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S. African First Lady Visits HU

Contributing Writer

Published: Monday, November 23, 2009

Updated: Monday, November 23, 2009 09:11

"He who dances last is the one that steals the show," were the words taken from an African proverb and used by Ambassador Welile Nhalpo to describe the First Lady of South Africa, Nompumelelo Ntuli Zuma's, trip to Howard University. Howard University  intended to be the first stop on the First Lady's trip to Washington D.C.; however, Howard University "stole the show" as her last stop.

The College of Arts and Sciences welcomed Zuma on Friday afternoon with a ceremony in the Browsing Room of Founders Library where President Sidney Ribeau delivered the official welcome.

Following the ceremony a reception was held in Carnegie Hall. The reception came alive with performances from the students from the Fine Arts department and Afro Blue.

Assistant Director of the South African Archival and Research project organized the event. Johnson said, "I want to be a way to affirm Howard University's commitment to the people of South Africa and an opportunity to create new ways to build on that relationship."

Sindle Dlamni, a secod year student at Howard's School of Divinity and native of South Africa was moved by the experience and honored to see and hear the first lady.

"It was really exciting and really powerful," she said, "especially to think that she's someone's Michelle Obama."

Howard University has a long history with South Africa and was very involved with the anti-apartheid struggle. Howard was honored with a plaque of appreciation from the immediate former South African President, Thabo Mbeki. In 1995, Howard University honored former South African anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela an honorary doctorate. Shortly after, in 1996, a delegation of faculty and staff visited South Africa to form projects between the university and the country.

Out of that visit emerged the Howard University Republic of South Africa Project to preserve South African history. This is now known as the South African Archival and Research Project.

More recently Howard University and South Africa have continued to build that bond. In 2005 when the nation was devastated by the effects of Hurricane Katrina, South Africa donated money to Howard to aid students who had been affected by the storm.
At Howard, The college of Arts and Sciences and the law school both offer opportunities for students to study abroad in South Africa. And according to Dean Cudore  a native of South Africa and the Dean of Howard's school of Social work, this spring break the school will take a group of students to volunteer and serve in the Country.

In concluding the event, Dean Donaldson of the College of Arts of Sciences shared "this is the start of a new beginning." Through the South African Archival and Research Project Professor Johnson and the staff of the College of Arts Sciences with the help of students plan to continue to build on this relationship and strengthen this new beginning.


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Howard University Watch
Mon Nov 23 2009 22:53
I would have to respectfully disagree with your assertion that "[t]he library is not the responsibility of the Dean in the College of Arts and Sciences" for the various reasons.

Point 1: The Dean of the College of Arts and Science is "indirectly" responsible for the overall functional and operational aspect of the library by providing "real time" intellectual assessments of the library to President Ribeau and the Director of the Library. As a result, all of the students from the College of Arts and Sciences (COAS) and other the “Colleges” will have be situated in an environment we he/she can cultivate one’s intellectual capacity.
Point 2: If the Dean of the COAS (or any other Dean for that matter) is not uniquely concerned (ok, outraged) about the overall conditionality of the library and more concerned remaining “politically correct,” then, something is very wrong with this picture. Point 3: Based upon my own observation of the Undergraduate Library (UGL) [too many problems to mention at this juncture] and Founders Library (i.e., dimly light rooms, lack of functional electrical outlets, peeling paint, etc), I would emphatically this explains why this systemic problem exist because of the lack of accountability and merely the “passing of the buck.”

Finally, regardless of the time President Ribeau has been in this position (two years is more than a sufficient amount of time), I would again say that he is totally oblivious to the overall conditionality of the UGL. If you and your colleagues disagree with my assertion, I would highly recommend your realistically examining the UGL and Founders and submit a report to President Ribeau and Dr. Thornton. Or better yet, ask any undergraduate or graduate student how they feel (if they’re being honest) about the library or why they don’t utilize as they should. So, no matter how you attempt to circumnavigate my central premise Howard University have to stop “passing the buck” and hold those in decision making positions accountable.

Mon Nov 23 2009 17:52
The library is not the responsibility of the Dean in the College of Arts and Sciences. Yes, it is an embarrassment; however, lay the blame where it should be. Perhaps at the feet of the last president of thirteen years. Certainly, not at the feet of a President who has been here less than two years.
Howard University Watch
Mon Nov 23 2009 13:09
I wish the First Lady of South Africa, Nompumelelo Ntuli Zuma’s would have had the opportunity to walk approximately 100 feet and up three flights of stairs from the Browsing Room in Founders to see the horrible and destable conditions of the library. So, instead of President Ribeau and Dean Donaldson giving self-consumed platitudes, both of them should be embarrassed for having a "fourth tier" library while claiming a "Research Level I" status.

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