A speaker said African countries must unite in order to mend the continent’s problems at a celebration held to commemorate Ghana’s 50th anniversary of independence Tuesday at the University Student Union’s Thousand Oaks Room.
“Africa got to where it is today because we failed to act together,” said Dr. Motsoko Pheko, a member of the South African Parliament.
In recognition of the work and contribution of Ghana’s first president, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, and Pan African Congress leader Robert Subukwe, Pheko was invited to speak to students and faculty by CSUN’s African Students Organization and the All- African People’s Revolutionary Party, a political group which was founded by Nkrumah. The intent behind Pheko’s appearance was to provide an understanding of Africa’s previous struggles, said Marvin Boateng, president of ASO.
Other organizers agreed.
“The overall goal is education,” said Francis Appiah, ASO’s student adviser. “You have to educate people about Africa.” Appiah, who is also an Associated Students graduate senator, added that general knowledge of Africa is limited.
A combination of imperialism and colonialism, Pheko noted, led to the oppression of the country and its people. Slavery forced people to the United States, weakening Africa. The country fell under French, British and Spanish control, with valuable natural resources, such as diamonds and precious natural minerals like gold and platinum, being taken away, he said.
And despite the abundance of natural resources, the people of Africa do not benefit from them as they should, he said.
“Africa has 80 percent of the (world’s) raw material. Why should they be poor?” he asked.
Education in science and technology is also a challenge, he said.
“I’m not quite happy myself with the pace we are going with science and technology,” he said. Pheko added that the country’s education should be tailored to fit its needs.
These concentrations would allow the country to become more dependent and economically strong, he said.
Some students at the event said that Pheko’s message stressed a vision that should be shared.
“I think that’s a dream that most Africans should be heading toward,” said interdisciplinary studies graduate student Camilo Allen. “The problems won’t go away.”
Organizers were pleased with the outcome and the ability to provide students with the chance to learn from Pheko.
“The opportunity to hear someone who was actually in the liberation struggle is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” said Mzuri Pambeli, committee coordinator for the A-APRP, which was instrumental in sponsoring the event.
“We hoped that people were motivated by what he had to say,” Boateng said.