By Gaby Ndongo & Onthatile Kgoadigoadi
The University of Johannesburg’s International Festival has made its name once again this year by hosting a number of countries proudly showcasing their heritage in the APK Campus. Hence, TOJ went to uncover the different perspectives held by the groups and individuals who were eyewitnesses when the event unfolded.
The University of Johannesburg united the whole world together yesterday by once again conducting the International Festival. It was an event of joy, laughter, music, clothing, and food originating from different countries in the world.
“We think it was great because according to the records apparently the last time Namibia took part in the International Festival was in 2004. So for us, it is really a privilege thing and we are definitely also thinking about taking part in the festival next year. However, since we were told late about our participation we didn’t have anything to prepare for a performance but we just came to showcase our culture through our attires and food,” said Namibian representatives.
The International Festival was an opportunity granted to countries that are stigmatized and underrepresented in the global sphere.
“For us, it is actually an opportunity to show our culture to other people. People may not necessarily know about you; so we were given an opportunity to show how we do our things, how our culture looks like and what type of people we are as a collective,” said Somalis.
Those representing China said, “The International Festival day to us is a chance to bring countries together to experience different things from all over the world and see the different cultures and how they act as well as [their] behaviour. There are people from different backgrounds and with many of us coming from disadvantaged backgrounds this is an opportunity to learn about different countries and cultures that we would not normally be exposed to.”
There are few universities in South Africa that bring people of different tribes and countries together.The University of Johannesburg was praised by many people for uniting people of diverse backgrounds.
“I don’t know any other campus that does this, UJ is the only campus that gets to celebrate and bring together different cultures. For that reason, celebrating the international day by UJ stands out, it is a chance to let everyone know what happens in each culture. You learn where other people come from, their food and clothing,” said Melusi Hadebe, a Chemical Engineering student at UJ.
“This day means that we overlook all the incidences where we’ve called each other names, and discriminated one another by the colour of our skin. There’s no such thing as xenophobia. We are one,” said Marthia a journalism student at UJ.
The oneness expressed by Marthia was indeed present. People enjoyed each others company, and not only because of the delicious food brought from the respective cultures but also for the dance that introduced new steps to move about, laughter which inevitably reminded many of past happiness and the endearments each tradition carried along. TOJ
Reporting by Gaby Ndongo and Onthatile Kgoadigoadi; Editing by Magnificent Mndebele.