Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has touched the rainbow nation again, this time, on an academic assignment. Mugabe, who arrived at East London Airport, South Africa on Thursday would be a special guest during Fort Hare centenary celebration.
He was welcomed by South African Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Jeff Radebe and Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to South Africa, Ambassador Isaac Moyo.
Mugabe also inspected a guard of honour mounted for him before he was driven to his hotel. The invitation to grace the occasion was extended to Mugabe by South Africa Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mpakama Mbete last month.
President Robert Mugabe, who is a graduate of the university will be joined by President Jacob Zuma and other dignitaries. BuzzSouthAfrica gathered that President Zuma will deliver the keynote address while Mugabe would speak as an alumnus. On the other hand, South African musicians, including Nathi, Ringo Madlingozi, and the Mahotella Queens are expected to spice up the event.
Protest Ahead Of Fort Hare Centenary
However, the celebration is set to get under way today, despite student protests on campus this week. The protest ensued on Wednesday night when students at the Alice campus set fire to a building and a tent, claiming the university management failed to meet their demands.
Also, on Thursday night, reports said more violence on campus continued but the obstinate protesters were disperse by the police with stun grenades and teargas.
The disgruntled students had demanded that students who stay off-campus should receive their accommodation and transport allowance before the end of the first semester.
They also demanded that all first year students who applied and qualified for National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) funding should sign the loan agreement forms by yesterday (Thursday).
Thirdly, the students demanded to have president Mugabe speak to them and not president Jacob Zuma. Some of the m continued their protest to the social media and threatened to disrupt Zuma’s speech.
Tsodiyo (@tokelonhlapo) wrote: “Fort Hare students say they will disrupt Zuma from speaking‚ only (President) Mugabe will speak because Bob is a graduate.”
BraMoremzee (@morembula) posted, “@MYANC the students don’t want Jacob‚ recall him and all will be (well). #FortHare.”
President Mugabe graduated from the institution in 1951, obtaining a BA degree in English and History.
Fort Hare university was formerly known as the South African Native College. Remarkably, it changed to a college for Xhosa speakers when the National Party government took it over between 1959 and 1960.
Notably, South Africa political elites such as Oliver Tambo, Nelson Mandela, Govan Mbeki, and Mangosuthu Buthelezi all passed through the university. The institution also mothered South African activist, educator, journalist and poet Dennis Brutus.
Fort Hare centenary ceremony will staged at the institution’s Sports Complex on the main campus. According to acting Director General of the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS), Donald Liphoko, “The centenary is a reminder that all higher education institutions must be an extension of our nation’s core values of non‐racialism and non‐sexism.”
It is paramount to note that the event coincides with Africa Month to commemorate the founding of the Organisation of African Unity presently known as the Africa Union under the theme, “Building a Better Africa and Better World”.