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The Most Important African Event That No One Is Talking About

February 1, 2020

Author: Mxolisi Masuku

Numbering: Issue 1.B, Idea: African Freethinking

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: African Freethinker

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: January 30, 2019

Issue Publication Date: TBD

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 1,568

Keywords: Africa, Donald Trump, Emmerson Mnangagwa, Ghana, Humanism, Julius Malema, Mxolisi Masuku, PAUDC, Zimbabwe.

The Most Important African Event That No One Is Talking About[1],[2]

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

No other continent has people who talk about the value of qualitative engagement about policy and the future more than Africa. From governments (good or bad), NGOs, NPOs, laymen, you name it. The mantra is always the same, “Let’s discuss this and map a way forward.” Millions, if not billions, spent on relatively fruitless AU summits. Weirdly, however, little to no effort is put forth to support this engagement or even publicize it at its grassroots level. Also, sadly, by the time you read this article, the one annual event that has promoted debate in Africa will be over – PAUDC (Pan African Universities Debate Competition).

If you have the internet, you have probably come across mainstream debates on topical issues from human rights, immigration, where people like Julius Malema, Emmerson Mnangagwa, Donald Trump, etc., make pronouncements. They are simply people pleasers and great shouters. They are labelled as great debaters. The likes of Professor Lumumba, with their utopian plagiarism of Marcus Garvey with no contextual model whatsoever, are mistaken for great intellectuals. If you stick with me for a bit longer, I will introduce you to a world where you will never put these politicians and icons on a pedestal again. Hopefully, you will start believing in the African youth’s ability to transform the continent.

Check out details on the 2019 PAUDC tournament. In Ghana, at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology themed Akofena or the “sword of war”, it is seen as a symbol of courage, valour, and heroism. In the former Akan states, also, it can be a representation of legitimate state authority. Something Africa is in dire need of now.

Here are some of the motions debated at the tournament. To follow the tournament you can go here: https://akofena-2019.herokuapp.com/PAUDC2019/motions/.

THBT religious institutions should use radically leftist interpretations of their teachings in areas of high rates of poverty (e.g. Liberation Theology, Islamic Socialism).

This house believes that governments in developing nations should prioritize funding for early childhood development to the exclusion of funding for tertiary education.

The inaugural PAUDC tournament was held in 2008 comprised of 10 countries. Each with a delegation of over 5 institutions and 4 teams per institution. In total, the first tournament had over 300 debaters. The brainchild of veteran debaters from a team comprised of veteran debaters, Lesang Magang and Charity Makhala, from Botswana and Zimbabwe, respectively. There are other international organizations that assisted, e.g., OSI African Regional Office, Youth Initiative, and the University of Botswana. Fast forward a decade later, the tournament is still going and growing (not without challenges) with the 2017 Cameroon tournament recording the lowest attendance in history.

No other tournament has had this level of representation and quality in terms of unifying Africa and shaping the future for our beautiful continent. I say this well aware of things such as AFCON, which have gradually devolved into money-making gimmicks for betting cartels and grandstanding platforms for disingenuous anti-xenophobic and Pan African movements. PAUDC is so inclusive that even Zimbabwe’s Midlands State University hosted it successfully in 2016. I remember one guy from Nigeria remarking that Zimbabwe isn’t as bad as mainstream media portrays it. If we simply highlight Africans don’t know much about Africans, what can we honestly hope to achieve if the people who we must coordinate with are literally strangers to us?

See, before we even start talking about unifying Africa and dancing on that Black Humanist merry go round, we must ask, “What have we done to understand the state of mind of the African youths?” PAUDC remains one of the most underfunded annual continental events in the region and yet arguably the most important. You have a different opinion? Check out these motions and hit me up on the comments section, I dare you!

The tournament has covered it all, from LGBTQA+ issues, Xenophobia, African Trade, Education policies, Religious integration and my personal favourites, Afrofuturism and Humanism. So how, and why, is it that the most thorough and engaging platform on the continent is so grossly underfunded and underrepresented? Africa arguably has the most human rights watchdog organizations, so many of them working on coming up with visions for the future. Yet, none of them are interested in such an opportunity. The situation is so bad that Southern Africa is the most underrepresented region right now, with only 3 teams 2 from South Africa and 1 from Botswana, respectively. Think of the number of tertiary institutions in these countries. The universities that claim to support discourse for the future are the same deliberately leaving passionate students to hang dry.

In Zimbabwe, for instance, Midlands State University for reasons unknown did not fund a delegation that got the continental trophy in 2017 and has been in the finals in 2018 as well. Hillside Teachers College, as well, for reasons unknown, didn’t see the value of funding two-time and current national champions to such an event. They claim to be in support of the dynamic development of students in Africa.

If you ever get time, go on to look into the contributions, which most of these people who win and participate in these tournaments do after university. The bulk of them have started organizations, which actually work to change society for the better. These kids aren’t just talkers like most of our politicians. They walk the talk.

I believe Humanism is a vision, which needs thorough dedication, engagement, and support, especially at such a young stage in Africa. The damage that religion and misconceived ideas have done to the continent and its people’s ability to empathize can only be fixed if the platforms which bring engage all stakeholders are properly funded and people truly push to support it. Humanism and liberalism have no value in our lives until that time.

There is a great deal of YouTube videos on such debates, and a lot of tournaments happening annually promoting such engagement across the continent, notably the Zanzibar Open in Tanzania, Jozi Rumble, and UCT Open in South Africa and Debate Open Challenge in Zimbabwe. A friend of mine once remarked, “If the whole of Africa ever heard these University kids speak, most of these policymakers and politicians would lose their jobs.”

(Pardon my generalizations) African governments and institutions in the vast majority of cases have a problem of ignoring their major raw materials and not investing in their true value potential waiting for someone else to do it for them. Most people rave about gold, diamonds, rubber, oil etc., but, sadly, no one is talking about the greatest of all; the young ambitious mind who actually believes in shaping society for the better. I wrote this article for the concerned humanist. If you are reading this, I believe you are concerned as well. If you are reading this, and if you share that same belief of youth responsibility in transforming Africa, what have you done to that end? Can you do more with those around you? What can we as the African Humanists Celebrants Network do to help others who are working towards the Humanist agenda and making Africa hospitable to all?

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Ghanaian Humanist.

[2] Individual Publication Date: February 1, 2020: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/most-important-african-event.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Masuku S. The Most Important African Event That No One Is Talking About [Online]February 2020; 1(B). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/most-important-african-event.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Masuku, S.D. (2020, February 1). The Most Important African Event That No One Is Talking AboutRetrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/most-important-african-event.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): MASUKU, S., The Most Important African Event That No One Is Talking About. African Freethinker. 1.B, February. 2020. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/most-important-african-event>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Masuku, Scott. 2019. “The Most Important African Event That No One Is Talking About.” African Freethinker. 1.B. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/most-important-african-event.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Masuku, Scott “The Most Important African Event That No One Is Talking About.” African Freethinker. 1.B (February 2020). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/most-important-african-event.

Harvard: Masuku, S. 2020, ‘The Most Important African Event That No One Is Talking AboutAfrican Freethinker, vol. 1.B. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/most-important-african-event>.

Harvard, Australian: Masuku, S. 2020, ‘The Most Important African Event That No One Is Talking AboutAfrican Freethinker, vol. 1.B., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/most-important-african-event.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Masuku. “The Most Important African Event That No One Is Talking About.” African Freethinker 1.B (2020):February. 2020. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/most-important-african-event>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Masuku S. The Most Important African Event That No One Is Talking About [Internet]. (2020, February; 1(B). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/most-important-african-event.

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