[8th Plenary Committee] Team Leaders’ Meeting (March 3, 2018)

Date and Time: 14:00-17:00, March 3, 2018 (Saturday)
Venue: Middle Meeting Room, 3rd Floor, Inamori Foundation Memorial Hall, Kyoto University
(Honorifics and titles omitted hereafter)

This plenary meeting was organized as a team leaders’ meeting in which the leaders of the seven teams (including an acting leader), members in charge of general overview, and secretariat participated. Motoji Matsuda, the project leader, presented the following report and the team leaders responded with opinions and discussed the ways forward for the project.

1. International Communication
First, a report on international communication of research outcome was presented. The speaker reported the record international communication (European Conference on African Studies and African Studies Association in the US) in fiscal year 2017 and shared a plan for the communication in fiscal year 2018 (World Social Science Forum and International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Science).

2. African Potentials Forum
A detailed report on the Africa Forum held in Grahamstown, South Africa, was presented. It also referred to the outcome of the forum. Following the report, the speaker explained that the selection of the keynote speaker and report presenters from Africa for the Africa Forum in the next fiscal year (December in Accra, Ghana) is in progress, and requested the leaders to list candidates for the presenters. In addition, he also referred to the publication of the outcome of the Kampala Forum 2016 (to be included in African Study Monographs Supplementary Issue 56).
Explanation on the symposium in Kyoto, scheduled in January 2019, was also provided. He explained the symposium will serve as an international exchange seminar mainly for young to mid-level researchers, and requested the leaders to consider candidate invitees from African young/mid-level researchers and candidate presenters from Japan.

3. Research Collaboration with Other Area Studies Groups
The speaker reported on collaborative research activity with other area studies group (Joint Symposium with Japanese Society for Oceanic Studies) implemented this fiscal year and shared a plan for future activity (collaboration with Japan Society for Southeast Asian Studies, May 2018).

4. Team Activities
The budget for the next fiscal year and schedule for the Plenary Meeting were announced, and direction of the project for the next fiscal year onwards was discussed. Prior to the discussion, Motoji Matsuda, the project leader, shared his thoughts on how to proceed with the project. In response to his requests, each team leader shared updates on team activities and commented on the ways forward for the project. The leaders discussed whether to continue the current approach based on individual reports or to start focusing and sharing discussions beyond the teams. They concluded to maintain the individual report approach for another year. On the other hand, they confirmed to encourage mutual exchange with other teams and collaborative activities by multiple teams.

(Reported by Shinichiro Ichino.)

[7th African Forum: Grahamstown] (November 24–26, 2017)


7th African Forum: Grahams town
Dates: November 24–26, 2017
Venue: Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa

Summary of African Forum

The 7th African Potentials Forum was held from November 24 to 26, 2017, in Grahamstown, South Africa. Project members, researchers, and practitioners from southern African countries, such as Angola, Botswana, and Mozambique, participated in the forum. The event also included a new component: a poster session for young researchers, which was incorporated to encourage a focus on academics in the next generation. Postgraduate students from Rhodes University, Cape Town University, and University of Lesotho took part in the forum. The more than 40 participants held intense discussions on African potentials during the two-day event.

This forum had two key characteristics. The first was its attempt to seek another mode of intelligence in humanities based on African potentials, which is one of the objectives of the second phase of the project. The discussion as such was centered around the idea of multiple universality proposed by Dr. Michael Neocosmos in his keynote speech. Universality has long been a concept exclusive to modern, Western societies up until now (as target of criticism or defense, but he discussed the possibility to find different ways to understand universality in politics, history, and views of humanity and society. The second characteristic of the forum was that more than a half of the presenters were female, and the event encouraged active discussion on sexual violence, sex governance, as well as gender and sexuality which were newly added to the project theme from the seceiond phase.

The forum offered a poster session and four sessions titled “Liberation,” “Knowledge,” “Governmentality,” and “Everyday Wisdom.” The event opened with Dr. Michael Neocosmos’s keynote address, “African Potentials and the Thought of Universal Humanity.” After the keynote, 14 presenters (seven from Africa and seven from Japan) made reports in breakout sessions, and core members of the project, who had been working to conceptualize African potentials since the first phase of the project, served as commentators to deepen and develop the discussions. At the poster session, seven researchers from the next generation presented on topics related to African potentials.

