Speech Delivered by the president of the All Africa Students Union (AASU)

Speech Delivered by the president of the All Africa Students Union (AASU)


Honorable Minister of Youth, Sports and Arts of Zambia, 
Permanent Secretaries and Directors of Government Agencies here present, 
our partners, 
our international and local delegates, 
artists and art organizations from Zambia and all over the world,  
members of the press;

Comrades and friends:

The full bench of the Executive Committee of the All-Africa Students' Union AASU asked me to convey its salutation and best wishes to all of you attending this conference.
It took a lot of work to get us to where we are today and most especially the cooperative and resounding effort of the Zambian government. Let me use this time to thank the President of the Republic of Zambia. 

Africa is a continent with a rich cultural heritage. It is necessary that we begin to utilize such rich heritage in all spheres of our sectors ranging from education, sports, tradition, business etc. In this way, we will begin to own our narratives and strengthen our identity as Africans. The All-Africa Students' Union, AASU, stands ready to work in that direction, and this conference is not only an evidence to that but a practical step toward reducing words and increasing action. 

AASU has over the years organized several international programs under different themes, and it has been very educational and impactful to our young people. Some will ask why we chose art, music and culture this time around. The answer is simple. Just look around you and see how many young people have little or no understanding of our great African arts, culture and rich heritage. In today's world many Africans are more glued to foreign cultures and arts far more than their own. They think that their culture is wrong and primitive but willingly embrace any culture thrown at them by others.

African youth and students have become the victims of cultural imperialism and Western hegemony; like what the Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie calls "the danger of a single story," young Africans have been made to believe that there's only one suitable, appropriate, beautiful, great and acceptable culture, which is the one read about in Western books and portrayed through Western movies and fashion. 

The idea that Africa has no decent culture is not only mendacious, but it's also a blatant lie meant to reinforce racist and chauvinistic perspectives. As a result of several years of falsehoods, myriad of African youth have adopted this mentality and have expressed it through their disgust of the African personality and have instead accepted the culture of the white man, thereby forsaking the golden African heritage bequeathed upon them by our African ancestors whose memories and legacies we still carry in our hearts and minds. 

As a Pan-African student organization, and as a matter of fact the biggest student-led movement in Africa, the All-Africa Students' Union has been in the vortex of countering revisionism, dismantling gross dishonesty, combating the single story narrative, and working to restore the dignity of the African people. AASU has recognized that many African youth and students suffer the brunt of inferiority complex due to the toxic load of slurs hurled at Africa and the grandstanding of foreign  powers as the finest iterations of morality and culture. 

In reclaiming African values and customs, we must rewrite our history, introduce our heroes and heroines to our young people, disabuse their minds of cultural imperialism and the western theory of history; we must seize every given moment to inform them that black is beautiful, that African culture is delicate, and that African values and philosophy are of outstanding significance. As we build a new Africa on the foundations of equality for all and social justice for everyone, we must also combine these objectives with a solid cultural foundation, one in which our youth and students are proud of, and one which unites all of Africa's children and celebrates our black personality. 

As President of the All-Africa Students' Union, I must reiterate my gratitude to the government  of Ghana  for supporting AASU at all times. I also salute the government and people of Zambia for sponsoring such an Afrocentric initiative whose aim is to promote African culture and glorify the rich traditional values we espouse as Africans. My leadership hereby promises to work with the authority here in expanding this drive to other parts of the continent. With a unique cultural approach, I'm optimistic we can greatly heal the cultural wounds inflicted by colonialism and lay the basis for an Africa whose youth and student population love, cherish and celebrate the vastness of African beauty and culture. 

LONG LIVE AASU,, long live the Youth and Students of  Zambia  and Long live Africa 

Thank you.