Visual Redress Collection


Visual Redress in Africa Conference

7-8 December 2023

Visual Arts Department, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
Online and in-person

There has been much emphasis during the last few years on the removal of statues and decolonisation of spaces in the West, namely in Australia, Europe, and the United States of America. However, in Africa the removal of statues and various other methods of decolonisation have been implemented for many years, but this news did not always reach the attention of the Western public. This conference seeks to highlight the processes in various African countries (but also encourages studies from elsewhere) to redress the visual culture – in the form of public art, statues, signs, and buildings – that stem from colonialism. This involves instances where statues are removed, moved, and/or contextualised, new statues or artworks are added, street names and names of buildings are changed, new buildings to house cultural artefacts are erected, and the way that these artefacts are exhibited and used are modified. The remaining colonial symbols are still sensitive issues and collaboratively engaging with these issues in Africa could bring new understandings and assist in offering solutions for other countries and continents.

This conference aims to create a platform for researchers to share the visual redress initiatives that are happening throughout Africa – in museums, public spaces, university campuses, etc. It will provide a uniquely African perspective of the challenges, impacts, and opportunities inherent in visual redress. The objectives are to provide a space to advance knowledge about visual redress, projects, research, and to promote and enhance collaborations among African institutions and others who are working in this field. The conference will contribute to the discourse around the transformation of the visual landscape towards decolonised and inclusive spaces.

Conference Schedule



17:15 to 18:15 Visual Redress Tours on Stellenbosch University campus

We will meet and end in front of the Visual Arts Building. The tour will be 60min long and participants are encouraged to bring some water and walking shoes.



07:30 to 08:30

08:30 to 09:00


Welcome and introduction:

Dr Leslie van Rooi
Senior Director for Social Impact and Transformation, Stellenbosch University
Professor Tony Leysens
Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Stellenbosch University

09:00 to 09:45 Keynote Address

Professor George J Sefa Dei
Department of Social Justice Education, University of Toronto, Canada

09:45 to 10:00 Coffee and Tea Break
10:00 to 11:35 Roundtable Discussion

Interested participants are invited to a roundtable discussion to share experiences and expertise on the principle of and possibilities linked to art(s)-based juxtaposition. Please identify specific examples of statue linked juxtaposition to enhance a debate on this topical issue.

11:35 to 12:45 Lunch Break and Kruithuis walkabout with Charles Palm
12:45 to 14:00 Presentations
14:05 to 15:40 Presentations
15:40 to 16:00 Coffee and Tea Break
16:00 to 17:35 Presentations
18:00 to 20:00 Evening Reception and Book Launch


08:30 to 08:30 Registration
08:30 to 08:45 Welcome and Introduction:
Dr Leslie van Rooi
Senior Director for Social Impact and Transformation, Stellenbosch University
08:45 to 09:30 Keynote Address:
Dr Ndubuisi Ezeluomba
Curator of African Art, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA, USA
 09:30 to 09:45 Coffee and Tea Break
 09:45 to 11:20 Presentations
 11:25 to 13:00 Presentations
 13:00 to 14:00 Lunch Break and Gradex walkabout in the Visual Arts Building
 14:00 to 15:35 Presentations
 15:35 to 15:50 Coffee anf Tea Break
 15:50 to 17:25 Presentations

Organising committee

Prof. Elmarie Costandius, Dr Gera de Villiers, Dr Leslie van Rooi and Prof Freeborn Odiboh

Keynote Speakers


Professor George J. Sefa Dei

Ghanaian-born George Sefa Dei is a renowned educator, researcher and writer who is considered by many as one of Canada’s foremost scholars on race, anti-racism studies, Black and minority education, African Indigeneity and anti-colonial thought. He is a widely sought after academic, researcher and community worker whose professional and academic work has led to many Canadian and international speaking invitations in US, Europe and Africa. Currently, he is Professor of Social Justice Education & Director of the Centre for Integrative Anti-Racism Studies at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto (OISE/UT).  In October 2023, Professor Dei received an honorary doctorate from the University of South Africa at the University’s convocation ceremony. Professor Dei is the 2015, 2016, 2018-19 Carnegie African Diasporan Fellow. In August of 2012, Professor Dei also received the honorary title of ‘Professor Extraordinarius’ from the Department of Inclusive Education, University of South Africa, [UNISA]. In 2017, he was elected as Fellow of Royal Society of Canada, the most prestigious award for an academic scholar. He also received the ‘2016 Whitworth Award for Educational Research’ from the Canadian Education Association (CEA) awarded to the Canadian scholar whose research and scholarship have helped shaped Canadian national educational policy and practice.  He is the 2019 Paulo Freire Democratic Project, Chapman University, US – ‘Social Justice Award’ winner. In April of 2021, Professor Dei received the 2021        Lifetime Achievement Award from the Ontario Alliance of Black School Educators [ONABSE] for how long-standing work promoting Black and minority youth education. Also, Professor Dei in October 2022, was named by Silvertrust Media as one of the 100 most influential Black Canadians nationwide. In March of 2023 Professor Dei has received the highly prestigious ‘2023 President’s Impact Award, given to a University of Toronto scholar whose work has reached beyond walls of academia to significantly impact local communities, nationally and internationally.  Also, in April 2023, Professor Dei was given an Honorary Research Associateship in The Centre of Excellence in Disabilities, University of South Africa, [UNISA].  Professor Dei has forty-four (44) books and over eighty (80) refereed journal articles to his credit.  Finally, in June of 2007, Professor Dei was installed as a traditional chief in Ghana, specifically, as the Gyaasehene of the town of Asokore, Koforidua in the New Juaben Traditional Area of Ghana. His stool name is Nana Adusei Sefa Tweneboah.

Ndubuisi Ezeluomba 

Raised in Benin City, Nigeria, where he initially trained as an artist, Ezeluomba received his Ph.D. in art history from the University of Florida, Gainesville. In 2017, he earned the University of Florida Graduate School Doctoral Dissertation Award for his dissertation, ‘Olokun Shrines: Their Functions in the Culture of the Benin Speaking People of Southern Nigeria’. Ezeluomba graduated from the University of Ibadan in Nigeria, completing his master’s thesis focused on the contemporary Nigerian sculptor Obi Ekwenchi. He received his bachelor’s degree in fine and applied arts from the University of Benin. 

Internationally recognized as one of the leading curators and scholars in his field, Ezeluomba has contributed to numerous publications including Black Art Quarterly; African Arts journal; Hyperallergic; Routledge Encyclopedia of African Studies; African Artists: From 1882 to Now (Phaidon) and Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism. His essay ‘Cultural Patrimony and Discussion of the 1897 Invasion of Benin Kingdom: Some Questions for Arts Management’ appeared in the publication Art Management and Cultural Policy across the African Diaspora (Ed.) Cuyler Antonio (2022). Ezeluomba was also a co-author of The Arts of Africa: Studying and Conserving the Collection (2021), the product of a groundbreaking collaboration between Virginia Museum of Fine Arts curators and conservators, supported by a major grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Other recent published works include Benin Art: Changes through Time and Space in The Literature and Arts of the Niger Delta (Eds.) Tanure Ojaide & Enajite Eseoghene (2021); and ‘The Development of the Exhibition of African Art in American Museums: Strategy for Engaging the Recent Repatriation Debate About the Cultural Property of Benin’ in Museum Innovation: Building More Equitable, Relevant and Impactful Museums (Eds.) Haitham Eid & Mellissa Fostrom (2020).