In the plenary discussion on the last day of the forum, we confirmed our shared understanding of the importance of the conception and practices of African potentials in a situation where many modes of intelligence represent colonial thinking. We must critique and identify issues in such outdated thinking and adopt countermeasures. At the same time, we confirmed the need to construct a new order of intelligence by mutually collaborating in and engaging with modern Western concepts and practices—rather than merely rejecting or criticizing them—to address social contradictions and the global trend toward violence in our world today. In addition, because of the participation of many young researchers, this forum promoted an open exchange of opinions on emerging generational gaps in recognition and behavior.

We have concluded that each party involved would consider publishing the outcome of the forum either in featured journal articles as a part of the African Potentials series in English.


(Motoji Matsuda, Project Leader)


Program Timetable

November 24, Friday
18:00-19:00 Registration
19:00-21:00 Reception
November 25, Saturday
9:40-10:00 Opening remarks
Motoji Matsuda (Project leader, Kyoto University)
10:00-11:30 Keynote Address (Chair: Eisei Kurimoto)
Michael Neocosmos (Rhodes University)
African Potentials and the Thought of Universal Humanity
11:30-13:00 Lunch Break
13:00-15:30 Session 1: Liberation (Chair: Yohei Miyauchi)
Commentators: Edward Kirumira & Yoko Nagahara
1-1. Shose Kessi (University of Cape Town)
African Identities and Community Participation in the Time of ‘Nation’
1-2. Toshihiro Abe (Otani University)
Reconsidering South African TRC in the Current Context of Transitional Justice Studies
1-3. Nomboniso Gasa (University of Cape Town)
The Traditional Debate in South Africa: What Is the Fuss All About?
1-4. Akiyo Aminaka (IDE-JETRO)
Signs of Spontaneous Democratization in Mozambique: Special Focus on the Opposition Party and Its Ex-Soldiers
15:30-15:50 Coffee Break
15:50-17:50 Session 2: Knowledge (Chair: Shose Kessi)
Commentators: Michael Neocosmos & Motoji Matsuda
2-1. Artwell Nhemachena (University of Namibia)
Evading Genetic Modifications through African Potentials? Whither the Afro-pessimism Thesis
2-2. Akira Takada (Kyoto University)
The Medium of Instruction in North-Central Namibia in Colonial Times
2-3. Sethunya Tshepho Mosime (University of Botswana)
Teaching African Potentials: Incompleteness and the Pedagogy of African Potentials
18:30- Conference dinnerk
November 26, Sunday
9:00-11:00 Session 3: Governmentality (Chair: Nomboniso Gasa)
Commentators: Kennedy Mkutu & Eisei Kurimoto
3-1. Richard Pithouse (Wits University)
Can the Subaltern Be Heard? Reflections on the Academy, the Universal and Thought from the Underside of Modernity
3-2. Yohei Miyauchi (Rikkyo University)
Tolerance as Post-Apartheid Urban Planning Political Geography of the Art-Led Urban Rejuvenation in Inner City of Johannesburg
3-3. Euclides Gonçalves (Kaleidoscopio)
Champion’s Music and the Poetics of Constructive Criticism in Rural Mozambique
11:00-11:15 Coffee Break
11:15-12:15 Poster Session
P-1. Levi Kabwato (Rhodes University)
Catching Colds: Analysing Media Discourses in Africa on Euro-American Political Developments
P-2. Motlatsi Khosi (University of South Africa)
“Living” Ubuntu: The African as Philosophy in Its Construction of an African Philosophy
P-3. Yvonne Zamaswazi Sibaya (University of Cape Town)
Downsizing and Outsourcing African Identities.
An Ethnography of the Downsizing and Outsourcing of African Identities through Transactional Hair Exchanges amongst Insiders and Outsiders of Johannesburg
P-4. Sayaka Kono (National University of Lesotho)
Making “Basotho of South Africa” under Bantustan Policy: Ethnicity, Citizenship and Apartheid in Rural South Africa in the Late 1970s:
P-5. Meyu Yamamoto (Tsuda University)
Beyond Binary Paradigm of Racism: Chinese Mine Labour and Construction of Whiteness in South Africa
P-6. Yuriko Sugiyama (University of Botswana)
Reorganization of San Society in New Xade, Botswana: Analysis of Changes in Funeral Customs
P-7. Chivimbiso Gava (University of Cape Town)
Migration and Narration – Making the Unfamiliar Familiar through a Shared History
12:15-13:30 Lunch Break
13:30-15:30 Session 4: Everyday Wisdom (Chair: Akira Takada)
Commentators: Edward Kirumira & Toshio Meguro
4-1. Mayu Hayakawa (National Museum of Ethnology)
The Potential of the Useless Money: The Non-Disappearance of Hyperinflating Currency in Zimbabwe
4-2. Fezokuhle Mthonti (Rhodes University)
The Hair Salons Are Not Burning: African Migrant Women and Xenophobic Violence in South Africa
4-3. Junko Maruyama (Tsuda University)
Divided Land, Shared Land: Recent Land Issues among the San Hunter-Gatherers in Central Kalahari
15:30-15:45 Coffee Break
15:45-17:30 General Discussion (Chair: Eisei Kurimoto)
18:00- Farewell Party

