ZAM Reporter

Achille Mbembe is the 2024 Holberg Prize laureate

The Cameroonian-born academic’s oeuvre “goes beyond a particularised notion of decolonisation to a universalist recentring of the human,” says Heike Krieger, the chairman of the Holberg committee.

Achille Mbembe is one of the most read and cited scholars from the African continent and has received the Holberg Prize for his pioneering research in African history, postcolonial studies, humanities, and social science over the last four decades. Both as an academic and as a public intellectual, he is known for his ability to bridge existing thinking on colonialism and decolonisation with pressing questions on topics such as contemporary migration regimes, global citizenship, restitution and reparation, technology, climate change, and planetary futures.

The Holberg Prize is a major international prize that goes annually to “an outstanding researcher in the humanities, social sciences, law or theology,” according to the prize’s secretariat. The prize, in monetary terms valued at about US$ 575,000 is administered by the University of Bergen, on behalf of the Norwegian government.

Mbembe is attached to the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WISER). He will receive the award on 6 June 2024 at the University of Bergen. Read more about the prize here.

In 2019, ZAM published Mbembe’s essay “The Idea of a Borderless World.” His article “Europe is living under the illusion that you can have a community without strangers” is part of African Tabloid:, A photographic essay into the African diaspora by Pieter van der Houwen, published by ZAM. Order here.