The North-West University (NWU) joined hands with the Colombian embassy and the Honourable Ambassador Maria Del Rosario Mina-Rojas to host the culturally enriching event titled Mother tongue: A multilingual dialogue on building identity, dignity and empowerment in Potchefstroom on 27 November.
Prof Bismark Tyobeka, principal and vice-chancellor of the NWU said: “We explored opportunities for cultural exchange and collaboration on languages and indigenous knowledge systems with the Honourable Ambassador and her country. The day was enriched by the captivating performance of the Colombian Cultural Musical group, Kombilesa-Mi. We are grateful for these meaningful connections.”
“We are really thrilled to be able to celebrate many of the insights we have in common in relation to multilingualism, the importance of language and identity, language and connection, as well as language and community, as ways of building together the postcolonial environment we have inherited in South Africa and in Colombia,” said Prof Robert Balfour, deputy vice-chancellor for Teaching and Learning at the NWU.
“We are here because we want to connect with the university and link our experiences,” said the Honourable Ambassador Mina-Rojas. She also noted her excitement at the many future possibilities this collaboration holds. “We came to share our culture, our language and our experiences.”
The Colombian embassy also visited the NWU’s Potchefstroom Campus in August, when the Honourable Ambassador Mina-Rojas spoke about the misconceptions about the role that gender plays in society.
The capital of Colombia, Bogotá, and South Africa’s largest city, Johannesburg, may be 11 440 km apart, but commonality knows no boundaries and this fruitful relationship will continue to reap a bounty of rewards.