Ten of his books are mingled in the stacks of Coleman Library’s Special Collections, with themes that center on the African condition. But like any book, if not cracked open by students for research their central message won’t be heard around campus.
Until Thursday, that is.
From the stage in Lee Hall Auditorium, renowned author and scholar of African affairs Ali Mazrui will spill his thoughts on African wisdom and how to rouse an African Renaissance. Mazrui’s lecture comes to the University via the Africa Awareness Month Celebration & Lecture Series, a tribute to Africa through boosting knowledge about the continent.
In addition to writing over 20 books, Mazrui has published hundreds of articles in five countries.
“He is very much so a reputable man,” said History Professor David Jackson. “He’s a historian, an expert on African history.”
From his Binghamton University office in New York, where he is the director of the Institute of Global Cultural Studies, the Kenyan-born intellectual said what the invitation to speak at the University meant to him.
“Events of this kind which initiate new areas of study and intellectual thinking are very good,” Mazrui said.
Mazrui also noted that since African Awareness Month is centered on his homeland, the celebration’s events are of special interest to him.
Titled “The African Renaissance and Seven Pillars of African Wisdom,” Mazrui’s speech will address at length the meaning of each concept and where black Americans fit in.
Without giving away too much of his lecture, he hinted at what the African Renaissance means.
“The concept includes the idea of global Africa, but Africa is well beyond just the boundaries of the African continent,” Mazrui said. This global community of Africans, he added, includes people of African descent spread throughout the world.
“African Americans are particularly important because of their considerable influence in the history of pan-Africanism and their rising importance within the United States,” he said.
Ayinde Madzimoyo, president of the Student Alliance for Cultural Development (SACD), an organization dedicated to encouraging African cultural diversity, agreed.
“Africans in America have the most beneficial position in monetary resources, material wealth and access to means to change our reality,” said the recent FAMU graduate from Atlanta. “
Following this process of a cultural exchange, Mazrui said that Africans worldwide begin to take a collective part in globalization.
“There are winners and losers as a result of globalization,” he said.
“The majority of black people are losers. So we must find ways in which we recognize the realities of globalization and tip the scales so that we [benefit from its] forces.”
The new alumnus remained cautious about its longevity on the campus.
“At FAMU, we don’t have the organizations or representatives to make an environment that would lead to students moving into the direction of an African Renaissance,” Madzimoyo said.
Yet Jackson felt that it is something the university must work toward in an effort to realize its potential.
“If our orientation is different, then we can educate our students differently because they can start looking at international markets and not just local markets and opportunities that are here,” he said.”
Mazrui is scheduled to speak Thursday at 7 p.m. in Lee Hall.
Contact Monica Harden at firstname.lastname@example.org.