Welcoming the guests, Vice-Chancellor Professor Thoko Mayekiso said Africa Day creates a platform for African countries to reaffirm their commitment to work in partnership with each other by nurturing an environment that is conducive to prosperity, democracy and peace.
“Africa Day in the South African context provides brothers and sisters form all over the continent an opportunity to distance themselves from xenophobia and all the evils associated with it,” she said.
“As the UMP Community, we embrace and celebrate our connectedness to the African continent in our very vision: ‘To be an African University leading in creating opportunities for sustainable development through innovation.’ We believe that Africa Day provides us with an excellent opportunity to advance our vision and in particular live our value of diversity.”
Professor Mayekiso further said that UMP has established a tradition of celebrating Africa since 2015 and have in the past years invited great scholars because the institution seeks to recognise, affirm and entrench the African identity.
“UMP as an African University seeks to recognise, affirm and entrench the African experience and context in the academic project. The vision prompts and propels us to have a keen interest in what happens on the continent and really be passionate about playing our role properly, to ensure that the continent continue to succeed.”
Guest speaker: Professor Kwesi Kwaa Prah.
The keynote address was deliver by Professor Kwesi Kwaa Prah, founder and former Director of the Centre for Advanced Studies of African Society (CASAS). Founder and former Director of the Centre for Advanced Studies of African Society (CASAS) based in Cape Town, Professor Kwesi Kwaa Prah started the lecture by acknowledging the history of Africa Day and the autonomous history of the African people.
“We were given a new identity. A new identity was created for us. Our history was interrupted. The language we use now is the result of 75 years of interrupted history. Young ones must be careful because you are inheriting this condition. Your task it take all of this and recreate the trajectory which was it rudely interrupted by external interest,” said Professor Kwesi Kwaa Prah.
The UMP Choir provided entertainment on the day.
“Young ones, you must be socially aware of the significance of this day. See how you can take history to reshape your future. You need to be aware that it is not the colour that defines us. It is the culture. If we allow our culture to be destroyed, we become other people. We become people who follow other cultures and try to speak their language,” he said.
"What has been done to us has made our children act and look more Western out of desperation. This is the danger we face as Africans. The Afrikaners are still writing their dictionary. We need to have the same rights as everybody. Let us make our rights real. We want to study in our language. So we can't blame them.
Don't use colour. Think about African as a culture. Learn to say African child. Black child can be American. Our culture is our foundation. That is where our Africaness lies. We need a memory recall. Empower the language. Then our connection and pride comes back,” he said.
The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Thoko Mayekiso and the Dean of Students, Dr Paul Maminza.
Wrapping up the lecture was the Dean of Students, Dr Paul Maminza, thanking the attendees who were at the venue and some on Zoom with warm words. He also expressed his gratitude towards the UMP community, staff and students, the Vice-Chancellor Professor Mayekiso and Professsor Kwaa Prah for a thought provoking lecture, which has raised issues that the university will continue to ponder as they go about with their day-to-day duties.
The Africa Day lecture follows a series of events hosted by the University of Mpumalanga to build up to and celebrate the day. Siyabuswa Campus held a poetry and music event. There was also a debate event. The Student Affairs Division held an Africa Day Webinar where students demonstrated their Africaness.
@ Story by Lisa Thabethe. Pictures @ChrisplPhoto. To view the event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iU4YIgTzxX