggles which can delay of the emergence of a truly inclusive South African rainbow national belonging.

In light of the evidence of how historical events and narratives have been packaged to cause disharmony and justify oppression during the colonial and apartheid eras in Africa in general and South Africa in particular, the question that we need to ask ourselves today is: To what extent has past patterns of inventing and packaging history for disunity and domination been reversed and re-directed towards the attainment of an inclusive common belonging by the postcolonial and post-apartheid governments?

This question is quite important because the cumulative effect of divisive invented historical knowledge can render it a structural constraint upon which new articulations of historical knowledge fall into the trap of repeating the same divisive knowledge even if the context has changed to that of seeking inclusive nation-building.

In South Africa and Africa in general, the question of "unthinking" colonial knowledge has always been a problematic one. The resistance to colonial historiography has tended to fall into the trap of articulating the same ideologically-charged colonial historical narratives mainly because the new anti-colonial articulations of history tend to be predicated on the old colonial versions of the past. For instance, the attempt to re-articulate history by nationalist historians during the colonial and post-apartheid era have tended to rely on historical knowledge and evidence of colonial historiography by missionaries and colonial sources of the past whose ideological positions have always been questionable.

This predicament calls for a fundamental paradigm shift in the practice of teaching, writing and narrating history in postapartheid South Africa in such a way that subjugated historical narratives and imaginations of the past are made visible for the purposes of constructing a cohesive national identity in South Africa.

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This approach to the production of historical knowledge of the peoples who are meant to become South Africans in the postcolonial era is critical in that, if taken to the right level, it can crowd out those pre-existing colonial historical narratives and interpretations of history that have served to divide rather than unite the various peoples of South Africa.

By and large, one of the problematic historiographical constructions that need urgent attention is that which narrates African pre-colonial gender structures as sexist, conservative and driven by patriarchy. Such stereotypical historical narratives are dangerous for nation-building in two ways. Firstly, such historical narratives can be manipulated by abusive African men today to oppress women in the name of"tradition". Secondly, it creates a wedge between men and women as well as between generations.

While the narratives about African pre-colonial gender relations do not provide a useful basis for nation-building today, what needs to be understood is that the relations between men and women in pre-colonial relations cannot be conceived as generally underlined by a patriarchal ideology of power. Thus, for instance, pre-colonial societies such as the Igbo in Nigeria had matriarchal structures whereby girls were included in a protective women culture headed by matriarchs.


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  4. According to Amadiume , in the pre-colonial Igbo dual-sex political system, the titled women were central to consensual decision-making and controlled market places. In addition, to these "consensual decision-making systems" in African pre-colonial societies, it can be noted that societies such as the Igbo had goddesses, which means god was not only imagined as male as in Western religious terms of Christianity. This history, together with that of the role played by women in anti-colonial and anti-apartheid struggles, can serve to bridge the gender and generational relations in the search for a truly inclusive national identity in countries such as South Africa in the post-apartheid era.

    But in order to develop an inclusive historical archive and narrative towards the attainment of an inclusive and cohesive national belonging in a country as South Africa, it is vital for marginalised members of the society, such as women, particularly black women, to produce history from their own loci of enunciation.

    This will lead to a pluriversality of knowledges rather than universalistic kinds of historical narratives that have dominated colonial interpretations of the past. In light of what has been discussed above, the question that needs to be answered is: What, then, should a decolonised South African history be? A decolonised South African history will ideally consist of ecologies of different historical narratives that do not assume any pretence to objectivity and universality.

    This kind of a historical narrative will enable the peoples who are meant to become South Africans to determine and select those memories that makes them feel good about who they are without being subjected to a false notion of objectivity. However, a co-existence of ecologies of historical knowledges and narratives in South Africa will not be possible unless different historical narratives are cleansed of hate speech that have since been promoted in some of the colonial historical versions of the past.

    Amadiume, I Meridians, 2 2 Bhabha, HK The Location of Culture. London: Routledge. Castro-Gomez, S La hybris del punto cero: Biopoliticasimperialsy colonialidad del poder en la Neuva Granada , unpublished manuscript, Instituto Pensar, Universidad Javeriana, Bogota, Colombia. Nepantla: Views from South, 3 2 Dascal, M Colonising and Decolonising Minds. In: I Kucurandi ed. Papers of World Philosophy Day. Ankara: Philosophical Society of Turkey. Epprecht, M Journal of Historical Sociology, 7 2 Friedman, J a.