Special Reports

Stella Nyanzi lands juicy job in South Africa


Dr. Stella Nyanzi

Suspended Makerere university research fellow Dr Stella Nyanzi, has landed a new research fellowship worth R75, 000 (about Shs17.6m) per month in South Africa.

Nyanzi who was recently suspended from Makerere University for staging a naked protest at its institute of social research (MISR), will be earning Shs211m a year.

“I am very excited about starting my Research Fellowship at Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Studies (www.stias.ac.za),” Nyanzi said.

“It is great to join an academic space that values the role of research and researchers in Africa. I am grateful to resume and plunge into producing academic research knowledge without any encumbrances. I was born to do research!”

She promised to make new friends in South Africa.

Nyanzi who has only spent one day in her new office, says she is amazed by the openness of different scholars to listen and engage with the issues that led to her protest.

“Unlike the general Ugandan response in which my nudity and profanity barred people from delving into the managerial, administrative, institutional, structural and systemic issues I protested against, academia in South Africa are keen about critically inquiring into the underlying issues. I love this maturity!,” she said.

This is the conversation she had with S.African professors:

“Why did you undress in public at the university? We have heard how Mamdani framed his response towards your protest. We have not yet heard your reasons for the protest,” an elderly South African professor said to me at the lunch table.

“Why did it necessitate undressing yourself to get your message across to the university administrators? Why did they let your issues go that far?” a visiting Kenyan professor asked me during a chit-chat.

“Yo! You are famous here, Stella. You know Mamdani is renowned for his contestation against Bantustan education. Twenty years ago, he raised important structural questions about the inferiority of education that black South Africans were receiving relative to other races in this country. And then, out of nowhere you came onto the television screens screaming ‘Fuck you Mahmood Mamdani’ at him! You are famous, lady. And here, there are those who support you and then there are those of us who do not appreciate what you did because you brought down our hero during his lifetime,” another South African professor said to me as we made tea at the open bar.

“Dr. Nyanzi, please come and address our doctoral students about your biography as an academic-activist. Our students wrote your name among the leading African scholars they want to emulate,” an email inviting me to speak at a university stated.

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