Pritoria, 12 March 2010 (Somalilandpress) – Speech by Minister Collins Chabane on the occasion of the book launch on Somaliland by Professor Iqbal Jhazbhay; UNISA: “There are now three states out of Somalia, namely Somalia of Mogadishu, Somalia of Djibouti and Somaliland of Hargeisa.”
Professor Louise Molamu, Registrar of the University of South Africa
Professor Rosemary Moeketsi, Executive Dean of Human Sciences
Professor Iqbal Jhazbhay, Author of the Book we are launching today, and his wife Naseema Docrat
Distinguished Ambassadors and High Commissioners
Professor Chris Landsberg of the University of Johannesburg
Dr. Nomfundo Ngwenya of the South African Institute of International Relations
Ladies and Gentlemen
We are today at the University of South Africa (UNISA), a leading long distance learning institution with footprints across the continent, to launch an academic study of one of the countries in the Horn of Africa, Somalia with particular emphasis on Somaliland. This study by one of the sons of Africa, Professor Iqbal Jhazbhay has been titled “Somaliland: An African Struggle for Nationhood and International Recognition”.
UNISA as it is known, has been at the forefront and a pioneer of African studies for many years and is the only African university with a learning centre in Addis Ababa and many learning centers across South Africa.
In November last year, we had gathered again in this very same university, on the occasion of the International Sudan Studies Conference under the theme “The future of Sudan to 2011 and beyond: African dimensions of peace, stability, justice and reconciliation”. The conference was convened to examine what had happened with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and where it is taking Sudan, which is currently preparing for democratic elections, marking the progress of the African people towards peace and stability.
Both these gatherings about countries of the Horn of Africa, demonstrates the commitment of the South African government, the country and its people in building a better Africa and a better world. The prosperity of Africa will translate into a better Africa and a better world and South Africa remains committed to this objective.
President Jacob Zuma, since he came into office, has consistently emphasised the importance of a government that is responsive and caring to its people and implementation orientated. This was demonstrated with the establishment of the planning and monitoring and evaluation ministries in the Presidency. The aim is to ensure that the state is firmly focused on its mandate and deliver to its citizens, but most importantly that we build a developmental state which responds to people needs.
This government has placed central to its priorities, improvement of healthcare, job creation, rural development, the fight against crime and most importantly education. We need to ensure that our education system produces learners who can fill the skills gap in the country and help us build a prosperous developmental state. The education system should provide technical skills to the economy but equally important academics like Professor Iqbal Jhazbhay, who can also assist the continent in properly documenting and preserving our history including that of the continent.
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As the ministry, we have a responsibility to ensure that we monitor and evaluate the work of government and make sure that government meets its developmental objectives. Our work, we believe, will ensure that government remains firm on its priorities and build a governance system which is driven by people’s needs.
Somaliland as we know it today has emerged from breaking away from the union government following independence from its colonial past. There are now three states out of Somalia, namely Somalia of Mogadishu, Somalia of Djibouti and Somaliland of Hargeisa. Today we celebrate a detailed and highly informative study of the Somaliland since independence, its history and its quest for international recognition.
The study traces the history and successes of state formation and state building and looks at the emerging success story in Africa of state formation. We as South Africans know the challenges pertaining to state building, from need to undo apartheid laws and replacing them with more progressive laws, more recently the challenges of focused and coordinated governance, strategic planning and monitoring and evaluation. The study takes us through a historical journey of the internal struggles in what was viewed as the most successful attempt at re-drawing of colonial demarcation at independence. The study is a classical way of how African people can create and construct its own state, through a people-centered approach to prosperity.
Professor Jhazbhay in putting together this important work, he has conducted interviews with among others, former heads of state, ministers, diplomats, Somali studies experts and other academics such as heads of research institutions that are highly knowledgeable and well respected.
This study should be welcomed and encouraged by all of us, as we preserve the real story of Africa through African eyes, than the historical colonial approach. The progress made by Somaliland to lead its state to prosperity is commendable and, we owe it to African academics like Professor Iqbal Jhazbhay to further enhance the study of our own continent. We should all of us, South Africans included, draw from the lessons and experiences of the Somaliland to build a developmental state that is responsive to people’s needs.
The issue of independence and international recognition of Somaliland is, of course, a matter which the international community is ceased with. The African Union report following the fact finding mission to Somaliland conducted in 2005 is a case in point. It is a demonstration of the complexities and difficulties in addressing the Somali issue. The report makes the observation and recommendation that the issue should be discussed and addressed in an objective manner taking into consideration historical facts. Somaliland’’s destiny must be determined in the broader process of resolving the bigger Somali issue. A piecemeal approach would set us up for later conflicts. The Transitional Federal Government has firmly stated that Somaliland is part of Somalia and its destiny is to be determined by all Somalis.
The South African government is of the view that there should be peace and prosperity in the Horn of Africa as is continually ceased with the situation in Sudan and the Somali issue is of no exception.
Today let us all welcome this study, the work of Professor Jhazbhay and let it be our reference as we address the Somali issue. This book strengthens the case for all of us to educate ourselves and fellow Africans about our history, our experiences and our commitment for a better Africa and a better world. Because of our past, South Africans do not focus much on broader African challenges to the extent that they do, their focus is on Zimbabwe, SADC and the African Union of which tend to dominate our media headlines.
We need to educate our nation that it moves beyond usual suspects which includes Europe, America but start to focus on Africa in particular on areas such as the sub-regions of Southern Africa, Central Africa, West Africa, North Africa and the Horn and East Africa and also include Asia.
We need to take such studies into our classrooms and newsrooms to educate societies of Africa and showcase good success stories and similarly challenges we face in developing a better and prosperous Africa.
I thank you