[6th Plenary Committee] “For the Rhodes Forum 2017” (October 14, 2017)

Date: October 14, 2017 14:00~17:00
Venue: 3rd floor of Inamori Foundation Memorial Hall, Kyoto University

At the beginning of the meeting, Motoji Matsuda, the project leader, made a number of administrative announcements, including in relation to international forums and conferences related to the project, events in which the project members participated, support for future research by next generation, publication of the ASM, as well as future plenary meetings. Shinichi Takeuchi provided a detailed explanation of the African Studies Association(ASA) Meeting.

Next, Motoji Matsuda provided an overview of the seventh Africa Forum (also called the Rhodes Forum), which is scheduled to be held from 24 to 26 November at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa. Five Japanese speakers are due to present at the forum. Their names and the titles and abstracts of their presentations are listed below.

Speaker 1: Toshihiro Abe (Otani University)
Title: Reconsidering South African TRC in the Current Context of Transitional Justice Studies

This presentation discussed how to re-evaluate the impact of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in South Africa, which completed its activities nearly 20 years ago, as well as what secondary impacts derived from them have attracted attention. The speaker then reconsidered the TRC in South Africa in comparison to a number of case studies of justice in transitional eras drawn from other regions, such as the former Yugoslavia. On the basis of these comparisons, the speaker suggested that the response of society in post-TRC South Africa has resulted from such conditions as “control of more than sufficient and intermediate omission”, “failure in specific nature” and “insufficiency and incompleteness in certain areas”.

Speaker2: Akira Takada (Kyoto University)
Title: The Medium of Instruction in North-Central Namibia in Colonial Times

In this presentation, the speaker reported the education history of the San people in the Ohangwena region, the Ovambo people in north-central Namibia, and non-white people in southern Africa, with a focus on the medium of instruction. The languages used for education in this region have changed in accordance with social and political changes, such as colonial policy, the activities of missionaries, and policies in relation to indigenous peoples. A range of languages, including English, Afrikaans, Spanish and Ovambo language, have been used. The speaker also highlighted the significant differences between the respective education histories of the San, Ovamboland’s indigenous inhabitants, and the Ovambo people.

Speaker 3: Mayu Hayakawa (National Museum of Ethnology)
Title: The Potentials of the Useless Money: The Non-disappearance of Hyperinflating Currency in Zimbabwe

This presentation attempts to find African potentials in the reaction of people in Zimbabwe to hyper-inflation. Inhabitants of Zimbabwe used Zimbabwean dollars as limited-purpose currency even under conditions of hyper-inflation. On the other hand, US dollars, which could have been regarded as multi-purpose currency, were sometimes not used due to a shortage of smaller bills. In such extraordinary circumstances, Zimbabweans attempted to maintain everyday life by means of natural and usual trades, which displays the presence of an economy and currency maintained by micro-management, which differs from the situation prevailing in most modern economies and currencies.

Speaker 4: Junko Maruyama (Tsuda University)
Title: Divided Land, Shared Land: Recent Land Issues among the San Hunter-gatherers in Central Kalahari

The San people, a group of hunter-gatherers in the Central Kalahari, have continued to be forced to settle outside their ancestral land. However, they have won national lawsuits after attracting international attention by appealing land issues as an indigenous movement. However, as a result, the government has permitted only a limited return to ancestral land for specified persons, and land rights accessible only by a small number of wealthy people. In short, land issues have been transformed into disparity issues among the San. However, the San now visit new land by utilizing their family networks, and have found new enjoyment in becoming familiar with the land, leading to an overall expansion of the San’s area of activity.

