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Roskill Lecture: ‘Prisons Without Walls: Re-Imagining the Global Community in the Time of Covid-19’ – Professor Njabulo S Ndebele

Archives, Master, Fellows and By-Fellows, Public,
The stage in the Wolfson Hall Lecture Theatre. A large pull-down screen shows the College logo, there is a lectern on one side of the stage and a table on the other side set up with microphones ready for speakers.

20 Jun 2022

  • Start: 17:30
  • End: 18:30


Professor Njabulo S Ndebele will speak on ‘Prisons Without Walls: Re-Imagining the Global Community in the Time of Covid-19’ for the nineteenth biennial Roskill Lecture at Churchill College.

Colonised countries were prisons without walls. The South African nation state dramatised graphically a reality that was a global phenomenon. In that country white settlements were designed to be served by black citizens who were forced to live within prisons without walls, otherwise known as locations. There, they were subject to harsh restrictions on their wishes and movements. Despite the historic advent of constitutional democracy in 1994 the prisons, although experienced differently today, persist in the ambiguous realities of their existence. In the same way, despite the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the end of colonial states around the world did not remove intractable, complex dependencies and unfulfilled expectations for most of the global population. The way South Africa still struggles to transform dream into reality, may bear some resonances for how the global community under pressure from the nightmare of Covid-19 seeks to re-imagine the future of the world.

Professor Njabulo Ndebele is Chancellor of the University of Johannesburg, chair of the Nelson Mandela Foundation and of the Mandela Rhodes Foundation. He is an Honorary Fellow of Churchill College. His published works include poetry and fiction.

This event will be live-streamed for the public. Nearer the event we will publish an EventBrite page for those interested to sign up to, which will circulate the link to watch live and any event updates.



This occasion is organised by our internationally acclaimed Churchill Archives Centre, which houses the papers of Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher and a host of modern politicians (of all political persuasions) diplomats and scientists.

Captain Stephen Roskill had a distinguished naval career before becoming the official historian of the war at sea during the Second World War and a Senior Research Fellow of Churchill College. He played a key role in establishing the Churchill Archives Centre. The Roskill Memorial Lecture was instituted by Churchill College as the most appropriate means of commemorating his life and work. It embraces the topics of international security, history, foreign affairs and public policy.