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20 April 2021 | Story Cornelius Hagenmeier

On 25 May 2021, Africa will celebrate the 58th anniversary of the founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU). A central tenet of the organisation, which was the predecessor of the African Union (AU), is African solidarity. This call celebrates the idea and the ideal of African solidarity. As we are preparing for Africa Month 2021, we received the shocking news about the damage to the University of Cape Town’s African Studies collection. The need for African solidarity to mitigate this immense loss has inspired the theme of the 2021 UFS virtual Africa Month celebration, ‘solidarity in knowledge production and recording’.

From the establishment of the OAU and with the later formation of the AU, member states undertook to coordinate and intensify their cooperation and efforts to achieve a better life for the people of Africa.

Africa Day Memorial Lecture

The UFS has a long tradition of commemorating Africa Day and the ideas underpinning it. Every year, diverse events aimed at advancing African unity and solidarity take place during Africa Month –traditionally, the highlight is the Africa Day Memorial Lecture hosted by the University's Centre for Gender and Africa Studies. On 19 May 2021 at 19:00 (SAST), Prof Walter D Mignolo, a guru of decoloniality, will virtually deliver this year’s lecture titled The beauty of the sovereign people: Jean Casimir and the Decolonial History of Haiti, to honour the memory of transatlantic slavery by reflecting on former ambassador, Prof Jean Casimir, who has shifted the geography of reasoning by breaking the code of the standard history of the slave trade, the African diaspora in the Caribbean, and of captive human beings in the plantations. The discussant will be CGAS Extraordinary Professor and Professor of Epistemologies of the Global South at the University of Bayreuth, Prof Sabelo J Ndlovu-Gatsheni.  

As COVID-19 continues to ravage the world, Africans have been fighting against the pandemic in various ways and have achieved considerable success in this regard. Given the economic and social challenges associated with the pandemic, fostering African solidarity and further developing the underpinning philosophy of ubuntu appear to be particularly worthwhile projects.

A virtual celebration of Africa Month

The UFS 2021 Africa Month commemorations will again take a virtual format. It will include a focus on UFS engagement on the continent, partnerships with other African institutions, research excellence, and student success stories.  The UFS invites all members of its community to contribute thought-provoking pieces to this virtual celebration of Africa Month. Selected contributions will be presented on the university's website and social media.

Among other formats, contributions may take the format of

  • recorded performing art 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; or
  • topical academic writings.

Please share a brief written proposal explaining your planned contribution by 30 April 2021. The proposal should not exceed 300 words and should be emailed to Cornelius Hagenmeier ( or Prof Colin Chasi (

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