On Wednesday, 26 May 2021, the University of Venda (UNIVEN) held Africa Day celebration under the theme ‘African Union year of art, culture and Heritage: Levers for building the Africa we want’. This Africa Day celebration took place on Microsoft teams.
The Acting Director International Relations, Dr Segun Obadire said celebrations like this keep the hope of Africans alive. He said the idea of exporting raw natural resources to non-African countries to be refined should come to an end because it creates jobs for other countries and does not assist Africans in anyway. Dr Obadire continued to highlight that these resources are later brought back and sold to Africans at a very high price.
Lindokuhle Zwane, a UNIVEN student who is also a poet, rendered a poem about Africa.
In his welcoming address, Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Dr Bernard Nthambeleni highlighted that Africans have many reasons to celebrate this day, even though ‘it is not yet uhuru’ in other African countries. Dr Nthambeleni said as Africans, we need to re-channel our energies in fostering cultural identity. He further mentioned that UNIVEN, unlike other African Universities, is located near Universities that are based in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) regions than those based in South Africa. Therefore, UNIVEN will increase its ways of doing exchange programmes with other African countries, especially with those based in the SADC region of our continent.
Message of Support from SRC, Musa Mokgobi, the Minister for Housing who is doing Honours in Education said since he arrived at UNIVEN, he has learned the true meaning of unity. He continued to say the only way to conquer as Africans is through unity. “if we can unite as Africans and fight challenges as one then we will conquer at the end.” He said Africans should treat each other like brothers and sisters and not attack each other because they are brothers and sisters who need each other in this difficult time.
Mr Tshepho Raseala, who is a Masters student and a Part-Time Lecturer in the History Department at UNIVEN addressed the attendees under the theme ‘African Union year of art, culture and Heritage: Levers for building the Africa we want’. He said we cannot say we are free until all Africans are free. “Those who are free should assist those who are not yet free.” He encouraged the attendees to aspire to preserve African culture and all that belongs to Africa. “We need to know and be clear about the type of Africa we want, and we aspire to live in.” He further mentioned unity as one of the pillars of strength that could assist Africans to conquer.
When responding to a question asked by one of the attendees about commercialising Indigenous Knowledge, Mr Raseala said, Africans need to free themselves from mental slavery. When talking about the issue of African natural resources, he said, Africa is rich, it is unfortunate that the beneficiaries of African natural resources are foreigners from outside Africa.
When making an input, Senior Prof Georges-Ivo Ekosse said, we need to free ourselves from mental enslavement. He said as Africans, we sometimes downgrade ourselves and rate ourselves very low and start to see people from other countries outside Africa to be better than us. “Never hide your identity and free yourselves from mental slavery.”
In his closing remarks, Senior Prof Ekosse said Africa is not free until all Africans are free from all sorts of colonisations. “Africa is a unique continent and has a lot to offer not only to its people but to the whole world.” He advised Africans to preserve African culture and its natural resources.
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Date: 28 May 2021