Dare to Invent the Future
Knowledge in the Service of and through Problem-Solving
388 pp., 7 x 9 in, 50 b&w illus.
- Published: November 21, 2023
- Publisher: The MIT Press
A rallying manifesto for the innovative problem-solving we need to build a better, more verdant, and sustainable planetary existence.
Academics are letting Africa down. With all that we know, what do we have to show for it? Whose lives have been changed for the better by it? What have we done for and with our communities lately? In this provocative book—the first in a trilogy—Clapperton Chakanetsa Mavhunga argues that our critical thinkers must become actual thinker-doers. Taking its title from one of Thomas Sankara's most inspirational speeches, Dare to Invent the Future looks for moments in Africa's story where precedents of critical thought and knowledge in service of problem-solving are evident to inspire readers to dare to invent such a knowledge system.
Mavhunga revisits insights from Edward Wilmot Blyden, Booker T. Washington, Aimé Césaire, Frantz Fanon, Amílcar Cabral, Julius Nyerere, and Thomas Sankara to illustrate how the academic disciplines have been, and could be, deployed in the service of and through problem-solving, building on what people are doing and know. At its core, he writes, knowledge in the service of and through problem-solving derives from reading the past for new questions, doing due diligence in the present, and contriving an anticipatory approach toward the future.
Questioning the fundamental premises of Western and white knowledge production, especially regarding science and technology, Mavhunga proposes in this book refreshingly new approaches to thinking-doing that stem from African realities, in the hopes of inspiring a generation that will run toward, not away from, problems to solve them.
“An invaluable reference for creating education for Africa's empowerment. It uniquely threads together the history of revolutionary African leaders to inspire and convince on how to educate for the future.”
Paul Ndirangu Kioni, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Founding Vice-Chancellor, Dedan Kimathi University of Technology
“Drawing on pathbreaking research centered on African and Black diaspora situated sites of knowledge production, Clapperton Chakanetsa Mavhunga recasts our understanding of history, pedagogy and education rites and rituals. A book of formidable intellectual and political range.”
Mamadou Diouf, Leitner Professor of African Studies, Columbia University; author of L'Afrique dans le temps du monde