Asinamali is an edited collection of essays that includes work by Dennis Brutus, Shereen Essof, Jonathan Jansen, Mahmood Mamdani and Andrew Nash. It is a project of the Committee for Academic Freedom in Africa (CAFA).
Asinamali marks CAFA's first enquiry into academic freedom in post-apartheid South Africa. Asinamali means 'We have no money' and is a phrase that was often sung in the struggles against apartheid. A key demand of the struggles against apartheid was, in the famous words of the Freedom Charter adopted at the Congress of the People in 1955, that 'The Doors of Learning and Culture Shall be Opened". But in the ten years since the end of apartheid the South African university system has been rapidly commodified with the result that poor students are increasingly being excluded from university education, often at gunpoint, and research and teaching is increasingly organized in the interests of elites. But the commodification of education in post-apartheid South Africa has been vigorously contested by regular student struggles and the old language of resistance is back on South African campuses.
The essays collected here cover a range of themes that include struggles to decolonize curricula, accounts of the nature and impact of the steady corporatization and commodification of universities and accounts of student resistance to the steady exclusion of poor students from universities.
Student struggles are central to this book and it develops particular analysis of the post-apartheid history of one formerly black university - The University of Durban Westville (UDW) - and one former white university - The University of the Witwatersrand. Both make for particularly interesting case studies and in both cases broader community wide social movements against commodification have emerged from or with student struggles. The struggle of poor students to retain the right of access to UDW resulted in the murder of Michael Makhabane by the police during a peaceful demonstration on the campus on 16 May 2001.
There have been many deaths on African campuses consequent to struggles against neoliberalism. Often these deaths pass into history unmarked by anyone other than friends and family. However CAFA has taken these deaths seriously and has accorded them due dignity by seeking to explain the reasons for student protests and what is at stake when the institutions of contemporary imperialism reorganize African education in the interests of their neoliberal project. Asinamali is written in this spirit.
Paperback: 200 pages
Publisher: Africa World Press (April 14, 2006)
Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.3 x 0.7 inches
Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces