The Durban University of Technology’s (DUT’s) Faculty of Arts and Design (FOAD) hosted a Webinar on Decolonising Entrepreneurship in the SADC Region, last Friday, 21 August 2020 on Microsoft Teams.
The two panelists at the webinar were Tando Mbanga and Advocate Tšeli Khiba from Webber Newdigate.
Tando Mbanga is a lecturer and postgraduate supervisor at DUT’s Fashion and Textiles Department. Her research work focusses on Arts Entrepreneurship Education, with a special interest in Fashion. She holds a Master of Applied Arts in Fashion degree.
She spoke on the governments’ call to decolonise and the reasons why institutions need to decolonise. She said the colonised education is believed to have robbed Africans of ideas, skills, creativity and knowledge. “So in short I can say that decolonisation by means of education is by addressing what the colonised education created which is no more applicable in the current times and going towards the future,” she said.
She stressed that decolonising in the higher education context means it involves substitution or eradicating of any colonised education and its practices to a curriculum content that considers indigenous knowledge, experience and world view that would meet the current social needs.
Mbanga said there is a need for an entrepreneurship education and the purpose being is that it should communicate knowledge and information required for setting and running a business successfully, as well as stimulate entrepreneurial attitudes, and develop entrepreneurial skills and abilities.
She said there are challenges faced in terms of developing entrepreneurship education, some being there are low-levels of business-start-ups. “University graduates are cautious when it comes to taking risks and venturing into the unknown, also some do not perceive entrepreneurship as a decent profession,” she said.
Mbanga also delved into possible measure for decolonising entrepreneurship education which starts by ensuring there is relevant curriculum content which is tailored to suit the South African entrepreneurs, relevant educators, teaching and learning methods that embrace authentic learning and looking into the integration of Ubuntu principles into the curriculum content. “Entrepreneurship embraces collaboration therefore this would challenge entrepreneurs to practice their Ubuntu principles. Ubuntu to me is the defining attribute of an African that we use in our day to day engagement. This in turn will encourage students to use their knowledge to help those who have never been exposed to entrepreneurship education, and who are running informal businesses in the townships, as Ubuntu can also be an important attribute towards social entrepreneurship,” she said.
The next speaker was Advocate Khiba, who focused on the cannabis industry. She first began working within the local (Lesotho) medicinal cannabis industry in 2016, and has worked with various companies, entrepreneurs, public interest groups and law and policy makers. She was recently appointed to serve on the African Union’s Expert Committee on Cannabis, which will explore a harmonised and progressive approach to the cannabis industry.
Her current research and work focuses on international trade and investment law, the emerging cannabis industry-particularly within the African context, legislative drafting and regional integration.
“I am looking at ways in which by supporting the business of cannabis we will be able to decolonise entrepreneurship in the SADC region. To begin with, the industry of cannabis is deeply rooted with racism in colonialism. It has been basically the way that the current international law is structured which is not evidence-based and is very oppressive in the development and the use of this plant. We need to look at challenging the present, international drug-control framework, seek to commercialise aspects of traditional knowledge and challenge popularised anti-cannabis notions,” she said.
Advocate Khiba also gave an overview on the history and movement and the cannabis laws in Africa. She stressed that going forward, it was vital to look at the importance of education in terms of the cannabis industry, looking at reforming of regulations, research and development, as well as the environmental sustainability. “In conclusion I do believe in the commercialisation of cannabis entrepreneurship. The cannabis industry has the potential to transform the economic positions of countries across the SADC region, and the African continent at large. The industry needs to be accessible, work towards the development of local markets and work towards a complimentary, consistent approach,” she said.
Tando Mbanga is currently a South African DHET Scholarship holder and a doctoral candidate at the University of Johannesburg’s College of Business and Economics. Her doctoral research is on Local Economic Development (LED) with interest in entrepreneurship education. The Faculty of Arts recently acknowledged Mbanga’s contribution to entrepreneurship by honouring her with the Faculty 2019 Entrepreneurship Award. Mbanga is a member of Entrepreneurship Development in Higher Education: CoP for Entrepreneurship in Academia. As a scholar, she has recently published a conference proceeding titled “An unknowable future: The significance of fashion entrepreneurship education in preparing young designers for the industry”.
Advocate Tšeli Khiba holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Law from the University of the Free State, a Bachelor of Laws and Master of Laws, specialising in Commercial Law, from the University of Cape Town. Since 2015, Advocate Khiba has worked within Lesotho’s commercial and corporate private sector – working at top rated laws firms including Webber Newdigate and Harley and Morris.
In August 2015, she became an admitted Advocate of the High Court of Lesotho and continues to provide legal advice and compliance, governance, and company secretarial related services to clients.
She recently participated in discussions at the following forums:
Canna Tech Global – Cannabis Innovation Global Conference (November 2019), in Cape Town; 2nd African Governance Seminar Series (AGOSS) – organised by the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) and the University of the Witwatersrand (WITS) School of Governance (Nairobi, Kenya, December 2019); and The 63rd session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs – Vienna, Austria (March 2020).
Pictured: Tando Mbanga
Pictured: Advocate Tšeli Khiba