African and African Disapora Studies Department
African and African Disapora Studies Department

Nneka Guidelines for AFR Majors

Nneka Waturuocha
In Spring 2015, the UT-Austin community lost a brilliant global scholar, Ms. Nneka Waturuocha. Nneka was a 21-year old senior who was planning to graduate May 2015 with a double major in African and African Diaspora Studies and International Relations and Global Studies. She studied in Nicaragua in Summer 2014 and worked towards writing an honors thesis about the concept of diaspora as a geopolitical strategy of African supranational entities such as the African Union.  Nneka was actively involved in her campus community and after graduation planned on going to graduate school in either law or public policy.In her memory, the College of Liberal Arts ceremony observed a moment of silence in her honor during the Spring 2015 graduation ceremony. The AADS department named the student space on the second floor of the newly renamed Gordon White Building (formerly the Black and Latino Studies building) after Nneka. It's the department's hope that students will use that space to study, meet, and explore in the spirit of Nneka's exemplary scholarship.

In addition, the Spring 2015 'AFR 376: Senior Seminar' class that Nneka was enrolled in put together a set of “Nneka Guidelines” meant to outline what qualities an AFR major should have in the model of Nneka herself.  These guidelines are shared with all incoming AFR majors but are not only valuable to majors: any student can employ these guidelines in their study of Africa and the African diaspora. 
They are as follows:

1. One must strive to understand the intersectionality of oppressions forced against marginalized groups, with a focus on blackness, not only in America but across the globe.
2. One must make efforts to shed one's prejudices and respect those who may not think, act, or behave in ways identical or similar to one's self.
3. Beyond the academy, it is necessary to acknowledge, respect, and reach out to those of our community that may not fit within the spaces we currently occupy, nor within the frames of respectability by which we are forced to live in accordance.
4. Blackness is multifaceted. Tolerance and understanding therefore need extend beyond race and culture into spheres of sexuality, spirituality, ideology, and otherwise.
5. Love, respect, and reach out to those of your experience. This journey cannot and should not be suffered alone.

Please come by the Nneka Waturuocha Student Lounge in the Gordon-White Building (GWB 2.116) to learn more about Nneka and her contribution to the African and African Diaspora Studies Department.