24 September 2020 | Story Bulelwa Moikwatlhai | Photo Supplied

The third edition of the UFS International Cultural Diversity Festival took place on 24 September 2020, organised annually by the UFS Office for International Affairs in Heritage Month. As part of the South African Heritage Day celebrations, the event honours the different heritages at the UFS. The entire day is dedicated to the expression of diverse cultural experiences from all over the world. “Even during this uncertain time, it is important to find time to celebrate our uniqueness and to appreciate one another’s heritage and culture in the spirit of our humanity”, says Bulelwa Moikwatlhai, Coordinator of the International Cultural Diversity Festival. 

Connecting cultures

This year’s theme was ‘Connecting the Cultures’. It focused on the digital ways of connecting the world while sharing different cultural experiences and celebrations, as well as embracing Heritage Day. The day consisted of a lot of virtual activities, messages being shared, a collaboration of songs that brought light and laughter during this time of a world pandemic. “Individuals from different cultures have been invited to share their favourite cultural cuisines, regalia, songs, and dances, and last words of encouragement and support during these times in their home language while providing translation,” says Prof Corli Witthuhn, Vice-Rector: Research and Internationalisation. 

The programme included artistic presentations by the UFS Arts, Culture, and Dialogue office in the Students Affairs Division, coordinated by Angelo Mockie. 

International Cultural Diversity

Director of the UFS Office for International Affairs, Cornelius Hagenmeier, explained that cultural diversity is central to the university’s internationalisation process. He emphasised that the university actively strives to increase its international diversity, which nurtures intellectual cross-fertilisation and the incubation of new ideas. Central is that everyone, irrespective of culture and origin, should feel welcome at the UFS, he says.
The virtual festival allowed students and staff to share and celebrate who they are while learning from each other. This enhances the international and intercultural competencies of the transforming UFS community.

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