The Durban University of Technology‘s International Education and Partnership Department recently hosted a Cultural Festival. This festival allowed students from different cultures to explore and educate others about their own cultural backgrounds.
Represented Countries were Congo Brazzaville, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa (Zulus), India, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland. Students from each country prepared a variety of traditional meals for tasting and showcased their dance moves.
The aim of the festival was to integrate the DUT community, enjoy different foods, to learn about different cultures and to unite international and local students in order to discourage xenophobia. South Africa is a very diverse country; this was also a chance to celebrate diversity.
Second year Financial Management student Steven Banzoulou from Congo Brazzaville said he was happy to get this opportunity not only to serve people his traditional meal but to educate everyone about his country. “We are often mistaken for the Democratic Republic of Congo but we are our own country with our own president and our own culture, we are different,” said Banzoulou.
Dr Rosethal Makhubu, Media Language and Communications Head of Department said “often times when people come to study at DUT they think they are going to meet the Zulus but DUT is an international institution with international students.” Makhubu said it gave her joy to see students engaging and learning about different cultures and “emphasized the importance of understanding and respecting other people’s cultures.”
Ukhozi FM Presenter and Cultural Activist Ngizwe Mchunu encouraged students to preserve their cultures. He said, “there is nothing that defeats a person than not knowing where they come from. A nation without culture, music and heritage is a country without a song, I am an African and I pride myself, I have been to over 50 countries in the world but I know where I come from.”
DUT Chancellor Judge Vuka Shabalala briefly encouraged students to always be proud of where they come from, that way they can never lose track of where they are going.
Representing Indian culture, Kishan Chandrabhaon, third year Dental Technology student said “Indians have different cultures and religions. I am representing the Hindu culture and I have prepared vegetarian food.” Chandrabhaon said he also wanted to share with fellow students and lecturers why being vegetarian is the best option
Pictured: Students from different cultural groups celebrating heritage day and diversity at the DUT Cultural Event.