Epistemic violence: A case for the decolonisation of South African business school curricula

  • F. Schutte


Since the #FeesMustFall movement and student protests of 2015 the decolonisation debate has become part of the ongoing narrative regarding higher education in South Africa. The purpose of this article is to investigate the concept of decolonisation and to identify different possibilities for the rethinking of decolonising academic knowledge production in the environment of higher education, of which business schools are a part. A systematic review of relevant and existing literature has been concluded. The findings of this review have shown that decolonisation is non-negotiable. Inclusive research from an African perspective can act as a starting point for this comprehensive project that is slowly starting to gain momentum. The project may benefit Africa and the West by providing a better understanding of each other when entering the same global market space.



Alexander, J. (2005). Pedagogies of crossing: Meditations on feminism, sexual politics, memory, and the sacred. Durham: Duke University Press.

Alfred, T. (2004). Warrior scholarship: Seeing the university as a ground of contention. In Mihesuah, D.A. and Wilson, A.C. (Eds), Indigenizing the academy: transforming scholarship and empowering communities, 89-99. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.

Aoki, T. (1999). Rethinking curriculum and pedagogy. Kappa Delta Pi Record. Summer, 180- 181.

Baldwin, A. (2012). Whiteness and futurity: Towards a research agenda. Progress in Human Geography, 36(2), 172-187.

Barnett, R. and Bengtsen, S. (2017). Universities and epistemology: From a dissolution of knowledge to the emergence of a new thinking. Educ. Sci, 7(1), doi:10.3390/educsci7010038

Biney, A. (2016). Unveiling white supremacy in the academy. The Journal of Pan African

Studies, 9(4), 383-390.

Boidin, C., Cohen, J. and Grosfoguel, R. (2012). Introduction: From university to pluriversity. A decolonial approach to the present crisis of Western universities. Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-knowledge, 10(1), 1-6.

Bryman, A. and Bell, E. (2017). Research methodology. Business and management contexts. Cape Town: Oxford.

Chilisa, B. (2012). Indigenous research methodologies. Los Angeles: Sage publications.

De Oliveira Andreotti, V., Stein, S., Ahenakew, C. and Hunt, D. (2015). Mapping interpretations of decolonization in the context of higher education. Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society, 4(1), 21-40.

Department Higher Education and Training, (2016). “Decolonisation” of curricula. DHET News eBulletin, 14 September 2016, http://www.dhetnews.co.za/decolonisation-or-curricula/

Fanon, F. (1969). The wreched of the earth. New York: Grove Press.

Flemming, T.K. (2016). From one colonial situation to another: Politics, universalism and the crisis of the African intellectual. The Journal of Pan African Studies, 9(4), 289-317.

Gaztambide-Fernández, R.A. (2012). Decolonization and the pedagogy of solidarity. Decolonizing: Indigeneity, Education & Society, 1(1), 41-67.

Gaztambide-Fernández, R.A. (2014). Decolonial options and artistic/aestheSic entanglements: An interview with Walter Mignolo. Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society, 3(1), 196-212.

Green, B.N., Johnson, C.D. and Adams, A. (2006). Writing narrative literature reviews for peer- reviewed journals: Secrets of the trade. Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, 5(3), 102-117.

Grosfoguel, R. (2012). The dilemmas of ethnic studies in the United Stated: Between liberal multiculturism, identity politics, disciplinary colonization, and decolonial epistemologies. Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge, 10(1), 81-89.

Grumet, M.R. (1981). Restitution and reconstruction of educational experience: An autobiographical method for curriculum theory. In Rethinking curriculum studies: A radical approach, ed. Lawn, M. and Barton, L., 115-130. London: Croom Helm.

Heleta, S. (2016). Decolonisation: Academics must change what they teach, and how. https://theconversation.com/68080. Nelson Mandele Metropolitan University.

Le Grange, L. (2014). Currere’s active force and the Africanisation of the university curriculum. South African Journal for Higher Education, 28(4), 1283-1294.

Le Grange, L. (2016). Decolonising the university curriculum. South African Journal of Higher Education, 30(2), 1-12. http://dx.doi.org/10.20853/30-2-709

Maldonado-Torres, N. (2007). On the coloniality of being. Cultural Studies, 21(2-3), 240-270.

Mbembe, A. ( 2001). On the postcolony. Johannesburg: Wits University Press.

Mbembe, A. (2015). Decolonizing knowledge and the question of the archive. Available at: http://wiser.wits.ac.za/system/files/Achille%20Mbembe%20- Decolonizing%20Knowledge%20and%20the%20Question%20of%20the%20Archive.pdf (accessed 23 April 2017).

Nightingale, A. (2009). A guide to systematic literature reviews. Surgery, 27(9), 381384.

Nyamnjoh, F.B. (2016). Rhodes must fall: Nibbling at resilient colonialism in South Africa. Bamenda: Langaa Research and Publishing Common Initiative Group.

Nzimande, B. (2016). Systemic decolonisation held back in WCape. Keynote presentation by Blade Nzimande at the Mzala Nxumalo memorial lecture, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, 13 February 2016.

Nzimande, B. (2017). Address by minister of Higher Education and Training, during the inauguration of former president Thabo Mbeki as the chancellor of the Unisa, ZK Matthews Hall, Unisa, Pretoria (27/02/2017). http://www.polity.org.za

Odora Hoppers, C. and Richards, H. (2011). Rethinking thinking: Modernity’s “other” and the transformation of the university. Pretoria: Unisa.

Ruggunan, S.D. (2016). Decolonising management studies: A love story. Acta Commercii, 16(2), a412.http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/ac.v16i2.412

Silva, D.F.D. (2007). Outline of a global political subject: Reading Evo Morales’s election as a (post-) colonial event. Seattle Journal for Social Justice, 8(1), 25-49.

Takayama, K., Spriprakash, A. and Connell, R. (2016). Toward a postcolonial comparative and international education. Comparative Educational Review, 61(S1). University of Cape Town, 2016. African case studies will help decolonise business school’s curriculum. Today’s news, 13 May 2016, https://www.uct.ac.za/dailynews/?id=9718

Wallin, J.J. (2010). A Deleuzian approach to curriculum: Essays on a pedagogical life. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Wa Thiong’o, N. (1986). Decolonizing the mind. New Hampshire: Heinemann.

White, A. and Schmidt, K. (2005). Systematic literature reviews. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 13, 54-60.

Žižek, S. (2009). Violence. London: Profile Books.

How to Cite
Schutte, F. 2019. “Epistemic Violence: A Case for the Decolonisation of South African Business School Curricula”. South African Journal of Higher Education 33 (2), 195-211. https://doi.org/10.20853/33-2-2805.
General Articles