TELLING women’s stories and passing on the knowledge normally ignored, is the focus of St Cloud University academic Dr Mumbi Mwangi, who is currently visiting NMMU on the Carnegie African Diaspora Fellows programme for three months.
The importance of narratives, women’s ways of knowing and humanising women’s experiences from a feminist perspective is the focus of Dr Mwangi’s research and scholarship.
Dr Mwangi is being hosted by the University’s Centre for the Advancement of Non-Racialism and Democracy (CANRAD) where she has been presenting seminars about gender to strengthen and institutionalise the gender forum at NMMU.
She was also a panelist at the “Doing Gender” Conference at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.
“I am honoured to have been able to visit NMMU and come back ‘home’ to Africa. I am very touched by the friendly reception of the people at NMMU, especially colleagues at CANRAD, under the leadership of Director Allan Zinn.
“I have learned far more than I have given and I am truly impressed by NMMU’s commitment to dialogue as a process of transformation,” she said.
Dr Mwangi is equally optimistic about the new Gender Forum at NMMU.
“I believe my presence here has probably helped to push the forum to the next level.”
Born and raised in rural Kenya, Dr Mwangi started off as a home economics teacher, obtaining both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Kenyatta University in Nairobi. She later became the Chief Examiner of Home Economics with the Kenya National Examinations Council.
In 1998, she moved to America where she studied for her PhD degree in Education and a Minor in Women’s Studies at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa.
Her dissertation focused on African women in higher education. She then stayed on to lecture for two years at Iowa State University after which she was appointed at St Cloud University in Minnesota, where she is currently a professor in the department of Ethnic and Women’s Studies.
Dr Mwangi is also the mother of three consecutive sets of twins after the birth of her first daughter.
Part of the reason for opting to work in America is to provide opportunities for her children, five of whom now live there. She does however still keep tie ties with Africa, often visiting Kenya where she will probably retire.
During this visit, her second to South Africa, Dr Mwangi also visited Cape Town together with her son from America and her daughter from Kenya. The two siblings have not seen each other in 14 years so appreciated the much-needed family reunion.
Dr Mumbi Mangwi
Tel: +27 (0) 41 504 1111
Fax: +27 (0) 41 504 2574 / 2731
PO Box 77000, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
Port Elizabeth, 6031, South Africa
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