Ambassador of Africa’s last colony gives talk at Rhodes University

Rhodes University hosted a discussion titled Africans Colonising Africans: Colonisation in present day Africa, the Western Sahara Conflict last night. Hosted by the Rhodes University International Office, the Thabo Mbeki Foundation and the student chapter of the Black Lawyer's Association, the talk is part of the International Week which started on Sunday, 21 May and will end this coming Saturday.

As part of the discussion, Radhial- Bashir Asgayar, ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic spoke on “The right to self-determination and independence of the Saharawi people”, which was moderated by straight-talking Professor Max Boqwana, the Chief Executive Officer of the Thabo Mbeki Foundation and Rhodes alumnus.

The focus of the talk was, as Professor Boqwana dove straight into, securing the freedom of African countries from any type of colonisation, especially at the hands of other Africans. The growing need for Africans to thrive by protecting their natural resources such as uranium, gold, diamonds, oil and gas, and has large tracts of arable land.

“Post-independent African countries have witnessed a host of civil wars, internecine conflicts and political instability. The leadership deficit, especially in relation to thought leadership, is widening. This will require the crafting of a new strategy that is underpinned by the principle of Pan-Africanism and African renaissance,” advised Professor Boqwana.

Western Sahara, the country used as the talking point of the discussion, stands out as Africa’s last colony, occupied illegally and forcefully by Morocco with the backing of France. “Every single day the Saharawi people suffer horrendous human rights violations by the occupying power. The only peaceful solution is for Morocco to accept the Saharawi people’s right to self-determination,” explained Asgayar, the Western Sahara ambassador.

The Saharawi people have obtained a court order to open a new front in their struggle for independence and self-determination and thus the protection of their natural resources which will translate to the strength of their economy.

The South African courts will make a ruling on their stolen natural resources and the boat that was detained because it is transporting stolen phosphates from the occupied Western Sahara. Currently, there is lack of clarity fuelled by full speed propaganda and contradicting information from Morocco and its Western allies.

“It is illegal to trade with Morocco on the riches of an occupied people, without consulting the people. The South African court will have to decide on June 9 if the load of phosphate must be given back to its rightful owners, Saharawi people. This will speed up the implementation of the right to self-determination which will ensure unity and development of our people,” said a hopeful Asgayar.

One of the key messages, aside from Asgayar’s plea for the rest of Africa to assist his people, was Professor Boqwana’s sentiments that “freedom is indivisible; if one part of Africa suffers injustice then all of Africa is enduring the same pain and anguish”.

Source:  Communications

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