What is a Keynote Address?  A keynote Address is a speech, it fundamental in any occasion as it aims to discuss the principle theme and central idea of a work or program. The keynote given at the International Conference hosted by department of history, University of Ibadan was indeed insightful in relation to the theme The Humanities and Development in Africa.

This post is a summary of the keynote address of Prof. Toyin Falola, which was given at the International Conference on the Humanities and Development in Africa which was held on the 6th of July 2017   in the Main Hall conference Centre, University of Ibadan. The blog references all due authority namely Prof Toyin Falola and The University of Ibadan. It is hoped that by the end of this post, the knowledge acquired during this keynote address would be conveyed to every reader.

The title of the Keynote address was the Humanities and Development in Africa Discordance and Dysfuntional Narrative, as mentioned above it was given by Prof. Toyin Falola, who is the professor of African Studies and the Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities at the University of Texas Austin, U.S.A.

The Keynote address was indeed a long one that took over one hour thirty minutes. Thus it is important to note that the summary in this post cannot cover all that was discussed, but it will try to cover some of the critical part of the speech which was on linking the humanities with development of Africa. The address had insightful statements.

Several pathologies were given namely pathology of knowledge, which deals with the epistemological foundation. Followed by the pathology of developmentalism which deals development issues and how Africa and the world at large accept the global framework. There were other pathologies which is not mentioned here.

The Keynoter made an important statement which includes that culture and traditions must be protected, Africa and Africans should be clear about what they seek and state agencies should serve the needs of the citizens.

In view of these pathologies, it was recommended that there should be a rethink about these paradigms.  This can be done through the humanities, which is relevant and integral for development.

In linking humanities with development of Africa though might be challenging,

  • The humanities should have a vision towards development.
  • There should be presence of scholarship to elevate the power of Historians
  • Humanities scholarship should relate to development
  • As members of the Humanities, Political indifference is a part to disaster and sharing the national cake is a road to underdevelopment. E.g Prof Ikime who in Criticizing Babaginda lost his Job. In other words as members of the humanities and Africa generally, we should be up right and stand for what is right, we have a choice not to support corrupt leaders and all social system must be taught with virtuesProf Ikime ORI.
  • Africa generally and the humanities in particular should accept that the poor irrespective of where they live are not stupid
  • Africans and Africa as a whole must be for constant discovery of knowledge which must serve a concept of development eg. People style in the humanities is to run away from rural areas which should not be so.

This post would end with an intriguing statement from Prof. Toyin Falola that everyone should know which is that:

 Men make their  own history, but they do not  make it as they please, but based  on past circumstances. We won’t make history the way we choose but we would make history all the same.For us to make history, we must free ourselves from bondage…. The fear that commits us to silence.

Nokview  hopes this was insightful. Nokview through this medium thanks the Keynoter and the organisers.

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