Guests that formed part of the panel
On 19 May, the Social Justice and Transformation Department hosted a Youth Dialogue as part of the Africa Month celebrations at the VUT’s Desmond Tutu Great Hall.
The hall was filled to capacity as students gathered to reflect and share perspectives on the issue of “Decolonisation and globalisation of education”.
This dialogue was part of the build-up events planned by the university towards Africa Day on 25 May, a day that serves as a symbol of unity amongst all Africans. VUT has students from more than 20 African countries represented at the institution.
The incoming Vice-Chancellor and Principal: Professor Gordon Zide, in his welcoming address, said apartheid was the worst system of any kind and that the issues raised under the theme cannot be taken in isolation.
“With the myth that civilisation came from Europe. It (apartheid) came and not only oppressed the African child but their minds as well. As intelligentsia, the sons and daughters of the African soil, we must bear in mind that our forebears bore fires of the nation. It is time for the youth to take the baton from the leaders who are ageing. The road to freedom has many side stations, some good and some bad. As you are taking the baton on decolonising the mind, it is important to know where we are coming from as a nation and unite,” he said.
Ms Rebone Sankara Tau, an activist in this generation, who delivered the key note address, said: “A lasting solution needs to be found going forward for these issues as the call for transformed education started a long time ago with the likes of Steve Biko. It did not begin in 2015 with fees must fall and the matter concerns all of us,” she said.
“The education system is a trap to shift focus from decolonisation; it takes our focus from what belongs to us in Africa. We are caught between rebelling and imitating the western countries. If we are serious we must reject the system. Let’s go back and reclaim our identities. Till then let us mourn for Africa and prepare to take back our identities,’’ said InterimStudent Representative Council member Lebogang Modapi.
Clement Maredi, from the Pan Africanist Student Movement of Azania, said: “Let’s understand where we come from and engage and define the type of education that we need as Africans. We need to be taught how to run the economy. Education must be able to be used as a tool in Africa to service the nations.”
The event was closed off with African cultural dance, music and a showcasing of traditional outfits.