Invitation to the 2020 Annual CHUSS symposium

The Organizing Committee cordially invites you to the 2020 Humanities and Social Sciences Symposium scheduled to take place on Thursday 2nd - Friday 3rd April, 2020 in the Makerere University Main Hall starting at 8:00am-4:30pm on each day.

THEME OF THE SYMPOSIUM: The Ivory Tower meets Jua Kali: Reflections on Theorizing the Profound from the Ordinary


In his essay 1987 entitled: “Rediscovery of the Ordinary: Some New Writings in South Africa”, the South African Literary Scholar and Public Intellectual Njabulo Ndebele calls on black writers to write about ordinary lives as lived experiences in South African Townships and Suburbs if they are to distil profound insights about the South African condition. Conceding that the obscenity of the apartheid system often justified the prominence of the spectacular in political writing akin to the wrestler as theorized by Roland Barthes, Ndebele notes that such writing lacks the punch of the ordinary. While Ndebele’s argument comes out of a particular spatial and temporal context and is particularly anchored in literary and cultural studies, his thesis that the profound can be theorised from the ordinary is an innovative way of conceptualising knowledge production in the Humanities and Social Sciences. That scholars in the Humanities and Social Sciences are capable of distilling important insights into the socio-political and economic reality of particular milieu out of the ordinary experiences is not only the core essence of the decolonising project at different epochs in the continent’s intellectual trajectory, but it has been noted by many scholars and public intellectuals as an innovative platform for collective approaches to knowledge production.

 The 2020 Humanities and Social Sciences Symposium seeks to investigate how and with what successes the academy can centre the untapped node of knowledge that exists on the periphery of the Ivory Tower — here framed as “Jua Kali” wisdom.

GUEST OF HONOUR: Mr. Moses Matovu - He is a Ugandan musician and saxophonist. He is one of the founders of Afrigo Band, Uganda's longest-serving band, founded in 1975. Matovu has been in Uganda's music industry for close to 45 years. He started out in "Thunderbirds Band" in 1967 as a vocalist. From there, he joined the Police Band in 1968 and later "Cranes Band" in 1969 before he and other friends formed Afrigo Band in 1974. He has been performing with the band since then. Matovu is a historian of the band music industry in Uganda.

KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Dr Grace Musila - She is an Associate Professor in the African Literature Department at the University of the Witwatersrand. She holds a PhD in African Literature from the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. Her research interests include Gender Studies, Eastern and Southern African literatures, African popular culture, African intellectual archives and postcolonial whiteness in Africa. She has published journal articles and book chapters in these areas. She has also co-edited Rethinking Eastern African Intellectual Landscapes (Africa World Press, 2012). She is the author of “A Death Retold in Truth and Rumour: Kenya, Britain and the Julie Ward Murder (2015)”, which explores Kenyan and British interpretations of the 1988 murder of British tourist Julie Ann Ward in Maasai Mara Game Reserve, Kenya.

About the Humanities and Social Sciences Symposia

In 2018, CHUSS hosted the first Humanities and Social Sciences Symposium with the resolve that this intervention would become an annual academic event in the college. The symposia series are organised in pursuant with the college’s mandate, among which, is the need to foster a vibrant academic environment in the university and the country that can promote intellectual debate and knowledge production in the fields of Humanities and Social Sciences. Consequently, the 2018 symposium brought together the region’s Humanities and Social Sciences scholars to debate issues affecting the Eastern African polity in the Fourth Industrial milieu. Organized under the theme,  “A New East African: Agency and Identity Debates in the Region”, the 2019 CHUSS Symposium took major shifts in the East African society that have occurred in the last two decades as its point of departure in order to explore how agency and identity of the regions subjects have morphed during this period.

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Thursday, April 2, 2020 - 08:00 to Friday, April 3, 2020 - 04:30
Event Venue: 
Makerere University Main Hall
Contact Information: 
1.Dr Patrick Mangeni, Chair Organizing Committee/ Emails:,; 2. Dr Edgar Nabutanyi/ Email: +256772971204/+256754737443; 3. Ms Catherine Kirumira/ Email: +256752665071/+256773551827