10 May 2023 | Story Valentino Ndaba | Photo Supplied
Africa Month
May is Africa Month: A time to celebrate the wealth of wisdom from the continent

On 25 May 2023, Africa will commemorate the foundation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), which is now known as the African Union (AU). The University of the Free State (UFS) will celebrate this 60th anniversary by hosting a variety of commemorations, continuing the institution's long tradition of honouring the day and the principles that drive it. 

It is customary in African countries to commemorate the OAU's founding in May, which is also known as Africa Month. With the creation of the OAU in 1963, the African continent set a new standard. It was the first continent to prioritise continental unity and advocate nation building through solidarity and freedom from oppression.

The exchanges during Africa Month are in line with the university's goal of ensuring that our expertise aids in the growth of the Free State, South Africa, and the African continent. Vision 130, an expansion of the strategic purpose to reposition the institution for 2034 when the university will celebrate its 130th anniversary, captures this goal.

Celebrating a diverse community 

The celebrations are intended to bring attention to African indigenous knowledge and its importance for higher education, both within and outside of South Africa. Under the theme of ‘Promoting and Appreciating Knowledge in and from Africa,’ the interpretation and transmission of African indigenous knowledge will be appreciated through thought leadership, music, and dance. 

Among the celebratory events for Africa Month are:

Africa Month book launch 

Date: 22 May 2023
Time: 16:00

Venue: Sasol Library Level 2, Bloemfontein Campus

The UFS Library and the Centre for Gender and Africa Studies will facilitate the launch of the book titled Decolonizing the Mind: A guide to decolonial theory and practice by Sandew Hira. 

Hira is the Secretary of the Decolonial International Network. His book makes an effort to provide a thorough, cohesive, and integrative theoretical framework that incorporates many contributions from the decolonial movement's resurgent and insurgent movements. Hire plans to use the book launch as a platform to issue a call for a new global civilisation built on the decolonisation of the mind. 

Federation of African Law Students dialogue

Date: 24 May 2023
Time: 13:00-15:00

Venue: Sasol Library, Bloemfontein Campus

The Federation of African Law Students UFS Chapter will host a panel discussion based on the Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill. The student association stands against this bill and firmly believe that it is unprogressive for society and unfairly discriminates against the LGBTQ+ community. Speakers will share their bill views and opinions on homophobia, and attendees will be given the opportunity to engage with our panellists. The objectives of this event are to promote good governance, respect for human rights, peace, and justice in Africa. It is also an opportunity to show solidarity with our LGBTQ+ community across the continent who may be affected by the Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

Africa Day Memorial Lecture 

Date: 24 May 2023
Time: 17:30 for 18:00
Venue: Centenary Complex, Bloemfontein Campus

The highlight of the celebrations will be the Africa Day Memorial Lecture, hosted by the university's Centre for Gender and Africa Studies. The speaker is Prof Motlatsi Thabane, formerly of the National University of Lesotho. 

The title of his presentation is Friendship in the Search for Justice in Mohokare Valley in the Nineteenth Century. The departure point of Prof Thabane’s lecture is the early 19th century. He demonstrates that a community of white settlers fleeing British rule in the Cape Colony was added to African communities living in the Mohokare Valley at the beginning of the 1830s. As a result, complex relations developed between African and white settler communities in the Mohokare valley. 

'Honouring Africa Day’ Child and Youth Care Centre Outreach 

Date: 25 May 2023
Time: 08:00-15:00
Venue: Heidedal Child and Youth Care Centre

On 25 May 2023, the Faculty of Theology and Religion will pay a visit to the Heidedal Child and Youth Care Centre in honour of Africa Day. RSVPs for the outreach can be sent to theologyevents@ufs.ac.za

Panel discussion and Cultural exhibition (Part 1)

Date: 25 May 2023
Time: 14:00-15:00

Venue: Faculty of Law Staff Room, Bloemfontein Campus

Panel discussion and Cultural exhibition (Part 2)

Date: 25 May 2023
Time: 16:00-18:00
Venue: Equitas Foyer, Bloemfontein Campus

The Faculty of Law will host a panel discussion on Advancing Justice and Human Rights in Africa: Challenges and Opportunities, followed by a cultural exhibition titled Appreciating Knowledge through Culture. 

Africa Month Dialogue 

Date: 26 May 2023
Time: 12:00-16:00
Venue: Centenary Complex, Bloemfontein Campus

The Africa Month Dialogue, facilitated by the Office for International Affairs, will carry the same theme as the Memorial Lecture, namely, ‘Promoting and appreciating knowledge in and from Africa’

We will discuss the significance and value of African indigenous knowledge, the importance of being creators and co-creators of knowledge in and from Africa, and the significance of African knowledge on the global stage, with UFS Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Francis Petersen, and international partners. 

Africa Day Cultural Celebration 

Date: 27 May 2023
Time: 10:00-15:00

Venue: Mandela Hall, Qwaqwa Campus

A cultural festival honouring Africa Month will be held by the Division of Student Affairs on the Qwaqwa Campus. This celebration will feature music, poetry, and dance from different parts of Africa. The initiative is a collaborative effort between the Arts, Culture and Dialogue Office, Student Life, Housing and Residence Affairs, as well at the Student Representative Council.

Click here for more information and events on Africa Month.

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