International Storytelling Symposium
Decolonising the Mind: What happened to you? - English spoken
This program at the Institute of Social Studies has become a much-loved classic at Winternachten Festival. Visitors, writers, students and teachers tell each other stories. This time around, the theme was "decolonisation", which has quickly become a key word in the world of museums, universities and society at large. But how are you dealing with this individually? How are you decolonising your thinking or your life, at your workplace or at home? What are you experiencing, and what challenges do you encounter?
Llsten to stories from all over the world and, if you like, share your own story! Maximum 5 minutes and in English only - no other protocol. Among the participants were writer, poet, essayist and literary scholar Mukoma Wa Ngũgĩ - who was born in the US and grew up on Kenya. Asmaa Azaizeh, Palestinian poet and essayist, Zuleika Sheikh and Rosalba Icaza, teachers at the Institute of Social Studies, also talked about their experiences with "decolonising the mind". The stories were interspersed by muscial performances by Lamin Kuyateh.
The 25th anniversary edition of Writers Unlimited festival payed special attention to liberation and, more specifically, to the decolonisation of (Western) thinking. How free is our mind, what does that freedom mean, and are we really free or are we trapped in the framework of our culture, society and history? This theme was partly based on Decolonizing the Mind, an essay by Mukoma Wa Ngũgĩ''s father, the Kenyan writer and social activist Ngugi wa Thiong'o. The essay is about colonised language and its still-noticeable influence. With this theme, the festival also established a link to its early editions, which focused on The Netherlands' relationship with Indonesia, Surinam, the Antilles and South Africa.
Read here the article that Mukoma Wa Ngũgĩ published in 2018 in Literary Hub about the meaning of the essay Decolonizing the Mind (1986) by his father Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o.