“The most potent weapon of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.”
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
“If our people lose courage to confront what is wrong then we became collaborators”
These were some of the prominent quotes (by Steve Biko, Nelson Mandela and Jerry Rawlings) kept on coming up on the minds of the audience members as African renaissance scholars; cerebral orator and social change drivers Nqaba Mpofu and Vukulu Sizwe Maphindani were addressing young academic leaders at higher institutions of learning.
Mpofu gave a lecture at Nelson Mandela University on the 13th of October while Maphindani was speaking at Johannesburg Central College graduation ceremony on 16 October 2015.
The aim of the duo’s talk was to ignite a framework that will allow African youth to create a new society. They used the events to reposition and reclaim the African soul, pride through their Pan-Africanism lectures. They berated the dominant popular culture’s notion that says Africa methodologies are outmoded.
Maphindani said “I am also tempted to remind what most of you already know and that is, civilisation through education started in Africa. Therefore it only make sense that Pan Africanism ideology must be part of the education system. The Pan Africanism ideology system has ability to help Africans to unlearn inferiority complex tendencies.
I am here to remind you that gone are the days where chanting “power to the people” while raising your right hand to symbolise the African pride and struggle. Your condition today cannot be changed by that.” said Maphindani.
He went on to say students and young leaders from all over the continent must not look for outside sources to liberate them because real freedom starts from the mind and there is nothing or no one has power to stop from achieving what one’s mind has conceived. Maphindani said the recent youth revolution both in South Africa and throughout the continent has shown that the existing exploitative system has failed. “South Africa is at either the edge of complete crisis or rebuilding phase and therefore now is the right time for young pan African patriotic leaders to rise and take a lead because we all know that the current generation of leaders will not do that. I am not accusing them of being incompetent or unpatriotic but my view is rather informed by the fact they are exposed to the kind of information, skills and resources that we, as young people have.”
Maphindani concluded his session by Nkwame Nkruma’s quote “If we are to remain free, if we are to enjoy the full benefit of Africa’s resources, we must be united to plan for our total defence and full exploitation of our material and human means in the full interest of our people. To do it alone we will limit our horizons, curtail our expectations and threaten our liberty.
On the other hand, Mpofu’s lecture presented different viable ways of decolonising the education system. He said Pan African ideology is particularly important for the youth because it validates the African child by scrutinising enigmatic deceptions that lead to white supremacy tendencies and Africans inferiority complex.
He said “Pan Africanism is a blueprint for liberation of all Africans and should be advanced in higher education institutions to transform society. This need not be limited to having a course on Pan Africanism. Instead, it is a Pan African ideology that should influence the content and value system espoused through higher education.”
Mpofu and Maphindani followed on the steps by the late political icon Steve Biko who once said “It’s better to die for an idea that will live than to live for an idea that will die.” The duo called upon students and all young people across the country to start infiltrating knowledge production and intelligentsia sectors by presenting alternative unconventional progressive African way forward philosophy.
Renowned political analyst, thought leader and columnist Steven Eli Friedman commended the two social change drivers (Mpofu and Maphindani) for challenging the status quo and the higher institutions of learning. “It might seem obvious but, with all ideologies there are different strains. There certainly is a need for different voices at our universities and in the broader society pointing out that some of our institutions seem unaware that were in Africa. The problem is to translate slogans into a real change of attitude and orientation” said Friedman.
Right to Know’s Campaign national coordinator Mark Weinberg shared the same sentiments with Sibeko. Weinberg said “It is very important to build a culture of democratic intellectual contestation. Clearly the dominate.