Unity in Africa – Focus of Luthuli Lecture

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It is time Africans stop seeing each other as foreigners, says Ms Samia Nkrumah, daughter of Ghana’s first president, the late Dr Kwame Nkrumah.

Delivering the 15th Annual Chief Albert Luthuli Memorial Lecture in Durban, Nkrumah, the Chairperson of Ghana’s Convention People’s Party, emphasised: ‘Have we forgotten so soon that we stood together as one to defeat colonialism and apartheid colonialism? We are one people with a common heritage and a common destiny.’

The first woman to deliver the Luthuli lecture, Nkrumah said: ‘We see African men rising up against fellow African women. What do we gain from gender-based violence (GBV), from femicide, but broken hearts and broken homes?’

She pledged allegiance with women the world over to fight against GBV. ‘I am proud to take a stand with all women here. All women in this country… all women all over the world against violence against women.’

Nkrumah said both Luthuli and her father believed that ‘education and collective agency empower us to change our destiny.

‘Africa must unite … long live the African nation that must be,’ she said to thunderous applause.

Minister of the National Department of Sports, Arts and Culture Mr Nathi Mthethwa paid tribute to the ‘two imposing figures’ – Kwame Nkrumah, the ‘first liberator on the continent’ and the founding father of a democratic, independent Ghana, and Chief Albert Luthuli, the first Nobel Peace Prize laureate in Africa, stressing that both leaders stood for Pan-Africanism and peace.

Also speaking at the event, UKZN’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Humanities Professor Nhlanhla Mkhize said the purpose of the lecture was ‘not essentially to memorialise the life or preserve the legacy of Inkosi Luthuli, but once again to draw inspiration from his service to others’. Mkhize said that dialogue was integral to the Luthuli legacy. ‘In troubled times, we look to the moral authority of great leaders to consider how best we may respond to contemporary challenges.’

Chairperson of the Luthuli Museum Council Mr Important Mkhize paid tribute to Kwame Nkrumah, president of Ghana when in 1957 it became the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to achieve independence. Mkhize said Luthuli and  Nkrumah made incisive and deep pronouncements about the need for unity on the African continent. ‘Both were engaged in the struggles for liberation of their countries against the shackles of colonialism and apartheid,’ said Mkhize.

‘In their quest for freedom and emancipation of their countries, they did not confine nor restrict themselves to their respective countries but spread their wings to wage the struggle for the liberation of Africa and oppressed and exploited masses the world over,’ he said.

Dr Albertina Luthuli (Chief Albert Luthuli’s eldest daughter), Important Mkhize, Mthethwa, Nkrumah and Professor Mkhize fielded questions from the audience during a panel discussion.

The Chief Albert Luthuli Memorial Lecture is hosted annually by UKZN, the National Department of Sports, Arts and Culture, the Chief Albert Luthuli Foundation and the Luthuli Museum.

Visit to view the lecture.

Words: Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer

Photograph: Itumeleng Masa