MIDRAND, SOUTH AFRICA – President of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP), Chief Fortune Zephania Charumbira, has reaffirmed the institution’s commitment to aligning with African Union (AU) priorities, particularly the 2024 theme: “Educate an African fit for the 21st Century.”

He made the remarks while presiding over the 3rd Ordinary Session of the Sixth Parliament currently underway in Midrand South Africa.

Charumbira emphasized the need to decolonize education systems in Africa, promoting heritage-based education that supports economic development. He cited notable African authors and scholars, highlighting the detrimental effects of colonial education on African development.

“This session is predicated

on the African Union Theme of the Year for 2024: “Educate an African fit

for the 21st Century: Building resilient education systems for increased

access to inclusive, lifelong, quality, and relevant learning in Africa.”

” I believe this theme is appropriate and relevant now more than ever for the

entire Union. Justifiably, the first three decades of the African Union were

focused on the fight against colonialism. Africa is indeed politically

“independent,” but I believe we still need to decolonize our education systems and focus on heritage – based education that supports the economic

development of Africa.

” I am reminded of the words of the late great Zimbabwean author and poet,

Dambudzo Marechera, who said “The colonial system of education was

driven by the political needs of the whites to create a black population

deranged to passivity by self – disgust and an acquiescent acceptance of

western cultural and racial superiority.”

This explains why to this day our children in nursery school still sing

“Christopher Columbus was a great man. He came to America in the

saucepan” – a song which clearly advances the false narrative that Columbus discovered America let alone questioning the value of such education to the

development of Africa.

Professor Walter Rodney in his seminal book How Europe Underdeveloped

Africa rightly said, “Colonial education was education for subordination,

exploitation, the creation of mental confusion and the development of


“Beyond the rhetoric, Africa must take concrete steps in decolonizing

education, making sure that heritage – based education is accessible to every

child and developing academic curricula which are relevant and spur

economic growth, sustainable development and prosperity in Africa. I, therefore, commend the Union for coming up with this timely theme and

encourage all of us to fully apply ourselves in debating this topic.”

The PAP President commended the AU for the timely theme and encouraged robust debates and discussions during the plenary session. The session will also address continental integration, peace and security, climate change, and other relevant issues.

Charumbira’s commitment signals a renewed focus on African-led development and education that prioritizes the continent’s heritage and economic growth. This alignment with AU priorities is expected to foster a more united and prosperous Africa.