On Wednesday, May 25 we celebrated Africa Day and MSA’s 15th birthday with a festival for all students and staff. Our 2016 Africa Day theme, Africa Rising: #Leaders4Growth, emphasised the importance of leadership and encouraged students to focus their leadership skills in order to support Africa’s growth. The festival paid tribute to the cultural melting pot of over 60 nationalities on campus and also recognised the great potential of MSA students as leaders. The day saw students dressed in stunning traditional attire, adding to the festive atmosphere on the campus while attending thought leadership discussions and cultural activities.

As part of the line-up, noteworthy guest speakers Kojo Baffoe and Noni Gasa were invited to address students, academic leaders and guests on the importance of embracing our African heritage and developing creative collaborations across the continent. Kojo Baffoe spoke passionately on the topic ofWhat makes (us) Africa?  Baffoe summed up with the powerful conclusion that each of the MSA students has a duty to be an active citizen within their community and should exercise their power to contribute towards the sustainable development of the country and continent.

Noni Gasa also inspired with her discussion on creative collaborations and the importance of Africa using innovative solutions to solve its problems. Her call to action asked students to look beyond their current areas of study and identify inventive solutions that are beneficial to the continent and that foster bilateral trade. Gasa purported that one of the key solutions to Africa’s problems is creative partnerships. Our future African leaders were encouraged to step out of their comfort zones and actively pursue the vast opportunities that exist and can help develop the continent.

The Student Representative Council (SRC), with the support of a number of other students, organised powerful music, dance and poetry exhibitions for the large audience of students and staff. The MSA choir gave a particularly moving performance, singing familiar African songs with their own unique twist.  The event closed with an interactive drum circle that reverberated across the entire campus. Lekgotla Square was transformed into a cultural food and lifestyle market; the aroma of traditional foods and the sounds of native languages being spoken is testament to our wonderfully diverse student community.

Leadership and unity were strong themes throughout our Africa Day Festival. CEO Esther Benjamin and fellow academic leaders showed their support and celebrated with students. The occasion was also used to mark the 15th anniversary of providing quality education to students from all over Africa.