”Eric Molobi has among other notable contributions been part of the development of the education policy for post-apartheid South Africa. It is important for us to honour him, not only for what he did, but also dreaming about what the future should be for us as a country, continent and the whole world.”
This was the sentiment of’ Vice-Chancellor, Prof Tshilidzi Marwala on Thursday, 02 August 2018, at Auckland Pak Kingsway Campus, speaking at the University of Johannesburg’s (UJ) 3rd Annual Eric Molobi Memorial Lecture.
Prof Marwala expressed that now that we are in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, if we become spectators, we will become economic slaves. “Education is crucial, we have to be activists like Dr Eric Molobi for the development of our economy.”
The title of the address was “Africa and the Advancement of Higher Education at Home and Globally: Memory and Imperative for Renewal through Purposeful Fusion.”
During the event, a family tribute was delivered by the daughter, Ms Lele Molobi who read an extract from a hand written letter by her father, who was detained in 1987 at Krugersdorp prison. “I am not detained for unlawful acts but because I belong to an organisation which has stated its opposition to Bantu education as a system of education.” In the letter, Dr Eric Molobi also emphasised that there is no short-cut to democracy.
The Memorial Lecture was attended by MEC of Gauteng Education, Mr Panyaza Lesufi, students, members of staff, members of the business community, NGOs, government stakeholders, and the general public.
“We are here because we have inherited the name of a well born soul, Dr Eric Molobi,” said the Keynote speaker, Prof N’Dri Thérèse Assié-Lumumba.
“I am moved to participate in remembering the great son of Africa. Although I am using history as a framework, history is not a destiny whether it is great or considered problematic- it doesn’t define the future,” explained Prof Assié-Lumumba.
Prof Assié-Lumumba took the audience back in time, highlighting the relevance and importance of perspectives and approaches to development through education; Africa and its contributions to earliest civilizations; Africa and past higher education development; European Higher Education: Expansion and Culmative process and African Memory, Agency and future positioning through fusion by choice.
In closing, the lecture highlighted the importance of holding memorial lectures such as these to honour such an extraordinary man who had an outstanding vision in terms of understanding the future of South Africa. The address delivered challenging and provocative talk that historicised the past, affirmed the audience to be proud to be Africans and to be free and creative intellectuals.