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Obama, Bush, Soyinka, and now Matjila…

Prof Daniel Matjila (Associate Professor in Unisa’s Department of African Languages).

Prof Daniel Matjila, Associate Professor in Unisa’s Department of African Languages, has been invited to be a speaker at the International Perspectives Conference (IPC) at Principia College, USA, in October. The distinguished African scholar is in good company as past speakers include the likes of Barack Obama, Wangari Maathai, and Wole Soyinka, to name a few.

Matjila has been sponsored as one of Principia’s Annenberg Scholars for the 2017-2018 academic year.

For fourteen years, Principia held a student-run Pan-African conference that focused on issues concerning the people of the African diaspora, and that celebrated the beautiful cultural diversity that is found on the African continent.

Three years ago, a new conference was founded to replace the Pan-African conference. With the rapid growth in globalisation and the increased interconnectedness between nations from all parts of the globe, Principia wanted to create a conference that would incorporate multiple perspectives from around the world. 2017 will mark the fourth annual International Perspectives Conference.

IPC believes that Matjila’s time spent working in Southern Africa will give the conference a depth of understanding in how individuals can disprove and overcome stereotypes of all kinds. Also, Matjila’s work in presenting a different narrative and beating stereotypes in his various written and other work experiences, makes him a highly desirable intellectual source.

Matjila said he was thrilled to be invited as a visiting professor and Annenberg Scholar for the 2017-2018 academic year at Principia. “This is recognition of my teaching and research work. It is a good feeling to be acknowledged and share experiences, knowledge, and expertise with colleagues around the globe. My teaching in USA would focus on my research, looking at African (Batswana) cultural practices such as the concept of time, water, and African spirituality and natural history (interaction between people and nature), as well as Batswana technological innovations such as sculpting, mining, carving, cloth making, and trading divulged in literature,” he shared.

The excitement doesn’t stop there. “It is also an honour for me to be a distinguished speaker at the International Perspectives Conference that previously hosted Barack Obama, Margaret Thatcher, Jimmy Carter, Colin Powell, Henry Kissinger, Coretta Scott King, Wangari Maathai, Wole Soyinka, and Madeline Albright,” said Matjila with a smile.

IPC serves to educate others to become global citizens, embrace perspectives and approaches that are different from your own, celebrate diversity and unify humanity. This year’s topic is “Breaking Stereotypes Around the World”.

*By Kirosha Naicker