05 April 2022 | Story Cornelius Hagenmeier
One africa

One Africa – Together Forever

Theme: Celebrating African education as a conduit for African unity

On 25 May 2022, Africa will celebrate the 59th anniversary of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU). Since the establishment of the OAU and with the subsequent formation of the African Union (AU), member States undertook to coordinate and intensify their cooperation and efforts to achieve a better life for the people of Africa. They did so in awareness of the fact that – as the Cultural Charter for Africa states – "any people has the inalienable right to organize its cultural life in full harmony with its political, economic, social, philosophical and spiritual ideas".

The African (Banjul) Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, Article 17, recognises that every individual shall have the right to education, and associates the intended realisation of this right with enabling individuals to participate freely in the cultural life of their communities. Furthermore, Article 17 of the Charter on Human and People's Rights also links the quest for education for all with the promotion and protection of moral and traditional values as recognised by African communities and families.

Unsurprisingly, the AU – which is the successor to the OAU – is undertaking extensive work in education. Its initiatives include establishing the Pan African University and harmonising African higher education. In continuance of the UFS' long tradition of commemorating Africa Day and the ideas underpinning it, the UFS will once again celebrate Africa in 2022. The highlight of the celebrations will be the Africa Day memorial lecture, hosted by the university's Centre for Gender and Africa Studies on Wednesday 25 May 2022. The speaker is Prof Bagele Chilisa from the University of Botswana, a renowned post-colonial scholar, researcher, author, educator, and African thought leader. The title of her presentation is Research and Knowledge Production: Africa and the Call for a Fifth Research Paradigm. In this lecture, Prof Chilisa will make a clarion call for bringing in indigenous knowledges of the formerly colonised peoples of Africa and other knowledges from marginalised peoples of the world, to be recognised as knowledge systems fitting a unique paradigm on equal footing with Western paradigms, and not to be used as vignettes to decorate websites of global corporations.

Call for contributions

The 2022 UFS Africa Month commemorations will again take a hybrid format. Besides the Africa Day memorial lecture and various face-to-face functions on all three campuses, there will also be online content on a dedicated website. We are looking for contributions that engage with African education. Among others, UFS community members are invited to make contributions centred on

  • the potential of African educational systems to contribute towards the quest for African unity;
  • the different African educational systems;
  • indigenous knowledge and education in Africa;
  • initiatives and programmes advancing a harmonised African higher education system;
  • the importance of African education;
  • the national, regional, and global impact of African scholarship;
  • UFS collaborations/partnerships on the African continent; and
  • ·narratives of research and student excellence associated with African unity.

Contributions from the UFS community can include and are not limited to

  • recorded performing arts performances (e.g., solo music or poetry);
  • ·virtual visual art presentations;
  • written poetry;
  • songs;
  • short thought/opinion pieces, which can also be published in mainstream media;
  • topical academic writings;
  • face-to-face events; and
  • live-streamed events (with links to the Africa Month webpage).

Please share a brief written proposal explaining your planned contribution by 15 April 2022. The proposal should not exceed 300 words and should be emailed to Bulelwa Moikwatlhai at malob@ufs.ac.za / Africadaycommemoration@ufsacza.onmicrosoft.com.

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