Nelson Mandela Centenary Dialogues
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The University of Fort Hare alumni Gauteng chapter in collaboration with the University of Fort Hare and Brand South Africa, hosted the Nelson Mandela centenary dialogues at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg on Saturday, 06 October 2018. The dialogue formed part of the national centenary celebrations of the late former state President Nelson Rholihlahla Mandela, legendary alumnus of the University of Fort Hare.

 

The purpose and objective of the dialogue was to provide a platform for a critical intellectual interrogation and introspective reflections on Nelson Mandela’s legacy that is inextricably linked to the broader liberation struggle as well as the conspiracy rhetoric that the liberation struggle fell short of attaining the total emancipation.

 

This prestigious dialogue was themed: “IT IS IN YOUR HANDS” to make this world a better place, as this was Madiba’s expression of passing on the responsibility to the younger generation. He challenged the younger generation to reach beyond their grasp, to strive and to struggle for a better future.

 

The call was a reminder to all of us to say: as proud South Africans: “Are we doing our best to build a better South Africa.”?

The following alumni served as panellists, who addressed and unpacked a number of issues based on their areas of specialisation:

 

  1. Commisioner Thembinkosi Bonakele: The pursuance of the rule of Law and Human Rights in the past 24 years.
  2. Dr Luthando Dziba and Ms Phindiwe Gida: South Africa’s Socio-Economic, Security and Political Conditions since 1994.
  3. Ms Unati Speirs: Mandela’s legacy in relation to issues of Class, Race, Gender and Disability.

 

Setting the scene for the dialogue was Mr Thabo Makupula, who is the first recipient of Nelson Mandela-Rhodes scholarship grant to study at Cambridge University. One of the key points that he mentioned is that, as South Africans we have a responsibility to live for Madiba through his teachings for a better South Africa.

 

The Vice Chancellor: Professor Buhlungu delivered his closing address assuring the chapter that the University is on course to start turning things around, and we need to rebuild on a legacy, and start improving on the lives  and studying environments of students. The University of Fort Hare has established a prestigious Institute 11 years ago called : Nelson Mandela Institute” for education which does research on schooling particularly in the Eastern Cape, doing ground research especially in the foundation phase.

 

He mentioned that the Mandela legacy is at risk of being subverted, and that is seen in Vhumani and so many parts of the country where libraries and schools are getting burned down. He went on to say that, it is always important as society that we reflect back as communities which has ancestors, and Nelson Mandela being one of our ancestors.

 

The Vice Chancellor went to visit the Jabavu house in Middledrift a while ago. Jabavu who was the first lecturer in 1916, who gave us the ZK Matthews of this world, Nelson Mandela and all other generations that came from his hand. But shockingly today Jabavu house is an absolute disgrace and it was very heart-breaking, as the Vice Chancellor was portraying a picture of what he saw up on his site visit.

 

Professor Buhlungu said: “He felt the need to mention this because, there are some of our ancestors that we do not acknowledge, even some fortarians especially the current generation knows nothing about.

 

The Vice Chancellor concluded his address by inviting the members of the Gauteng Chapter to the upcoming Spring Graduation that the University will be hosting on the 19 October 2018 in Alice, where UFH Alumnus, Mr Mandla Langa will be receiving and honorary doctorate. He also encouraged the chapter to nominate people for honorary doctorates , as it is also their right to do so.