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Initiating Debate: Towards a cosmopolitan African university

Y Waghid


In this article I offer a defence of cosmopolitanism as an enabling condition for university education in Africa. Recent xenophobic outbursts in South Africa suggests that the enactment of defensible virtues in societies remain distant from the practices of many people. My contention is that university education ought to take seriously the teaching of virtues such as cosmopolitanism to ensure that societal ills in some African communities such as perpetual genocide, rape, mass enslavement, political dictatorships, xenophobic violence and religious intolerance are combated and even eradicated. In the main my argument is that universities in Africa ought to cultivate the virtue of cosmopolitanism in order to enact justifiable educational change – a situation which can potentially contribute towards achieving a renewed African university. In tackling the main research question of my project, I firstly provide a cursory critical analysis of challenges faced by higher education in Africa, particularly exploringthe inattentiveness of higher education to deal sufficiently with the afore-mentioned societal malaises. Thereafter, I offer a defence of cosmopolitanism, in particular arguing for democratic reiterations and a Kantian notion of hospitality to be taught at higher education institutions

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eISSN: 1011-3487