ED challenges conference on African cultures to amplify the ideals of the continent’s Founding Fathers

By Justin Mahlahla

The on-going Conference on African Cultures has been challenged to preserve pan-African values and consolidate the gains of independence for the continent to play its role towards the realisation of Agenda 2063.

The President was officially opening the third edition of the International Conference of African Cultures, which started in Harare this Tuesday.

“We must, therefore, leverage this platform to of Africa along with its Diaspora, to speedily resolve these residual issues towards the full enjoyment of our hard won independence, dignity and our identity. As an African people, we strongly reject attempts to alienate us from our rich heritage and material culture. Under my leadership, and together with the current generation of African leaders, there is unflinching determination to ensure that Africa’s identity is restored, promoted, preserved and safeguarded,” said President Mnangagwa.

The President commended the culture and creative arts industry, stakeholders and other partners in being true to the spirit of Pan-Africanism by holding the event in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, and within the set protocols.

“The African Union’s 2021 theme “Arts, Culture and Heritage: Levers for Building the Africa we want” is apt and befitting of the deliberations that the International Conference on African Culture 2021 will undertake,” he said.

“In 1962, the then National Gallery of Rhodesia, now National Gallery of Zimbabwe, held the first International Congress of African Culture. In that year the congress discussed matters around the control of African Knowledge Systems and Traditions of Indigenous populations and demonstrated the influence and contribution of African culture to world culture. Ironically, that Congress was held at a time when most African countries, including the host, then Rhodesia, were still under the heavy shackles of colonialism. In 2017, this platform was rebranded as the International Conference on African Cultures and became more alive to the fact that Africa does not carry a homogeneous culture; it is indeed diverse, but one,” said President Mnangagwa.

President Mnangagwa challenged the conference on African Cultures to continue to unapologetically speak about and amplify the ideal and ideologies of the continent’s Founding Fathers.

“To this effect, my Administration, remains committed to strengthen, bolster and entrench the shared ideology and values of the armed protracted liberation struggles that swept across the breadth and length of Africa. As we do so, we are building on this rich foundation and playing our role towards the realisation of Agenda 2063.

“I exhort the peoples of Africa and the Diaspora to remain vigilant and to dismantle neo-colonial interferences in its various, subtle guises, often designed to deny, expropriate and denigrate. In every circumstance, protecting and safeguarding our Continent’s collective memory and common vision must remain an area of high priority and concern.”

He said African governments must be wary of some so-called organisations wary of some so-called civic society that are bent on capturing systems to enable perpetual pilferage of the continent’s rich cultural heritage while curtailing the economic growth prosperity of African communities.

He said: “This is more pertinent and urgent continue on our journey towards delivering the perpetual pilferage of our rich heritage, de economic growth prospects of our Journey towards delivering the economic, social and cultural aspirations of our people as envisioned in the African Union’s Agenda 2063.”

“Finally, it is through Pan-African forums such as this one that African thought, vast body of knowledge must be harnessed and deployed to accelerate sustainable heritage based development. I therefore implore this Conference to ensure that your deliberations during these three days. proffer concrete actions towards the promotion of African Renaissance and asserting the future of Pan-Africanism. The realisation of our aspirations as a united African people and Continent is our responsibility together. Let us all play our part,” he said.

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