- The university had the launch of the Pan-African Institute and 5th graduation ceremony.
- According to Julius Malema, the recently launched Pan-African Institute is a threat to the colonial masters by opening up the eyes of all Africans to stop brain-drain and build Africa.
- The university’s chancellor called upon the university leadership to always ensure students are at the center of all the undertakings.
In the rhythmic heartbeat of history, Pan-Africanism emerges as a symphony of resilience and unity. A powerful echo resonating from within and in the African diaspora, it weaves threads of identity, culture, and shared destiny.
Born in the crucible of struggle, it stands as a beacon, beckoning the global African family to embrace a collective dawn.
True tunes of liberation, drum beats of Pan-Africanism and songs of intellectual sovereignty permeated the atmosphere at Lukenya University on November 9, 2023, as South Africa’s opposition leader, Julius Malema, set foot on Lukenya University’s soil for the launch of Pan-African Institute.
The event, which came only a day before the university’s 5th graduation ceremony, drew renowned scholars and leaders from across the globe.
Some of the great minds in attendance include Kenya’s renowned Pan-Africanist Prof. PLO Lumumba, Makueni Governor Mutula Kilonzo Jnr; former governor of Makueni County, Kivutha Kibwana, business mogul Jimmy Wanjigi; Prof. Ratemo Michieka; and Dr. Kofo Obasanjo-Blackshire, daughter of former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo’s, among others.
Malema, the firebrand opposition leader from South Africa and the Economic Freedom Fighters political party leader, gave his Keynote Speech during the event, addressing the world from Kenyan soil.
He acknowledged the beauty of Africa, insisting Pan-Africanism is about the unity of purpose and not division.
Call for unity
In a bold and hard-hitting speech, the leader grilled colonial powers for enslaving, torturing, hating, and harassing Africans, whose only “mistake’ was being the owners of natural resources and fertile lands.
He wondered how some insensitive African leaders expected colonial masters to support research when, all along, such countries have celebrated the missteps of Africa.
He said the failure to unite Africa will give a steady rise to neo-colonialism and racial discrimination.
“Intellectual sovereignty has to be realized through research, education, and innovation. It is about time the continent reclaimed its place in the field of academia within the global community.
The Pan-African Institute we are launching today is a threat to the colonial masters because it will open up the eyes of all Africans to stop brain-drain and to build Africa,” Malema told the world.
He said in launching the prestigious intellectual institute, Africa is positioning herself on the path of self-determination and unity, which, according to him, is all the continent has needed.
Awakening Africa’s leaders
He castigated African heads of state and governments who are manipulated by colonial masters, even when it was clear their actions demeaned their positions and titles.
Malema expressed his disappointment towards leaders who travel to Europe and the United States to receive executive orders on how ‘best’ to run their countries.
Appreciating PLO Lumumba, Chairperson of the Pan-African Institute, “All Africans must come out to jealously fund this institute to withstand its original principle and thought, a duty that will place it on the path of liberating the continent from the yoke and chains of the colonial master,” Malema urged.
“We are not beggars, neither are we a continent of donations. Colonialists must show sympathy to the people they oppressed and stop neo-colonialism forthwith.
This is not asking for too much; it is our right as Africans and we are entitled to decent living. As a continent, we demand reparations,” he added.
Supporting the institute
He asked all Africans living in Africa and diaspora, such as Europe, Asia, the Caribbean Islands and America, to come out and defend the sovereignty of Africa by believing in Pan-Africanism.
The thought leader described the transatlantic genocide as catastrophic colonization, which saw innocent Africans forced to work in plantations, harassed, and others chained before being thrown into seas and oceans as meals to the sea creatures.
He regretted that even while in the deep seas, helpless Africans, turned into slaves, could not fight for their freedom since they were chained and dismembered.
He blamed African leaders who have always supported impunity, asking such leaders to side not only with the truth but also with reality.
Remembering the fathers
Prof. Lumumba, Chairperson of the Pan-African Institute and a globally renowned Pan-Africanist, praised the first conveners and movers of the Pan-Africanism spirit, such as Steve Biko, John Henry Clerk, Julius Nyerere, Winnie Mandela, Martin Luther King Junior, Ahmed Sekou Touré, and Sylvester William, among others.
“We have complained, criticized, critiqued, blamed others, and given room to our oppressors to define us. The launch of this Institute gives us the opportunity to organize beyond agonizing.
I acknowledge the contribution of Tony Nyancha, Johan Albert, and Sylvia Kasanga as rare personalities who offered the land for the cross-fertilization of ideas, which finally germinated into the Pan-African Institute,” said Lumumba.
Prof. Constantine Nyamboga, the Vice Chancellor of Lukenya University, speaking later during the 5th graduation ceremony, said the university has embraced the spirit of Pan-Africanism as attested by the launch of the Pan-African Institute.
