Winston Mano talks to Featherstone High School Students about Decolonising Development

9 August 2022

On the 6th July 2022, Winston Mano talked to Year 11 and 12 students at Featherstone High School about how development needs to be decolonised as a matter of urgency. Addressing the core of students, who were mainly from History and Geography, Mano pointed out that decolonising development could help centre developees who have so far been implicated in the process of development as subjects, with no knowledge or initiative of their own.

Mano explained to students that decolonising could mean learning the right lessons from history and unlearning toxic practices, and that it could help put a stop to routine implantation of development templates from the West or the global North in global South. Decoloniality could centre actors and initiatives that have so far been excluded, adding their innovations and lived experience to reimagining development futures. It could be a necessary curative to tackling growing poverty and overall lack of sustainable development. It could push back extractive logics and other barriers that hinder development. It could allow for more listening and rethinking that could enrich development. Rethinking and unthinking of the process of development could help undo racism, gender discriminations and other forms of othering in society.  It could push back on hegemonic ideologies and help reverse the plight of the global South for who development has been elusive largely because of coloniality.

Mano told the students that even in the so-called global North there are also serious and growing inequalities. Development has been uneven, especially excluding the working class and minorities from participating in development. Unemployment, food kitchens and rough sleeping are indicative of those missing out on development. Mounting political, economic and even climate challenges in the world require collaborative collective individual and institutional efforts. Decoloniality could lead to much needed more inclusive approaches. Under colonialism development has benefited a few, especially those with power. In the postcolonial era, similar processes are benefitting the privileged elites. The process of development has many things that need to be rethought and unlearnt. It needs to be redefined from the perspective of decoloniality to open up to other epistemological ideas and practices. Some of the existing policies and structures will need to be dismantled as part of an inclusive decolonial approach. Development is a process that needs constant thinking and rethinking to make it even better. Mano concluded by emphasising the need for a pluriverse approach to harness wider efforts.

The talk was organised by Andrew Webb, the Careers Lead at Featherstone High School, where he also teaches Geography.


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