Speaker 5: Meyu Yamamoto (Kyoto University)
Title: Beyond Binary Paradigm of Racism: Chinese Mine Labour and Construction of Whiteness in South Africa

The speaker attempted to relativize the dichotomous view of racism based on “white” and “black” in South Africa, with the presence of annually contracted Chinese workers. In the early twentieth century, the United Kingdom introduced annual contract workers from China to the Rand Gold Mine. The workers spent six years in the country, laboring under poor conditions, before being returned to China, but the event gave rise to a widely held stereotype of Chinese people in South Africa and contributed to the rise of white nationalism. In other words, the introduction of Chinese workers and the existence of the Asia threat, which was known at the time, encouraged unity among the “white” population in South Africa, which had not previously been cohesive, and encouraged the construction of a “white South Africa”.

Misa Hirano-Nomoto / Shinichiro Ichino

[7th Plenary Committee / 3rd Public Lecture] The Food Connection Between African Villages and Japan: Can African Food-Producing Regions Change through Fair Trade? (January 27, 2018)

Date and Time: 14:30–17:30, January 27, 2018 (Saturday)
Venue: Large Meeting Room, Third Floor, Inamori Foundation Memorial Hall, Kyoto University

Program *Moderator (Motoki Takahashi, Kyoto University)

  • Outline of Objectives (Motoji Matsuda, Kyoto University)
  • Lecture 1: Fair Trade in Chocolate and its Effect on Production Regions (Akira Kondo, Ghana Project Manager, NPO ACE (Action against Child Exploitation))
  • Lecture 2: Fair Trade in Coffee and Social Systems in Coffee-Producing Regions: Systems that Help and Systems that Hinder (Hideaki Tsujimura, Kyoto University)
  • Commentator 1 (Motoi Suzuki, National Museum of Ethnology)
  • Commentator 2 (Koichi Ikegami, Kindai University)

This general meeting was open to the public. It was a great success, with as many as 117 participants in attendance.

Professor Matsuda kicked off the workshop with an explanation of the objectives of this meeting. The goal of fair trade is to improve the lives of people in food-producing regions by correcting inequitable relationships between producers and consumers. In recent years this concept has become well known in Japan. So, what is the actual effect of fair trade on production regions?

In the first lecture, titled “Fair Trade in Chocolate and its Effect on Production Regions,” Mr Kondo, a member of the NPO ACE (Action against Child Exploitation), described its long history of projects in support of cacao producers in Ghana and its work with fair trade products. Mr Kondo also discussed the changes brought about in cacao plantation districts by ACE campaigns such as 1 more LOVE and 1 Chocolate for 1 smile, the latter in cooperation with the confectionary maker Morinaga & Co., Ltd.. ACE not only provides aid for cacao production, but also works to eliminate child labor and improve the educational environment, and has been progressively achieving these goals. The next challenge is to enable local farming villages to continue these activities after the project ends. Here, Mr Kondo presented examples of villages whose residents have voluntarily proposed and enacted mechanisms to monitor child labor and organizations to provide mutual aid. He also described the importance of the link between consumers and food-producing regions, for example, how letters from consumers in Japan led to increased motivation among local producers. Mr Kondo discussed how the fair trade initiatives taken by large corporations that produce chocolate have brought the concept of fair trade closer to Japanese consumers.

The next speaker, Professor Tsujimoto of Kyoto University, discussed the effect of international coffee market trends and the fair trade movement on coffee-producing regions in the foothills of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, which he has spent many years researching. This region is famous for Kihamba, an agrosilvopastoral (agroforestry) farming system that focuses on environmental protection. Kihamba was designated a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System (GIAHS) in 2011. Not only is this system good for the environment, but it also provides security of household economy for farmers, as the growing of coffee–a “masculine” product–is supported by “feminine” products such as bananas and milk. The inequality for producers remains, however, as exemplified by a difference of more than 800 fold between the price of coffee paid to producers and that paid by consumers in Japan. After experiencing sluggish international coffee prices since the 1990s and the global coffee crisis, an increasing number of coffee farmers have switched to growing corn or have traveled to the cities to work away from home, and some have been left unable to send their children to school. Thus, it is becoming increasingly important to promote fair trade to raise the prices received by coffee producers. Social development projects such as Fairtrade Premium have been started for this purpose. Professor Tsujimoto also noted factors limiting the power of the fair trade movement, such as price competition with large restaurant chains.

