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News from PPRE / Oldenburg University

  • Group picture of ANSA conference 2020 in Passau Photo credit: The organizing team of ANSA

  • ANSA-North group, Samuel in the middle. Photo credit: Samuel

Alumni Network Subsahara Africa (ANSA)

Samuel Cudjoe from Ghana (PPRE 2019-21 student) is sharing his experience gained at  ANSA annual conference in 20020 at Passau, Germany.
ANSA is an alumni network of students who have spent a study period in Africa under the sponsorship of the DAAD/PROMOS and African students who have lived a study period in Germany under the funding of the DAAD. ANSA is aimed at strengthening African-European relation while bridging gaps between every discipline. Info: ansa-ev.org

Conference Location
It was held in  Passau, a city in Bavaria. Interestingly, our hostel, Jugendherberge was located at a 13th-Century hilltop fortress called VESTE OBERHAUSE. This fortress now serves as museum. It was where the catholic bishops, who once reigned the city of Passau, lived. Passau is also known for its consistent flooding issues due to 3 rivers; a beautiful scenery to watch at their meeting points. Anytime there is a flood, the level of the water reached are marked. Houses are therefore built to withstand fire and flood.  I cannot conclude this part without appending quite strange greetings from the Bavarians that is interpreted as ‘do you have manners?’ instead of the common ‘moin’ greetings we are used to in Oldenburg.
 

Theme discission
The theme for this year’s conference was “Brought together or driven apart by the crisis? Ubuntu as a way forward for politics, society, and economy - in and between Africa and Europe”. Two speakers gave scintillating speeches on this topic that revolved around ‘’I am because you are concept’’. 
One speaker described Ubuntu as too abundant and too heterogenic to give a short, dictionary-style definition. There is no general agreement whether to talk about Ubuntu as a concept, a philosophy, a (religious) ethic, a cosmology, or a way of living. All dimensions overlap. All categories tend to display perspectives rooted in epistemologies of the global North. From an Ubuntu perspective, these categorizations would probably not make sense, because they oppose the holistic and relational character of Ubuntu. 

He explained how some prominent understandings of Ubuntu where he tried to rely – as far as possible – on voices who know Ubuntu from lived experience He compared how the concept of Ubuntu can help solve the U.N sustainable development goals.

Though each country is tackling the pandemic in her own way, there is a shared level of knowledge and practices-somehow interdependent on each other. Again, the pandemic is a communicable disease which can easily be transferred from one person to a lot of people at a time.  The survival of the masses may therefore be dependent on infected individuals who isolate themselves after experiencing symptoms or after a travel to a risk country. This call for the term Ubuntu said one of the speakers. It has been very common globally where an infected individual has unknowingly transferred COVID-19 Virus to others. Our chance of control of the pandemic depends on the reactions and the efforts an infected person will play-the rest depend on this.

The notion of ‘Development ‘ in Ubuntu was to tell Africans to plan and decide what will help accelerate development and peaceful co-existence without any influence from the Western wings and also based on what they think is right. 
African countries such as Kenya have been receiving continuous support from European countries such as Germany. During this COVID-19 period, a lot of NGOs are offering the necessary support to Africans as a mutual co-operation benefit; the sense of UBUNTU. 
Open forum

Under general discussion of other items, I led in the discussion of how Ubuntu contributes to the self-development of Africa. Though many African countries are independent, we strongly depend on funds from the Global North for our development especially in times of pandemic. The global South which should have been able to rise to the development ladder due to their abundant resources have been unwilling to initiate the development. They obtain the needed support from the Global North and hence they see it as no need to develop their own. The Global South sees themselves as ‘’they  are’’ because the developed Global North ‘’are there for their survival’’ which is a misconstruction of thought. 

A participant raised concern as to how the developed countries see themselves as developed and other African countries as developing. He argued that, the measures for determining the development for Global North and Global South must be separated so each part measures her own development.
Achievements

In this year’s conference, the motion of changing the name of ANSA from Alumni Netzwerk Sub-sahara Afrika(ANSA) e.V to Alumni Netwerk Students of Africa (ANSA) was moved by the majority of the participants. The idea is to maintain the same abbreviation ‘ANSA’. This change in name was necessary to embrace a larger community of members. I also joined the media team of the ANSA to facilitate live broadcast of events.

The ANSA North and the ANSA South were formed so we can meet on period bases to discuss ANSA.

(Changed: 2021-08-19)