Young Batswana have been urged to take leaf from the struggle of African American and the black history in America in their quest to succeed and become better leaders. The University of Botswana Faculty of English in conjunction with the United States Embassy in Botswana have organised a three day black History Month celebrations at the University where the history of Black Americans will be celebrated through a film festival and literature display.
The Head of English Department Professor Arua Arua implored the small crowd of students who gathered for the opening of the film festival on Monday at the University of Botswana to never give up on their dreams and always strive to make a difference in other people’s lives. “Try to make something out of your lives, even if you do not come out as another Barack Obama, do the little you can,” said Arua.
U.S Ambassador to Botswana Earl Miller said it is during Black History Month that America takes time to think about the country’s history and the progress made. “From slavery, to the civil rights movement, to the first black President of the United States – this history gives us hope for the future. At the heart of American ideals is the belief that regardless of your past or the circumstances of your birth, each person deserves the opportunity to achieve his or her potential, “said Miller.
Miller highlighted the value of peaceful protests, activism, organizing, saying it reminds society, that without debate, a society cannot learn and grow from the experiences of its people. “And, only through inclusion, can a society take full advantage of the talents and aspirations of its people, “he said.
This year’s theme is “A Century of Black Life, History, and Culture” which Ambassador Miller says it highlights the essential role people of African descent in America have had in shaping world politics and social movements, as well as music, art, literature and sports. “This year, we celebrate the transformation that has occurred since that first commemoration 100 years ago. This transformation of American society is the product of great effort and tremendous human spirit by people who knew their story matters,” he said.
Films that were part of the festival include the short documentary Barack Obama- His Story, which is about the life of the current U.S President from his days as an Illinois senator through his campaign to be the Democratic party's candidate to the poll up until his win. The Montgomery Bus boycott is a documentary which follows the life of Rosa Parks, who by refusing to sit at the back of a segregated bus in 1955, put into motion a series of events that sparked the civil rights movement in the United States and who alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and others changed history .The movie 12 Years a Slave, which tells the story of one Solomon Northup, a free African-American man, who was kidnapped in Washington, D.C, in 1841 and sold into slavery was also part of the line-up.
This is the eleventh year the United States Embassy has partnered with the University of Botswana to celebrate the achievements and contributions of African Americans to the United States and the world.