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The International Education and Partnerships Directorate at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) in partnership with the DUT Library hosted the spectacular Africa Day 2022 celebrations, at the Curries Fountain Sports Ground on 27 May 2022.

The festive day celebrations allowed for Durban community organisations the opportunity to celebrate amongst the DUT staff and students. They also got the opportunity to engage in conversations pertaining to food security and nutrition in Africa; raising topics that will create perception in order to allow good practice on policies and programmes promoting the African continent.

Africa Day (formerly African Freedom Day and African Liberation Day) is the annual commemoration of the foundation of the Organisation of African Unity on 25 May 1963. The day is celebrated with great ‘pomp and fair’ in numerous countries on the African continent, and around the world.

This year’s theme by the African Union (AU) is “Strengthening Resilience in Nutrition and Food Security on the African Continent: Strengthening Agro-Food Systems, Health and Social Protection Systems for the Acceleration of Human, Social and Economic Capital Development.”

Romeo MatumbaDUT’s Librarian for Marketing and Communication was the master of ceremonies entertaining the cultural gathering of inter-cultural students and staff at the Africa Day celebration. DUT’s Philiswa Mncube, International Students Relations Officer (IEP) who was instrumental in organising the successful event.

Forming part of the day celebration included delicious, traditional African cuisines from different countries for participants to taste, courtesy of DUT’s Hotel School and International students from DUT. Stalls were also on display with exquisite, hand-made, beaded jewellery and books.  Poetry renditions, music and dance were also the order of the day.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Innovation and Engagement, Professor Sibusiso Moyo welcomed all participants to the Africa Day celebration, saying that the Durban University of Technology (DUT)

“As a University we are really thankful as DUT has been working very hard over the past few years to place itself not just as a significant player within the province but also as a significant player within the African region,” she said.

She relayed that as part of DUT’s Africanisation strategy, one of the things that DUT really tries to push is to advance partnerships not just globally, but within the African continent.

The keynote speaker at the event, explaining about food security was Ms Lisebo Mothepu, Lecturer, Food and Nutrition: Consumer Sciences.

“I’m interested in food security in Africa and so my PhD study is on developing, implanting and validating a tool kit that will address food and nutrition security in Lesotho. Hopefully, if it does work, it will be able to address other countries as well,” she said.

She further explained the meaning of food security, addressing the problems and looking at coming up with solutions in food and nutrition security.

“There are a few elements that actually frustrate us as Africans because we know we have to plant in order to get access to food. We know we have to farm in order to get access to food. With natural induced disasters and with climate change and political instability we find that we do not have access to food.  I will go back to a few months ago, we were trying so hard to do the sustainable development goals and say in 2030 we will reach zero hunger and everybody will have access to food and they will have a balanced meal in three meals a day.  Then we were faced with the pandemic and we were close to tears because the food system was disturbed, the minute it was disturbed there was lockdown, the minute there was a lockdown, jobs were lost and everybody panicked because they did not have money to buy food,” she said.

She emphasized that as developing countries everyone is forced to fill the pinch more than the other countries, she also spoke on political instability in Africa where man is hungry for power.

She indicated that she is a problem solver and as one she is going to dedicate her life to actually addressing food and nutrition security.

Further on into the programme, a competition on the African Traditional Attire (Best Dressed) Competition for males and females was held and it was complimented by two other speakers, DUT’s Dr Dr Julius Aroba and Executive Director of the Africa solidarity network (ASONET), Daniel Byamungu Dunia.

The day concluded with beautiful, musical renditions from Chiko.

Pictured: Keynote speaker, DUT’s Lisebo Mothepu, at the event.

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