Stories of decolonising research education and practice: experiences from my Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) research

  • Sharlotte Tusasiirwe
Keywords: African storytelling; Doctor of Philosophy (PhD); decolonisation; ethics; research


The need to challenge and disrupt the colonial legacy of research and education in African contexts is an urgent one although voices and experiences of decolonisation in action/practice are still scanty in this context. Drawing from the African oral storytelling tradition where lived experience is extolled as a powerful teaching tool, in this article, I share experiences of how and when I came to align my Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) research to a decolonising agenda. Deeply listening to my research participants was central in challenging me to engage in decolonising research practices and epistemologies. The process of having to explain my research to the participants, in our indigenous language, led me to a journey of re-valuing, recognising, and drawing on indigenous African epistemologies as the foundation for the methods, ethics and methodology for my research. The main lesson from this experience and the major message for researchers and research educators is about the urgent need and responsibility to challenge and disrupt the ongoing colonial thinking and teaching where African indigenous knowledges, languages, ways of knowing, are continuously marginalised, if not erased. Discussions of ongoing colonisation in research education and practice are presented, followed by examples of decolonised African research methods and ethics. A call to action to decolonisation concludes the article.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2409-5605
print ISSN: 1563-3934