About the talk:
As a South African exile and anti-apartheid activist in Detroit, Michigan (USA), Rev. Mangedwa Nyathi founded the Hartford Memorial Baptist Church Agape Center, feeding people all over the city during the worst and hardest parts of the 1980s. The theological underpinnings of the food pantry operated as a practical political education in Black liberation. Rev. Nyathi played a profound influence on the author as a child bringing anti-apartheid politics as agape into the life of other clergy members, the author’s parents, and the entire congregation. The Agape Center shaped the author’s anticolonial consciousness by reframing economic justice activism in Detroit within a global context of resistance. This article remembers the work of the Agape Center food pantry, its origins in the political economy and social history of the Hartford Memorial Baptist Church—based on child perspective reminiscences and autobiography. It argues that the anti-apartheid movement in Detroit was peopled by everyday people, children and adults, who were survivors of brutalising levels of racialised economic violence and its attendant colonial ideologies.

About the speaker:
Dr. Tiffany Willoughby-Herard is an Associate Professor of Global and International Studies at University of California, Irvine and Professor Extraordinarius in the Chief Albert Luthuli Research Chair at University of South Africa. Willoughby-Herard’s research explores Black political thought and the material conditions of knowledge production in Black movements; South African historiography; blackness in international relations and diaspora; third world feminisms, decolonizing theory, feminist pedagogy, Black & African feminisms; and racial capitalism/gendered racisms/ sexuality in international relations.


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