Fort Hare celebrates Africa Month, the African Way

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Clad in beautiful traditional attires, University of Fort Hare (UFH) students, staff and guests that included a member from the Kenyan Embassy and fellows from Kent State University in Ohio, filled the Alice Sports Complex to its rafters to experience and celebrate Africa.  

The Africa Day celebration event held yesterday, 25 May, was hosted by the Office of International Affairs and Partnership in conjunction with Student Affairs. The occasion saw Forterians come together to embrace the diversity of this beautiful continent through song, dance, poetry, and drama performances.

The keynote address was delivered by Bishop Joshua Maponga, author, motivational speaker, and philosopher.

The programme was directed by creative musician, Mr Vee Sholo.

Africa Day is a commemorative event to acknowledge the creation of the organisation of African Unity (OAU), the precursor of the African Union (AU) on May 25 in 1963. The day intends to celebrate the AU’s successes in the fight against colonialism and apartheid while celebrating the progress that Africa has made and reflect on continental challenges.

This year the African Union selected the theme: Accelerating the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area to bring greater prosperity to the continent.

In welcoming the participants, Director of International Affairs and Partnership, Dr Hlulani Mabasa underscored that, for a University that played an integral role in the liberation and education of many African minds, it was fitting to host an Africa Day celebration event.

“When we talk about Africa’s journey to liberation and its independence, as UFH we are proud to be at the centre of that journey. When this University opened its doors in 1916 it was to empower Africans through education, many of those who, after graduating from this institution became great leaders in various countries on this continent.”

Mr Lufuno Tshikudo, the Dean of Students, said the day will be remembered as one of the events that embodied one of the University’s Decade of Renewal strategic goals which is to improve the quality of student life and enhance student experience.

Student Representative Council President, Ms Siphokazi Mbalo highlighted the significance of the day and why it should be celebrated. “We ought to celebrate the diversity of this beautiful continent and embrace it. It is also significant to reflect on how far we have come to address challenges of the past and the present.”  She implored the audience to use the day to learn at least one African language.

The programme included traditional dance performances by a renowned African traditional dance group, renditions from the UFH Choir, a play from a drama group, reciting of poems, and ended with an exhibition of artworks and an African food tasting.