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“Africa is a treasure trove of undiscovered and unrecorded knowledge” explains one of the hosts of this year’s African University Day celebrations, Dr Palesa Mothapo, Head Postdoctoral Research Support, in the Division for Research Development at Stellenbosch University.
Stellenbosch University (SU) has a strategic outlook of being the leading research university in Africa, rooted in Africa and global in reach. As such, SU Division of Research Development (DRD) and Postdoctoral Research Support hosted the annual African University day which forms part of the continental initiative by the Association of African Universities (AAU). The event was held on 14 November 2019, with the aims of showcasing research activities conducted in other African universities/countries by postdoctoral fellows and postgraduate students at Stellenbosch University. Some of the research presented was centered around themes such as Food Security, Climate change, expanding youth population, and big data knowledge management to mention but a few.
Dr Palesa Mothapo, explains “that it is important for Stellenbosch University to participate in Africa University day because the university has already placed itself as a significant partner in the advancement of African research and redefining the role of the African university through its partnerships across the continent, its involvement in the ARUA network and as a member of AAU”. Dr Mothapo explains that “The African University Day is to showcase research and social impact of universities in Africa, allowing for ideas exchange and dialogue around challenging issues”.
Norma Derby, Coordinator: Africa Mobility at the Centre for Collaboration in Africa at Stellenbosch University International shares that, “SU has been celebrating African University Day for many years and celebrating African University Day is one of a few activities which allows SU to focus on current issues in African Higher Education Institutions”.
One of the major aims of this year’s event was to highlight the importance of African research. Dr Mothapo explains that, “Africa is the future hub for innovation and development, however we need to refocus on who we are as a continent. To relearn our indigenous knowledge systems and apply them to a changing world”. She believes that, “We need young Africans to solve African problems. To solve our plight against hunger and disease, against wars and inequality. We need to engage with each other and we need research to do that. Research that has an African footprint, and the only way to do that is through the university”.