To Africans and the African diaspora, 25 May not only signifies the anniversary of the foundation of the African Union in 1963, it is also an opportunity for Africa to celebrate its remarkable success, to remember its values and its rich history.
Vaal University of Technology’s Social Justice and Transformation Unit celebrated its annual Africa Day event with a panel discussion aptly themed: ‘The convergence of social justice and African languages within the context of public universities’.
The concept of this panel discussion was to ignite the discourse with staff and students on the use and implementation of African languages as a means of teaching and learning in public universities.
The panel of speakers consisted of seasoned professionals who are experienced in the field of social justice and transformation. The keynote address, which tackled the concept of social justice in modern society and the distribution thereof, was given by astute scholar and researcher Dr Munene Mwaniki from the University of the Free State.
Febe Potgieter-Gqubule, Interim SABC Board member and Former Deputy Chief of Staff at the African Union Commission, said that universities need to take into consideration that there are European universities that teach African languages, and this needs to be implemented in many of our institutions across the country – focusing on one language of teaching and learning may be very limiting.
“Many of our African countries use the language of their colonisers as the official language; the issue of languages on our continent has been affected by trade.”
Potgieter-Gqubule continued to elaborate on the importance of realising that our Africa has a strong cultural identity. “We have a common heritage and shared values and that young Africans need to learn from the past and work towards making an even better Africa that we can all be proud of,” she said.