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UKZN celebrates Africa Day

When Africans get together on Africa Day, it is an opportunity to celebrate who they are as custodians of unity, community and respect.

With this in mind, Normah Zondo, the University of KwaZulu-Natal's (UKZN's) relations director, kicked off the celebrations, held on the Howard campus. She did so by welcoming representatives from the governments of Lesotho, China and Mauritius, as well as international students and staff, the South African way.

The theme of the event was Leaving No One Behind. A number of activities were on offer, including interactive games and competitions, while Ikusasa Lethu, a traditional music and dance group comprising UKZN students, performed for the crowd.

Among the invited guests was Sibusiso Nzimande, chief director of cultural affairs at KwaZulu-Natal's department of arts and culture. He urged Africans to "know who you are, so you can do better".

"Africans have been brainwashed into believing that Europeans and Americans are better, but we need to free the African mind through decolonisation," said Nzimande.

Feruzi Ngwambar, UKZN's academic development officer, spoke about the history of Africa before colonisation and how Africans had always defined themselves "in the plural". He highlighted African ideas and philosophies such as ubuntu and how these have always been inclusive.

"We need to ask ourselves questions as Africans in order to solve the many challenges we are faced with in areas such as health, corruption, the crisis of identification, borders and migration, ensuring that no one is left behind in the process," said Ngwambar.

Ashton Bodrick, UKZN's executive director: corporate relations, thanked everyone who made the event a success, adding: "Now go out there with the spirit of one Africa!"

Words: Hlengiwe Precious Khwela