South Africa Colloquium 2018
On July 18, 2018 the citizens of South Africa, and the world, celebrated 100 years since the birth of Nelson Mandela, whose legacy of peace, liberty, and equality continues to resonate today. Nelson Mandela's birthday, known as Mandela Day, is a time to celebrate with acts of kindness and events that bring communities together to share ideas on how to improve the world through collective impact.
Nelson Mandela University (NMU) in Port Elizabeth, South Africa honored Mandela Day with a series of Centenary Celebrations, and will continue to commemorate Nelson Mandela's 100th birthday with a year-long calendar of events.
The NMU Faculty of Education kicked off the celebrations with a Colloquium on July 19th and 20th in partnership with their Centre for the Community School (CCS). The Colloquium focused on improving educational outcomes for South African children by bringing together stakeholders and contributors from formal, informal, and non-formal arenas in order to form a coalition for sharing challenges and best practices, and to strategize on a more cohesive approach to future change initiatives.
- Formal education: refers to graded education system running from primary school through the university
- Informal education: refers to education gained from family, neighbors, and community membership
- Non-formal education: refers to any organized educational activity outside the formal system, such as after school programs
“Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world” ~Nelson Mandela
A Colloquium event aimed at repositioning our understanding of the “weapon” that Mandela was referring to, including an exploration of the contextual relevance of Mandela’s statement in a bid to meet the 21st century realities of growing inequalities and hegemonies of knowledge within the quest for a decolonised education system.
Dr. Anderson J. Franklin, who was a visiting professor with NMU's Faculty of Education in 2013 and recently named as honorary professor within the Centre for the Advancement of Non-Racialism and Democracy (CANRAD), participated in the Colloquium as keynote speaker and facilitator of a Roundtable-style discussion on coalition building in order to help participants talk through strategies for creating a sustainable network.
This is not the first time that the Roundtable model has been applied abroad or at NMU; however, July's Colloquium was significant given that key stakeholders from the university, local school system, community-based programs, and the youth population not only made commitments to continue the coalition, but they also elected representatives to be a part of future meetings.
The importance of collective impact through coalition building was reinforced by the event's consistent message of bringing together entities engaged in the education process in order to collaborate on efforts towards the common goal of improving educational outcomes.
Further, NMU's Vice Chancellor, Prof. Sibongile Muthwa, spoke to the group about strengthening university-community relations by creating "hubs of engagement" throughout the university, bringing together students, community members, and educators, as well as representatives from the business and professional sector.
From Left: Dr. Bruce Damons, Director of the Centre for the Community School at NMU; Dr Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi, NMU Chancellor; Dr. Anderson J. Franklin, Honorable David S. Nelson Professional Chair at BC; Prof. Puleng Segalo, NMU Colloquium Session Moderator; Prof. Sibongile Muthwa, NMU Vice Chancellor; and Dr. Muki Moeng, Executive Dean for the NMU Faculty of Education.