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Release: April 13, 2000

African professor, writer Mzamane is keynote speaker for UI Africa Week

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Mbulelo Mzamane, an African writer and scholar and former vice chancellor and rector at the University of Fort Hare in South Africa, will be the keynote speaker for University of Iowa's Africa Week April 17–22. Mzamane's talk, "The African Renaissance in the New Millennium" will be Monday April 17 at 7:30 p.m. in 106 Gilmore Hall on the UI campus.

In 1994 Mzamane was appointed the first post-apartheid vice chancellor and rector of the University of Fort Hare, South Africa's oldest and most prestigious historically Black institution, whose alumni include former South African President Nelson Mandela and many other important political leaders throughout Africa. He is also a professor in the department of English studies and comparative literature.

Mzamane has been appointed by Mandela and by current South African President Thabo Mbeki as a member of the Arts, Culture and Heritage Commission of the African Renaissance, the Heraldry Council and the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC). He also serves as chairman of the board of directors of the Institute for the Advancement of Journalism and the non-executive director of both the National Education Group and Nolwalzi Publishers.

Mzamane has published several works, most of which were banned in apartheid South Africa. They include "Mzala: The Short Stories of Mbulelo Mzamane," "My Cousin Comes to Jo'burg and Other Stories," "The Children of Soweto: A Trilogy," "The Children of the Diaspora and Other Stories of Exile," "Race, Ethnicity, and the American Context," and "Images of the Voiceless: Essays on Popular Culture and Art," among others.

Mzamane's talk is sponsored by the International Writing Program, International Programs, the African Association, and PASALA, the Project for Advanced Study of Art and Life in Africa.

Other events scheduled for Africa Week include:

April 18: "States, Constitutions and Ethnic Relations in Africa," a lecture by Pita Ogaba Agbese, professor of political science at University of Northern Iowa, at 7:30 p.m., in the Indiana Room of the Iowa Memorial Union.

April 19: "Confronting the Stereotypes and Bridging the Gap," an open dialogue for African/African-Americans April 19, at 7:30 p.m. in the Afro House. In light of the recent racist emails directed at the UI College of Dentistry, dialogue guests will discuss ways to dispel stereotypes they have of each other and to bridge the gap that exists between themselves.

April 20: An "Africa's Birth of a Being Day" celebration including distribution of flowers on the Pedestrian Mall in downtown Iowa City to celebrate the birth of humanity.

A discussion and Malian art demonstration, "Bogolan (Mudcloth) from Mali" at 7:30 p.m. in the Minnesota Room of the Iowa Memorial Union.

April 21: A screening of the movie "Genesis", a retelling of the book of Genesis' story of Jacob and Esau, at 9:30 p.m., in the UI Bijou theatre Terrace Room of the Iowa Memorial Union.

April 22: A soccer match, "Africans vs. Arabs" at 3 p.m. at the UI Hawkeye Fields.

An African/Indian social function from 10 p.m. – 3 a.m. at the UI Native American Latino House. Varieties of music including reggae, salsa, zuk and Indian music will help conclude Africa Week.

For questions about Africa Week, contact the UI African Association at 335-2869.