“The topics of Africa Day and Embracing Diversity are very interesting, but too huge for the small space we have”. – Alois Rwiyegura.

We had a chat with Alois Rwiyegura – a brilliant writer, author and trainer at Leading Language, about Africa Day and this is what he shared with us.

How do you feel about Africa Day – do you think it is relevant in 2022 and in South Africa?
Calling it Africa Day or Liberation Day is meaningless to me. I would find it meaningful if they called it “Solidarity Day” or “Africa Solidarity Day”. Whatever has been achieved couldn’t have been done without solidarity between African nations, and between them and various other actors.

The day is still quite relevant as a symbol, and it should also be seen as an opportunity to reflect on what has been achieved, what should have been achieved, what prevented the realisation of further achievements, and what can be changed so that those things can also be achieved. Whether we are doing enough to achieve what is needed, or whether we are doing enough to nurture the talents that could help us to reach our goals, amongst other things, should be the questions we ask ourselves on this day. For South Africa, the day should have a particularly special meaning.

In what ways do you think South Africans can embrace diversity, not only on this day but beyond/in our daily lives?

Through the promotion of internal and external encounters at many levels; arts and culture should play a big role in this. But this won’t be easy, or even possible, if the authorities are not creative enough to tap into whatever is available in terms of openness and goodwill. The honest teaching of history is crucial for the success of such a project.

The intention behind this day and its creation by the AU, was to fight colonialism and apartheid. Has this been successful, or do we still have a long way to go?

To some extent we have, but not to acknowledge that we haven’t been successful to the degree that we should have been would be naïve triumphalism. We still have a long, long, long way to go. Do we really want to change things for the better? Do we have enough goodwill and discipline to go for it? There are so many questions one struggles with.

Do you feel seen and embraced, as part of the Leading Language team? In what ways can we truly “embrace diversity at work”?

Yes, I do! People at Leading Language are great people! We just need to find a way of overcoming the extreme limits imposed on us by the covid pandemic and try to come together, create stronger synergies and explore how far they can take us as a group. I don’t think virtual encounters are capable of achieving this.

Your last comments?
In French, we say: “Abondance de biens ne nuit pas”. This is to answer your question about being “seen and embraced”. I wouldn’t mind being embraced more!