The five-day-long Virtual July Global Southern Forum took place from the 17th to the 21st of July and was co-hosted by Nelson Mandela University, Pennsylvania State University, and the University of Connecticut. The virtual format was in preparation for hosting the in-person Inaugural July Global Southern Forum at Nelson Mandela University in 2024. The theme of the Forum was “Beginning the Conversation” – an opportunity for scholars, established and emerging researchers, and students to think through important topics like the archive, creolization, global blackness, migration, and African thought in an inter-disciplinary manner. 
Among various speakers presenting was Nelson Mandela University’s Executive Dean of Humanities, Professor Pamela Maseko in conversation with the Director of the School of Governmental and Social Sciences, Professor Nomalanga Mkhize, who entered into a conversation on “The Mandela name and the ideas of early African intellectuals”. This conversation used the archive as a starting point to ask important questions about whose knowledge we see as legitimate, what are considered legitimate artefacts of knowledge, how ‘history’ should always remain contested and pluriversal; and how African languages can be centered as ‘sources of knowledge’. The question of ownership and authorship cannot be ignored, and Professor Maseko made the point that we should critique our access to archives.  
The question of the African university naturally emerged from these conversations. Professor Mkhize, the director at the School of Governmental and Social Sciences, posed hard questions related to what a post-apartheid curriculum looks like; and what it means for a university to be named after the iconic statesman, Nelson Mandela. Professor Mkhize urged the participants to read this figure in his fullness by pointing to the fact that he was named by different machineries throughout history (citing the Social Consciousness and Sustainable Futures course where first years are able to reflect on this fact). 
Professor Uchenna Okeja, from the Centre for Philosophy in Africa, spoke on “Imagining African Futures” and took up the baton by asking ‘what has African scholarship done for Africa lately?’ Prof Okeja’s talk stimulated deep self-introspection about how African scholarship, amongst other things, is contributing to the habitability of Africa. Prof Okeja’s talk fundamentally challenged participants’ thinking by drawing attention to “who” is the subject of our thinking when we think about African futures.
The Global Southern Forum is a roaming interdisciplinary gathering that seeks to decentre hegemonic epistemologies and decolonize the Western canon.  The Forum brings together scholars across various disciplines, geographic and geopolitical spaces in an attempt to illustrate the pluriversality of knowledges and ‘ways of being’. The forum is consistent with the Faculty of Humanities’ views on the need to speak and research across disciplinary boundaries in order to excavate new knowledge and innovative ways of thinking about the academy and humanity at large. Interdisciplinarity is crucial for a revitalised Humanities.