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  The 25th May 2019 is Africa Day. The Organisation of African Unity was established on this day by the leaders of the continent in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. 

As part of our celebration of Africa Month, our fifth issue has a dual focus on the knowledge we need to develop the continent as well as a focus on Africa Day.

  A civilization cannot surface without being embedded in its own independent study of itself. Knowledge is central to the advancement of development in today’s world.  Africa cannot and will not afford to pursue development that is not knowledge based and evidence led.  The research and intellectual community need to be fortified, inspired, enabled and incentivised to centre the continent in their work.  The value of research is that it strengthens the capacity of institutions to take informed, quality, and intelligent decisions.

The essence of independence entails the political will to give space to the African academy, intellectuals and knowledge workers to study the continent and proffer solutions that they, in their view, think will be able to help the continent realise its development aspirations as summarised in Agenda 2063.  They need to do this work unencumbered. There must be no undue interference and intimidation by those who have no respect for intellectual thoroughness and scrutiny, independent thought and the necessity for knowledge - based decision making. If this is not obtained, we are likely to perpetuate the adoption of knowledge from outside the continent that most often is not predicated on the continent’s development paradigm and its own unique environment. The perpetuation of the weakness of misdiagnosing the problems confronting the continent and the subsequent prescription of unviable solutions requires urgent disruption.  

At all times, effort and resources must be invested in our own knowledge curiosity, the appetite to know more, reinterpret the existing reality and the excavation of missing narratives that have the great potential of writing ourselves into existence.

We need to build strong and capable institutions that will carry out this immediate and strategic task. When we take care of them and their talent with our own resources, they will produce researched evidence that is immune from neo-colonial influences.

Investment in knowledge is power. Research should inform decision-making, and help with long-term imaginative keystones. Africa must identify, understand, and grasp its own complexities in order to be able to put African solutions on her table. Nobody else will liberate the continent other than her own peoples. The creativity, novelty and innovations designed towards solving the complex developmental challenges of the continent will only be an upshot of investment in building African knowledge institutions and her knowledge workers. Anything to the contrary is likely to entrench the status quo and thus placing the continent unfathomable in the lower rung of development when compared with sister continents.

 

As we celebrate Africa Day, let us all rededicate ourselves to the tasks of rebuilding the continent. These tasks are summarised in the African Union Anthem which we must all sing, imbibe and eternalise as well as act to advance. As the Anthem leads us:

Let us all unite and celebrate together

The victories won for our liberation

Let us dedicate ourselves to rise together

To defend our liberty and unity

O Sons and Daughters of Africa

Flesh of the Sun and Flesh of the Sky

Let us make Africa the Tree of Life

 

Let us all unite and sing together

To uphold the bonds that frame our destiny

Let us dedicate ourselves to fight together

For lasting peace and justice on earth

 

O Sons and Daughters of Africa

Flesh of the Sun and Flesh of the Sky

Let us make Africa the Tree of Life

 

Let us all unite and toil together

To give the best we have to Africa

The cradle of mankind and fount of culture

Our pride and hope at break of dawn

O Sons and Daughters of Africa

 Flesh of the Sun and Flesh of the Sky

 Let us make Africa the Tree of Life

 

Happy Africa Day!

Hasta la victoria siempre!

 
Posted on 27 May 2019 15:18:54


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This platform serves as a reflective, discursive and connecting space between myself and the entire student community of our beloved university. Through this platform, we converse with our students and broader stakeholders on all matters of student life, wellbeing and development at Mandela University.

Dr Bernard Sebake, Acting Dean of Students