Human Security, Conflict and Peace Discussed at Africa Month Celebration
In celebration of Africa Month, UKZN’s Corporate Relations Division (CRD) hosted a webinar on the theme: Intensifying the Fight for Peace and Security in Africa Amidst a Global Pandemic.
With Africa and the rest of the world grappling with dealing with the impact of COVID-19 and given the continent’s vulnerability, lack of preparedness and economic challenges, the webinar created a platform for discussion and possible solutions.
Facilitating the webinar, professor of isiZulu, language literature and culture Professor Sihawukele Ngubane from the School of Arts, said COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on Africa’s socio-economic activities.
Africa Day celebrates and acknowledges the achievements of the Organisation of African Unity (now the African Union) since its creation on 25 May 1963 in the fight against colonialism and apartheid, as well as the progress that Africa has made, while reflecting on the common challenges that the continent confronts in a globalised world.
‘Organisations such as the United Nations and African Union have worked so hard to combat the spread of COVID-19 but now with the third wave looming, it is evident that the war is far from over. The fight against COVID-19 has delayed the implementation of peace agreements and has affected mediation efforts,’ said Ngubane.
Guest speaker, UKZN alumnus and Executive Director of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum Dr Musa Kika said the webinar tackled an ambitious yet vital topic. Kika is a lawyer who is passionate about human rights, constitutionalism, and the rule of law, judicial independence and good governance.
He highlighted that, ‘For Africa, peace and security are best achieved through achieving human security in the form of equitable access to basic needs for survival and development as opposed to the defence form of security.’
Kika’s talk centred around five issues of human security, namely, (1) understanding and contextualisation of peace and security, (2) war, governance deficits and leadership legitimacy, (3) peer accountability among African nations, (4) youth in relation to COVID-19, and (5) the role of the academy.
He said the pandemic poses a significant threat to human security, adding that the poor are becoming poorer as there is no socio-economic cushion. It has also increased conflict within nations, pitting governments against their own citizens.
‘Most African governments deployed their security apparatus to deal with COVID-19 because they have such poor healthcare systems, knowing very well the risks of civil and social unrest,’ said Kika.
He added that, despite the challenges, there is hope for the youth and the continent. Ten of the fastest growing economies in the world are in Africa, creating opportunities for young people to participate in the economy.
CRD Acting Executive Director Ms Normah Zondo thanked the audience for being part of the celebration. She thanked Kika for his inspirational input and Ngubane for facilitating the session and urged the audience to keep the conversation going. She also thanked the CRD team for putting the webinar together.
Entertainment was provided by UKZN alumnus and poet, Khwezi Becker, with a musical rendition by School of Music lecturer and Jazz artist, Sibu Mash Mashiloane.
Words: Sithembile Shabangu