Africa Knows! It is time to decolonise minds


This virtual conference was the closing activity of the Africa2020 year, the year in which 17 countries on the African continent celebrated 60 years of independence. It was organised by the Leiden African Studies Assembly (LeidenASA).

Now that the conference has ended, all conference materials, like full papers, panel videos etc are accessible for everyone. You are free to use them as educational material or for other purposes.

Moreover, you can:

  • view the programme
  • take a look at the panel reports
  • read the conference magazine with summarised keynote speeches, panel reports, columns, interviews, and much more!
    You can order a copy of the printed magazine (44 pages) for 10€, shipping costs included. Please order your copy by writing an email stating your address and the number of copies to Marieke van Winden:
  • still contribute by writing a blog on the conference theme. Please send it to David Ehrhardt:
  • read how the organizers experienced the Africa Knows! conference.

Donation to Trees for all

We are in the midst of a climate crisis. In large part, this crisis is caused by the excessive emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases produced by human lifestyles that demand considerable consumption of energy, deriving from oil, natural gas, coal, as well as renewables or electricity (When 100% renewable energy doesn’t mean zero carbon,  A range of human activities contribute to these excessive emissions, including digital activities sustained by the consumption of electricity. The year 2019 saw an all-time record in CO2 emissions of 33.1 Gt. (See IEA report), while in 2020, the Corona pandemic and associated measures reduced economic activities and mobility around the world, resulting in a 6% drop in global energy demand. While this also holds for electricity, it is a concern that in the later part of 2020 the demand for electricity rose again to levels even higher than in 2019.

Rising to the challenge of taking responsibility for our contributions to the climate crisis, the online Africa Knows! Conference budgeted for a compensation of CO2 emissions associated with the conference proceedings. The conference organisers donated an amount of €2000 to Trees for All, a Dutch NGO that seeks to compensate for CO2 emissions by planting trees in the Netherlands and elsewhere in the world.

Ingrid Samset and Harry Wels, Green Conference initiators

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About the conference

In recent years, Africa’s universities, research institutions and other knowledge agencies have undergone tremendous change. Growing demand for scientific forms of knowledge and for higher education has pushed many of them to expand rapidly and to show a combination of daring initiatives and institutional, scientific, and educational creativity. New knowledge organizations have also been established, for example, with ties to religious groups or to the private sector. ‘Decolonizing the academy’ has become a strong call within and outside the continent. Eurocentrism is increasingly questioned, while calls for ‘looking East’ and ‘looking inside Africa’ are gaining momentum.

This conference, the final activity in 2020 of the Leiden African Studies Assembly, is organized with many partners from Africa and Europe and addresses the following key issues:

  • There are great changes in the African knowledge landscape: is Africa preparing itself for leapfrogging to innovations?
  • What will the nascent multi-polar world of the 21st century mean for Africa’s role in knowledge and innovation?
  • After 60 years of Independence, how do we finally decolonize the minds and change attitudes towards real co-creation?