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Africa Day memorial lecture in Qwaqwa

By Emily Setona

QWAQWA – The University of the Free State’s (UFS) Qwaqwa campus held its first Africa Day memorial lecture on May 22, a historic event that saw Professor Ismail Rashid share a lecture about peace building to students, lecturers and members of the Basotho royal families gathered there.

This thought-provoking presentation by Professor Rashid who is a lecturer in history and international relations at Vassar College in Pougkeepsie, New York in the United States of America had the audience captivated and deeply enthralled.
According to Rashid it is difficult to define peace building because many of the foundations of this concept are based on western philosophies, which are Eurocentric and based on old ideas.

“We go forward as Africans in this quest for peace building by looking in some ways at the present and in some ways by looking to the past. We look at the present by observing the way in which Africans continue be part of making norms or defending norms in the international arena.

“Right now, I’d like to place a spotlight at South Africa’s decision of taking Israel to the international court of justice. This is important and there is a part of me that is hugely disappointed in the sense that that until recently when Egypt said it would support South Africa, not a single other African country had joined in South Africa’s efforts.

“Given what I have said on Africa’s contribution to norm setting and norm making to changing international institutions is that South Africa should not be alone in that particular action. We cannot have a situation in the world where any single person or one group of people have more rights than another group of people,” Rashid pointed out.

In an interview with this publication, Morena Kgomotsoana Lebenya of the Bakoena at Matatiele said: “This memorial lecture was very inspiring and encouraged us as African leaders to foster peace building and unity because I believe that many of these conflicts are caused by external forces that stem from long time ago primarily because of the wealth that the African continent has. This lecture reminds us that we must work together to end the conflicts and have peace in our land.”

Thabo Mofutsanyana District Municipality MM Takatso Lebenya and Morena Kgomotsoana Lebenya from Matatiele in the Eastern Cape.

In closing, the principal of UFS Qwaqwa campus Professor Prince Ngobeni said that the university reaches far and wide and thanked the royal households that were present and representatives from local government for being present.
“I’d like to thank the Centre for Gender and African Studies (CGAS) for arranging this memorial lecture which was a very historic and momentous occasion for this campus,” Professor Ngobeni said to the audience.

Among the guests present was the Thabo Mofutsanyana District Municipality’s (TMDM) Municipal Manager (MM) Takatso Lebenya.
Africa day is celebrated in various countries on the African continent as well as around the world and is an annual commemoration of the foundation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) on May 25.

The organisation was replaced by the African Union on July 9, 2002, but the holiday continues to be celebrated on May 25.