Podcast “Narratives of Change” – The Story of Busisiwe Ntsele

Welcome to Narratives of Change, the podcast that looks at how academics can make a real difference in society. In this podcast, we present and discuss real stories that spur reflection. Stories that make something visible that wasn’t visible before. Stories that might be unsettling and uncomfortable, but that bring transformation and hope…

Narratives of Change is the monthly podcast of our research project Engaged Scholarship and Narratives of Change. A project in which we explore the opportunities and challenges of engaged scholarship in the Netherlands, South Africa, and the United States.

Rooted in decolonial and feminist theories and practices and armed with emancipatory and activist research traditions, we discuss those transformative and critical forms of academic work that have the ambition and capacity to stimulate reflection, inclusion and, above all, change.

Our research asks questions such as:

  • How do we make sure that our research isn’t another exploitative and traumatizing experience for the people we work with? Or should we say, work for? How can our research instead be a restorative and healing experience?
  • In other words: how can we ensure that our research really benefits our research participants?
  • And how can participatory arts-based methods help us in this?

We ask:

  • How to unsettle and redesign power relations in order to truly co-create knowledge? How do we become aware our own blind spots? And what role does reflectivity play in this?
  • How do we address normalized discourses of exclusion and use our analytical knowledge for the actual inclusion of underprivileged groups?

Today we listen to the story of Busisiwe Ntsele. She shares her experience of doing a PhD in South Africa. And she tells the story of how her engagement with a local community touched her heart and changed her perspective on engaged scholarship.

In the conversation that follows, we explore some of the issues that are central in her story. And we discuss important questions related to the broader social-historical context in which her experiences are embedded.

  • How does apartheid still persist in post-apartheid academia?
  • How to claim space and voice in unwelcoming academic spaces?
  • And why do white people love Nelson Mandela, but often forget about Winnie?

You can listen to the first episode here.