When Africans gather to celebrate Africa Day the blots of colonialism and apartheid remind them of a history of oppression in which the scars left behind continue to bleed.
Acting University Relations Director Dr Sally Frost opened this year’s Africa Day event on the Pietermaritzburg campus, saying UKZN was a university of choice for students all over the continent.
Among guests on the day were representatives from the Lesotho and Mozambican embassies.
Programme director, Feruzi Ngwamba said it was a day to celebrate, honour and reflect on Africa’s history, remembering that before the continent was colonised, it had been ‘populated by indigenous people divided into different kingdoms and empires under the leadership of kings and queens.
‘When celebrating Africa day, we are honouring the strength of our heroes and heroines who fought for freedom and peace,’ said Ngwamba.
Ms Nombuso Mtshali of UKZN’s International Office said it was important to honour the day at UKZN because the University was ‘critically engaged with society and demographically representative, addressing the disadvantages, inequities, and imbalances of the past.’
Mtshali said more than 2 000 students from countries in Africa (outside South Africa) were registered at UKZN this year.
It was thus ‘imperative to foster cultural diversity and internationalisation hinged on UKZN’s goal of being a centre for African-centred globalization.’
She encouraged the University community and the public at large to celebrate cultural diversity.
Words: Nokubonga Nomasiko Jele