Traditions as Legends: Rivonia or Humanist Miscast

When and Where

Thursday, November 17, 2022 12:30 pm to 2:00 pm
CG 265
Canadiana Gallery
14 Queen's Park Crescent West, Toronto, ON M5S 3K9


Siba Grovogui


This is a free event, however, registration is required

There is either failure or omission in the social sciences and humanities to entertain the idea that African political actions have behind them distinct traditions of thought. This is to say that it is often assumed in the canons and beyond that African actions are not grounded in moral predicates that reflect time and the material conditions of the existence of the authors of such actions. One way to cast aside African thought, as well as their ethical and moral predicates, is to present them as legends: the result of exceptional heroic acts of bravery, foresight, and/or humanity. To counter the underlying reflex, I wish to revisit the last paragraph of Nelson Mandela’s “I’m Prepared to Die’ speech. I do so to demonstrate the manners in which the last paragraph stands as an instance and instantiation of a longstanding and uniquely African expression of humanism. Further, I wish to show how the absence of interest and acquaintance with this particular speech is also evidence of the poverty of moral and ethical thought today.

About Professor Siba Grovogui

Siba N’Zatioula Grovogui is Professor of International Relations Theory and African Political Thought at Cornell University in the United States of America. He is also the Nelson Mandela Visiting Professor in the Department of Political and International Studies at Rhodes University for 2020 and 2021. He is the author of Sovereigns, Quasi Sovereigns, and Africans: Race and Self-Determination in International Law (1996) and Beyond Eurocentrism and Anarchy: Memories of International Order and Institutions (2006). He is currently in the final phase of completion of a manuscript titled The Gaze of Copernicus: Postcolonialism, Serendipity, and the Making of the World. The manuscript offers a critique of international relations, its practices, disciplinary canons, archives, and regimes of truth as foundations for a set of propositions on postcolonial inquiries, methods, and utopias.

This event is co-sponsored by the Centre for Criminology & Sociolegal Studies, the Transnational Justice Project, the Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies, and the African Studies program at the University of Toronto. 

A light lunch will be served at 12:00pm in the Centre Lounge, 2nd floor of the Canadiana Gallery. 

Please note that the location does not have a working elevator. If you are a person with a disability and require accommodation, please contact us at and we will do our best to make appropriate arrangements.


Centre for Criminology & Sociolegal Studies, Transnational Justice Project, African Studies Program


14 Queen's Park Crescent West, Toronto, ON M5S 3K9