INSPIRATIONAL DIALOGUE ON AFRICA
By Given Jama
University of Zululand’s vice-chancellor challenged the panelists of the Sowetan dialogue held in Stamford Hill Bowling Club to avail themselves to teach students about Africa on Thursday evening.
Professor Fikile Mazibuko said that there is an information gap in the knowledge of students about the role played by other countries in the liberation of South Africa.
“ We wonder why students have became so materialistic. The problem is with the type of information available to them in the books found in libraries. The youth does not know anything about Africa’s history,” said Mazibuko.
“ I urge you to come and share this important information with our students in universities when invited,” she added.
Brian Mpono who described himself as a proud ambassador of Play Your Part took up the challenge. “To you Professor Mazibuko, I would like to say, anytime. The mandate I have I believe is the Kingdom mandate and I am willing to share with others in it,” said Mpono.
Mpono who is a managing member of Khwezi Oils was one of the panelists. He is also one of the 60 SAB Kickstarters class of 2013. He is also a finalist in the Maverick Awards representing KwaZulu-Natal in the young entrepreneurs category. His company is a bio-fuel refinery and distributor that is positioned to pioneer the future of alternative energy fuels.
Mpono said that there are many homes in far-flung areas that will not be on Eskom’s grid for the next 10 years. He said he intends to take energy to those homes. “ Africa is relying on us to change the continent. It is up to you to join me or not in playing your part,” said Mpono.
Another panelist Dr Musa Mdluli, who is a struggle veteran who stayed in six countries outside South Africa appreciated the role played by other countries in South Africa’s liberation. “ I left the country when I was 16 with a friend to pursue the struggle from exile. I studied in Tanzania but later went to the Soviet Union where I qualified as a doctor,” said Mdluli.
He added that, “ South Africans should stop being xenophobic to our fellow Africans as that is manipulated by the international media to portray a continent of people who are not united.”
“ Now that Africa has political freedom, we now need economic ties,” he said.
Stanley Rwandarugali who was born in Rwanda said that he did not plan to come to South Africa. “ Even though Rwanda is far from South Africa we were taught about apartheid in primary school. We were made to recite a sentence that bemoaned apartheid.”
Rwandarugali said that he believes South Africans from all walks of life seem to be returning the same kindness to foreign nationals.
Mzwakhe Ndlela, author of For The Fallen : Honouring Unsung Heroes and Heroines of the Liberation Struggle said that other African countries suffered both physical and emotional scars in their sacrifices to liberate South Africa.
KZN Department of Health Ombudsman Mboneni Bhekiswayo who was a guest, said that the now late former president Nelson Mandela did “criss-cross Africa to express gratitude to countries that supported South Africa during the struggle.”
He said, “The following governments are continuing where he left off through peace-missions, dialogues and forums.”
He added that might not be clear because it is only done by the government. People on the grassroots should also be involved.
Alex Mthiyane who facilitated the programme said that after the dialogue, there was unison with the thoughts and role that everyone can play.
Sowetan Dialogues Convener Nompumelelo Runji said the problem in all dialogues was the absence of the youth. She urged those who were present to pass what they have learnt on the day.