The institute, he says, will enable all students to exploit opportunities from a Pan-African academic perspective.
He said through research, the university intends to expand beyond teaching and learning to facilitate the exchange of cross-cutting research and innovation output.
The Vice Chancellor announced that 428 students were graduating this year, explaining that 285 of them are from the School of Education and Social Sciences, 78 from the School of Business and Economics, and 65 from the School of Agriculture, Technical Studies and Natural Sciences.
This year’s graduation theme was Creating Pathways of Opportunities Through Education, Research, and Innovation to Build Resilient Communities.
It was intended to re-engineer the spirit of research in community engagement.
He also announced that the university has initiated courses in ecology and environment, health sciences, and wood technology, which he says are affordable, need-based, and competitive.
Prof. Nyamboga used the opportunity to announce the university’s commitment to mitigating climate change following the resolution by the university’s management to plant one million trees in five years.
This, he said, translated to 200,000 trees every year.
“On November 13, we shall have a team from the First Lady’s office for the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on environment conservation and planting of trees.
This is a clear testimony of our commitment to being part of the national undertaking and the global desire to mitigate climate change and stop environmental degradation,” he stressed.
Cosmas Mutuku, Lukenya University Student Association (LUSA) Chairperson, hailed the supportive management, culminating in the 5th graduation ceremony.
He expressed excitement at the transit of titles from graduates to graduates, adding that finally, their commitment, sacrifice and resilience had paid off.
He challenged his comrades to utilize their hard-earned knowledge to serve humanity without discrimination.
Daniel Ndonye, the university’s Council Chair, said a lot of people are in employment or business, but their production is quite low.
According to the Economic Survey 2020, at least 38% of people are in either the subsistence agricultural sector or the informal sector.
Yet, their GDP is quite low compared to the other sectors.
He challenged the graduates to improve the productivity of the sectors through innovation and research, saying, “Would be a game changer to the economy.”
Sylvia Kasanga, a former Nominated Senator and Chairperson of Lukenya University’s Board of Trustees, reminded the graduates that the cost of living is high and the economy is tough and rough.
She challenged them to be truthful and conscientious in all their endeavors, stressing the need to be prayerful and ethical and to guard their mental health.
The leader advised strongly against the use of drugs and substance abuse, adding that such trajectories have terminated the lives of many youths, whom societies and villages relied on for prosperity.
Her remarks were echoed by Simba Arati, Kisii County Governor, who claimed the high cost of living and the everyday taxation trend is taking a toll on many poor families.
The governor revealed that many countries have been held hostage by the tempting high-premium loans, giving the Western countries the leeway to meddle in African affairs.
He strongly supported Malema’s remarks about the Western countries, claiming Africa has become a punching bag for colonizers.
“It is time to cement the ideas on Pan-Africanism, and as the graduands on this very important day, when the institute is launched, you are the tools of change.
You must take the responsibility to influence the youth’s actions toward acknowledging our continent’s beauty, peace, and wealth.
As Africa, we must unite as opposed to respecting boundaries which the colonial masters imposed,” Arati said.
Investing in research
The Education CS, Ezekiel Machogu, hailed Martha Kasanga and her family for their resolve to establish a university to help the community access higher education.
He expressed his commitment to supporting private universities since they are key in the government’s commitment to ensuring that higher education is affordable and accessible.
He challenged institutions of higher learning to invest in research programs and activities of great impact to the societies in order to contribute towards finding solutions to the problems bedevilling the societies.
Supporting the dream
Prof. Margaret Mckenna, Chancellor of Lukenya University, expressed her satisfaction with Kenya’s young leaders in elected leadership.
She asked community members to help Mrs. Kasanga hold the vision of the university by always supporting her endeavors.
The chancellor called upon the university leadership to always ensure students are at the center of all the undertakings.
“The faculties should be convenient to the students because, in teaching and learning, it is learning which is key. You can teach so well, but there is no learning taking place.
In respecting the views of the students, we give leadership meaning, and the students learn and grow to respect authority. Doing so is a great expression of wisdom,” said Prof. McKenna.
She advised the graduands to practice resilience as is in the theme of the graduation.
The Chancellor said the world is not a happy place due to the continued conflicts, economic inequality, food insecurity, discrimination, climate change, environmental degradation, high taxation, and corruption.
According to her, these challenges need resilience and patience in order to overcome them.
Lukenya University, which opened its door to students in May 2014, situated in Makueni County, operated as Lukenya College, having been opened by Prof. Kibwana.
It offered diplomas and certificates in various courses as it waited for accreditation from the Ministry of Education to offer degree programs.
It began as a successor institution to the Lukenya Schools by the family of the late Justice Kasanga Mulwa. It is a privately sponsored university, and Justice Kasanga Mulwa passed on in March 2015.