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Art, Artists and the Flowering of Pan-Africana Liberated Zones

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Art, Artists and the Flowering of Pan-Africana Liberated Zones

By Mícere Gíthae Mûgo

The Fourth Distinguished Nyerere Lecturer, 2012 Professor Mícere Gíthae Mûgo took the Nkrumah Hall by storm as she spoke of the role of Artists and Art in creating and flowering Pan-Africana Liberated Zones. Her sonorous voice continued to echo in the Hall as the 4th Julius Nyerere Intellectual Festival moved from session to session. She opened her Lecture by "inviting the audience to hold dialogue with me in African orature style". And as she proceeded, the audience was enthralled and absorbed by her passionate delivery and clarity of thought.

She challenged the audience to purge their minds of the neo-liberal mantras. Without mincing words she declared "the majority of today's scholars seem to be too busy perfecting incomprehensible modernist jargon and tired, recycled, Western theories to become inventors. I posit that our minds need to become the primary "liberated zones" we should aim at securing".She argued that our minds have become 'occupied territories', occupied by the ideological and intellectual foot soldiers of neo-liberalism. There could not be a more incisive indictment of neoliberal mindset that has gripped us for the last three or so decades.

Born in Kenya, Professor Mûgo teaches at Syracuse University in the United States, a career she embarked upon some forty-five years ago. She is a passionate organiser and a committed community activist. In the 1980s, when Kenya saw some worst repression, she had to flee in exile, first to Zimbabwe and then to the United States.

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