Closing Africa Month in style

Closing Africa Month in style

Professor Pitika ka Ntuli a Legend, Scholar and Poet

Puleng Maphisa

The year 2018 is the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth and is celebrated around the country under the theme: ‘Building a Better Africa and a Better World’.

In this spirit, the Vaal University of Technology (VUT) closed its Africa Month activities by hosting the Department of Arts and Culture VUT Africa Month Social Cohesion Dialogue.

The Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Gordon Zide, welcomed guests with an account of the historical journey of Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first black president. Prof Zide remarked that the black consciousness philosophy is more relevant now than ever before, he called on the audience to “embrace our African roots and what it means to be an African.”

Among the invited speakers was Professor Pitika ka Ntuli, who has a very keen interest in the arts.  He was exiled in 1978 after spending a year in solitary confinement. He studied in New York, where he received his Master’s in Fine Art and in London where he attained his Master’s in Comparative Industrial Relations.

Prof ka Ntuli introduced himself by reciting poetry   delivered in various African languages and pronounced himself as not an African but an Africanist. Posing a rhetorical question, he asked the audience, why should you and I quarrel? He said that today’s generation has forgotten about its roots while adopting a modern style. He further said that while he had left the country for 33 years, he had not forgotten his African languages. He bemoaned the fact that the arts and culture continues to receive less prominence in various strategic documents such as the AU Agenda 2013 where “there is nothing on Arts and Culture which gives us an African identity, whilst reference to arts and culture is contained only in one page in South Africa’s National Development Plan 2030”.

Keynote speaker, Ms Yaa Ashantewaa Archer- Ngidi motivated students with politics. She said: “Politics is a game and you can’t afford, as young people, to be so deep in it; all you need is to be a thinker and a questioner, so that when you get out of this institution you will be able to implement all you have learnt”. She called upon the audience to “learn your continent, travel these borders, read African philosophies and to be fearless about being unified as Africans.”   Archer-Ngidi stated that “the fact that somene stole your history does not mean you did not write the story- know your story- decide your agency.”

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