REPORT: The maiden celebrations of the Black History month in Japan

By Nixon Nembaware

Ambassador of Haiti in Japan,  Judith Exavier  with Nixon Nembaware, a Zimbabwean expatriate in Tokyo

Ambassador of Haiti in Japan,  Judith Exavier  with Nixon Nembaware, a Zimbabwean expatriate in Tokyo

The International Christian University also know as Kokusai Kiristokyo Daigaku in Japan organized two events for their first ever Black History Month celebration. The first event was a dialogue with Dr. Mohau Pheko, Ambassador of the Republic of South Africa to Japan who gave an open lecture on the legacy of Nelson Mandela and the history of black people in South Africa. This was followed by a dialogue with Ms. Judith Exavier, Ambassador of the Republic of Haiti to Japan. Ms Exavier delivered a talk on the history of the Black people in the Caribbean Island, its link to the history of slavery  as well as a look at the prospects that lie ahead for black people world over. 

The discussions opened up opportunities for questions around the relations between South African and it’s neighboring Zimbabwe. Issues around symbolic versus practical empowerment of black people in the SADC region were also discussed. Speaking about Mandela, Ambassador Pheko said "Mandela was just human like you and me, some of those things are myths that have developed over time and that's common for people of a public life like Mandela’s. Let me tell you, He was human like you and me, with all the human flaws, but he achieved a lot for South Africa and for the world and that stands out more."

By commemorating the black history month, International Christian University joined many institutions, organizations and communities world over who in February of every year gather to celebrate the history of the people of African descent. February is dedicated to honoring the memories of their ancestors, their struggles and their victories. The black history month has been celebrated for years around the world. The 2014 celebrations were especially unique because of the Golden Jubilee of Civil rights Movement in America and the passing on of Nelson Mandela a gallant black icon who led a determined fight against Apartheid in South Africa. For the ICU, this was the inaugural commemoration and a giant step for a liberal arts University, which fosters human rights and peace as well as promoting diversity in its various forms. ICU is located in Tokyo, one of the largest metropolitan cities of the world. The city has a significantly large population of people of African descent, among them students and staff of embassies and missions from America, Africa and Caribbean Islands.

Nixon Nembaware is a part of the team of Rotary World Peace Fellows who organized the Black History month activities. He strongly believes that now is the time for Africans to go out into the world and tell their own story in their own words and to see the world with their own eyes and derive meanings that make practical sense to them.