After the two lectures, the first commentator, Professor Suzuki, raised two questions. First, would all problems be solved if only child labor was eliminated and children were sent to school? Second, how do the speakers consider the various issues associated with the education system? Mr Kondo replied that child labor which must be eliminated involves heavy manual work which prevents children’s healthy growth and labor that is exploitative. Professor Tsujimoto emphasized the fact that the villagers themselves place great importance on education compared to others in Tanzania, and make sending their children to school a priority.

The second commentator, Professor Ikegami, responded to Professor Tsujimoto’s presentation by asking about the possibility of taking the mechanisms and initiatives implemented by this village as a model, and expanding it to surrounding regions. Professor Ikegami also inquired about the “black box” that exists between food-producing regions and food-consuming regions (price-setting mechanisms, for example). Professor Tsujimoto replied to the first question by saying that he did not think that this particular case could really constitute a model, although it may perhaps be generalized. Regarding the second question, Professor Tsujimoto noted the fact that coffee prices are set by commodity futures markets, which are organized and systematized internationally, thus difficult to modify. Rather, the fair trade movement has developed without trying to modify these systems.

The discussion was then opened up to questions from the floor. The two lecturers responded to various questions, after which the workshop was concluded.

Misa Hirano-Nomoto

[1st Seminar on African Potential] (March 3, 2018)

Date: March 3, 2018. 14:00-16:00
Venue: Inamori Foundation Memorial Bldg, Middle-sized Meeting Room, Kyoto University

Title: Camps for Political Prisoners in Guinea -The Current Situation and the Prospects for Bury the History
Speaker: Ichijo Hiroaki (Ryukoku University)

Title: Child-Rearing and Family Network among the Herero people in Namibia
Speaker: Yumi Kamuro (Kumamoto University)

Title: Publishing of Books for Children and African Literature: The Production of Literature and Writers in Francophone Western Africa
Speaker: Haruse Murata

[5th Meeting Development and Livelihood Research Team] (January 27, 2018)

Date: January 27, 2018 11:30-14:00
Venue: 3rd floor of Inamori Foundation Memorial Hall, Kyoto University

Title: Food Security Policy and Pastoral Societies in Ethiopia
Speaker: Toru SAGAWA (Keio University)

[6th Meeting Language and Literature Research Team] (January 27, 2018)

Date: January 27, 2018 11:30-14:30
Venue: 3rd floor of Inamori Foundation Memorial Hall, Kyoto University

Speaker: Haruse Murata
Title:The reason why books for African children are necessary : Considerations of interviews to writers and illustrators in London and Dakar

Brainstorming with members

[6th Meeting Conflict and Conviviality Research Team] (January 27, 2018)

Date: January 27, 2018 11:30-14:20
Venue: 3rd floor of Inamori Foundation Memorial Hall, Kyoto University

Title:The Technology of Collecting and The Art of Getting Together: On the Fund-Raise Party in Small Town in Southern Ghana.
Speaker:Akinori Hamada (Kansai University)

[4th Meeting Development and Livelihood Research Team][2nd Public Lectures] (January 12, 2018)

Date: January 12, 2018 15:00-17:00
Venue: 3rd floor of Inamori Foundation Memorial Hall, Kyoto University

Title: Peacebuilding from “Below”: Assistance for People with Disabilities in Post-Genocide Rwanda
Speaker: Emmanuel Gatera Rudasingwa and Mami Yoshida-Rudasingwa (Mulindi/ Japan One Love Project)
Chairperson: Hirotsugu Oba (Kyoto University)
Commentator: Yukiko Kondo (JSPS/ Doshisha University)

[4th Meeting Gender and Sexuality Research Team] (January 27, 2018)

Date: January 27, 2018 12:00~14:25
Venue: 3rd floor of Inamori Foundation Memorial Hall, Kyoto University

Speaker: Yukiko Kondo(JSPS, Doshisha University)
Title: Envisioning Future in the Military: What Young Women Choose for Living in Modern Rural Rwanda”