In celebration of Africa Day, the Durban University of Technology’s (DUT’s) International Education and Partnerships Department held an Africa Day celebration yesterday, 24 May 2018 at the Art Gallery, Steve Biko Campus. DUT has dedicated the month of May 2018 as the Africa Month, which is celebrated under the theme: “The Year of Nelson Mandela: Building a Better Africa and a Better World”.
In attendance at the event were Dr Kudakwashe Shoniwa, Mr Eric Apelgren, Mr Jabulani Simelane, Mr Tiema Muindi, Rev Byelongo Elisee Isheloke, Lebo Ramakatsa, Ms Lucille Webster and Philiswa Mncube.
Speaking at the event, on behalf of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (DVC): Research, Innovation and Engagement, Prof Sibusiso Moyo, Vaneshree Govender from the Research Directorate, presented the opening speech at the event.
Govender said Africa Day honours the establishment of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) annually on 25 May 1963 which is now recognised by the African Union (AU). She added that Africa Day aims to celebrate African unity and that each year Africa Day provides the opportunity to acknowledge the achievements of the people of Africa.
“For a number of Africans on the continent and part of the diasporia, Africa Day is a day when many different cultures of people from all African backgrounds, come together to celebrate the diversity of Africa and to celebrate the organisation of the AU in its objectives to decolonise the African state,” she said.
Another key speaker, at the event, Mr Jabulani Simelane addressed people on the value of Indigenous languages and the preservation and promotion of the African languages.
“We preserve language in many forms. One will say during our grandparents times, there were no preservation of languages, my answer to that is no because our grandmothers and grandfathers were telling stories. They were singing and that’s how they were passing information to the next generation. They were the “bbt” (born before technology) generation. Now we are living in the world of technology, that’s why we are able to document things. I am inviting the Institution of Higher Learning to join us in building our languages, in making sure our languages become the languages of teaching and learning, even into a level of a Higher Institution of Learning,” he said.
The event ended off on a high note with the Intercultural studies students delivering amazing African renditions of cultural songs as well as dance.
DUT will continue celebrating Africa Month with a parade that begins at ML Sultan campus today (25 May 2018) and conclude at the Fred Crookes Sports Centre, Steve Biko Campus. Also, there will be an exhibition set up depicting a small African Village of countries such as South Africa, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Senegal and Ethiopia. Men and women will be showcasing the cultural African food, décor and artists from these countries.