Professor Horace Campbell Delivers Valedictory Lecture

Professor Horace Campbell

 

 

The Institute of African Studies has organized a valedictory lecture in honour of Professor Horace Campbell who was the third occupant of the Kwame Nkrumah Chair at the Institute on the topic: ‘Environmental Repair and the Regeneration of Africa: Urgency of the Pan African Approach’.

Welcoming all to the lecture, the Director of the Institute of African Studies, Professor Dzodzi Tsikata indicated that the Kwame Nkrumah Chair serves as a global source in the production, dissemination, and recovery of African-centered knowledge. She added that the Institute looks forward to the appointment of another suitable candidate, epitomizing the ideals and ideas of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah to succeed Professor Campbell.

Director of the Institute of African Studies, Professor Dzodzi Tsikata

Professor Samuel Agyei-Mensah, Provost of the College of Humanities, commended Professor Campbell for distinguishing himself creditably since taking over the Chair. According to him, Professor Campbell has provided not only visionary leadership but also projected the Chair and the University on various platforms through his insightful lectures across the globe.

In his opening remarks, the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Professor Ebenezer Oduro Owusu, who was Chairman for the lecture observed that Professor Campbell engaged in several academic collaborative programmes which greatly enhanced the reputation of the Institute of African Studies and the University in general. One such notable programmes is the Kwame Nkrumah African and Intellectual Festival which brings together scholars to engage in the regeneration of Africa.

Vice-Chancellor of the University, Professor Ebenezer Oduro Owusu

Mrs. Juliet Manteaw-Kutin, Head of Legal Services and Company Secretary of AngloGold Ashanti Ltd, a major benefactor of the Kwame Nkrumah Chair, emphasized the company’s interest and commitment to the promotion of environmental friendly mining as well as environmental protection in general. She congratulated Prof. Campbell on his exemplary leadership throughout his tenure.

Mrs. Juliet Manteaw-Kutin, Head of Legal Services and Company Secretary of AngloGold Ashanti Ltd

Enlightening guests on the topic, Prof. Campbell noted that the emergence of colonialism disrupted and broke down the human controlled ecological system; hence Africans became disenfranchised forfeiting their right to hunt, fish, and work and were instead coerced to produce cheap labour. According to him, large scale mining, urbanization and industrialisation were major catastrophic activities which resulted in the destruction of the environment.

Prof. Campbell highlighted some factors that led to the ecological collapse stressing that the imperialist partitioning of Africa and wars of Military domination had grievous impact on Africa by collapsing the environment of humans and agricultural production. According to him, although the Pan Africans intervened to end colonial and industrial revolution which was perceived as progress, this transformed the planet from water powered manufacturing to fossil fuel production. The excessive emissions of Carbon dioxide through the burning of the fossil fuels and its exacerbation by deforestation led to the change in climate resulting in global warming.  

Elaborating on the rise in global temperature, Prof. Campbell said the planet’s average surface temperature has risen to about 1.1 oC since the late 19th century with most of the warming occurring in the past 35 years. According to him, not only was 2016 the warmest year on record, but eight of the twelve months from January to September with the exception of June were the warmest on record.

Prof. Campbell further cited the rising temperatures, droughts, melting of ice on Mt. Kilimanjaro and drying up of Lake Chad as some of the signs of global warming in Africa. He recalled how farmers, fishermen and pastoralists greatly depended on the Lake which in the 1960s was home to about 135 species of fish for food and income. He argued that the Sustainable Development Goals which aimed at freeing the human race from the tyranny of poverty embodies widely recognized and profound contradiction between the pursuit of economic growth and the very notion of ecological sustainability.

Prof. Campbell believed that Ubuntu, a term that emphasizes the link between humanity and their intrinsic connection with a complex universe is required to repair global warming. According to him, there must be a new Pan Africanism across borders as well as international cooperation, conversion and a new mode of Economics with much investment channeled to caring instead of killing. He further recommended reforestation and green walls, water harvesting and storage, integrated canal system, irrigation and integrated management of soil and water as elements to focus on in regenerating Africa.

Prof. Campbell concluded with Thomas Sankara’s call on Africans to invent the future by eradicating corruption, fighting environmental degradation, empowering women, increasing access to education and health care with the goal of liquidating imperial domination. According to him, if the Baobab tree which has a lifespan of 1000 years and serves as a great source of food, medicine, shelter and income is beginning to die, then, a Pan African movement is needed to secure Earth’s bounty and beauty for present and future generations by respecting and caring for the community of life.

The lecture, which brought together members of the University community was interspersed with poetry recital, drum appellation and a choreographic performance by the Ghana Dance Ensemble.

In his closing remarks, Professor Ebenezer Oduro Owusu questioned the readiness of all Africans to adapt to climate change, as pollution is currently on the rise through unguarded activities.

 

Professor Ebenezer Oduro Owusu receiving a gift from Professor Campbell on behalf of the University