Students and staff of the University of Johannesburg and the University of the West Indies (UWU in the Social Sciences will now be able to exchange knowledge and tackle global African affairs in Africa and the Diaspora. On Monday, 5 November 2018, UJ and the UWI launched the Institute for Global African Affairs, a collaboration for a research and teaching exchange programme between the two institutions of higher learning. The Institute, which was inaugurated at UJ’s Institute for Pan-African Thought and Conversation (IPATC), is a culmination of a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) between the two universities that was signed in March 2017.
This special 10-year agreement has been hailed as a milestone that will see the two universities cementing a relationship on advancing academic African affairs and their global themes. Prof Tshilidzi Marwala, UJ Vice-Chancellor and Principal, chaired a panel discussion during the UJ launch on “Global Africa in the Post-Apartheid Era”. Other prominent speakers included Prof Alan Cobley, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the University of the West Indies; Her Excellency Ms Angella Comfort, Jamaica’s High Commissioner to South Africa; Prof Arthur Mutambara, Former Deputy Prime Minister of Zimbabwe; Prof Shahana Rasool, Head of The Department of Social Work, at the UJ; and Prof Adekeye Adebajo, Director, Institute for Pan-African Thought and Conversation, UJ.
Profs Marwala and Cobley shared common interests during the launch, which included a panel discussion on “Global Africa in the Post-Apartheid Era”. Prof Marwala said: “We take this relationship extremely seriously. UJ doesn’t normally sign MoAs of more than five years. But this was a special agreement because it addresses special issues.
“We will launch a course in the Humanities to advance decolonisation for a joint Master’s degree addressing Pan-African Thought Scholarship, conflict resolution, black popular culture, economic development, just to mention a few. We look forward to having a fruitful mutual relationship with the University of the West Indies.”
Prof Cobley concurred: “At a time in our historical development when The University of the West Indies is expanding its global footprint and solidifying its global ranking, the establishment of the UJ-UWI Institute for Global African Affairs marks another significant step. I must say that this is a particularly exciting moment.”
Prof Arthur Mutambara said entrepreneurship, technology, and efficient governance all rest on education. Therefore, the launch of this institute has the global good for Pan-Africanism.”
The highlight of the event was the unveiling of the plaque at the entrance of IPATC offices in Moseley Street, Auckland Park. Later this month, 26 November 2018, a delegation of UJ will travel to the UWI, which will launch the Institute for Global African Affairs at its Cave Hill Campus in Barbados.
The flagship programme of this historical Institute is the establishment of a joint masters in Global African Affairs, focusing on the emerging role of Global Africa in the 21st Century. Both parties agreed to establish the Institute by appointing Directors in Johannesburg and Barbados to manage the entities; disseminate its work; and identify and support scholars to implement the tasks.
“While Africa’s one billion people and its Diaspora’s 134 million citizens in the Caribbean, the Americas, Europe, and across ‘Global Africa’ are still on a painful quest to reverse the colonial legacy and achieve peace and democratic governance, the continent has recorded some success in the socio-economic, political and cultures realms,” said Prof Adebajo at the launch.
“Africa must therefore rebuild bridges with its Diaspora, and the establishment of this Institute for Global Africa Affairs with the University of the West Indies is a civil society contribution to these efforts, in contrast to the sterile intergovernmental AU efforts to declare a ‘sixth region’ that is totally devoid of substance,” he added.