Tshepo Tribute for Nelson Mandela - Feb. 26th, 2014
On February 26th 2014, the Tshepo Institute for the Study of Contemporary Africa observed Black History Month with a public lecture in the Research and Academic Centre of the Laurier Brantford campus. This year, the lecture was shaped as a tribute to His Excellency Nelson “Rolihlahla” Mandela, with its theme entitled “Rising from Slavery and Oppression: Remembering the Legacy of Nelson Mandela”.
The evening began with the audience standing for both the Canadian and South African national anthems, and Mr. Brian Rosborough (Senior Executive Officer, Brantford Campus) making opening remarks. Dr. Magnus Mfoafo M’Carthy (Associate Director, Tshepo Institute) then delivered a special message from the South African High Commission in Ottawa. Mr. Tom Buckley (Assistant Vice-President: Academic) introduced newly appointed director of Laurier International, Mr. Ben Yang, who gave remarks that included an emphasis on the importance of global perspectives. The podium was then given to director of the Tshepo Institute, Dr. Robert Ame, to address the audience, which included mention of the Tshepo Institute’s inaugural “Nelson Mandela Academic Excellence Award for Social Justice and Development”, which was awarded at the Tshepo Annual General Meeting on October 3rd 2013.
The first guest speaker was Dr. David Pfrimmer (Principal-Dean, Waterloo Lutheran Seminary, and former Tshepo Advisory Board member) who gave a Canadian perspective on the legacy of Nelson Mandela. His talk included depictions of his meeting with Nelson Mandela during his visit to Canada, actions the Church took against the apartheid, as well as descriptions of ways in which Nelson Mandela was able to impact not only Africa, but also Canada.
The first speaker was followed by a musical interlude, orchestrated by the African Students Association (ASA) from the University of Waterloo. After a lively performance, the ASA proceeded to explain the cultural and historical significance of dance in and throughout Africa, followed by a lesson for the audience to learn some “Azonto” dance culture.
The second speaker was Dr. Ali Abdi (Professor, University of Alberta, and current Tshepo Advisory Board member) who presented an African perspective on the legacy of “Madiba”. His talk included a deep explanation of the “Ubuntu” philosophy, which states “I am who I am because of who you are”. He emphasized the uniqueness of Mandela’s reaction to being imprisoned for almost three decades, his embodiment of the “Ubuntu” philosophy, and the nobility of his truly empathetic nature.
Special thanks to: guests, board members, fellows and student volunteers, for making the Nelson Mandela tribute a success.