350th anniversary of Nzinga Mbandi’s death and 100th anniversary of Aimé Césaire’s birth celebrated at UNESCO

Extract of the comic strip "Nzinga Mbandi, Queen of Ndongo and Matamba", Women in African History: an E-learning Tool. © UNESCO/Pat Masioni

UNESCO and the Permanent Delegation of Angola celebrated the 350th anniversary of Nzinga Mbandi’s death and the 100th anniversary of Aimé Césaire’s birth, on 17 December 2013, at UNESCO Headquarters.

“The shortest and safest path leading to the future always goes through a better knowledge of the past,” recalled Mr Beseat Kiflé Selassié, quoting Aimé Césaire, during his opening speech. Through its programme of anniversaries and the celebration of key historical figures, UNESCO wishes to provide answers that draw on shared humanism and contribute to the rise of a new understanding of societies and the world.

A woman from the 17th century, a man from the 20th century; the first is Angolan, the second is French from Martinique; their respective stories confirm the relevancy of UNESCO’s mission in search for peace: “Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed.”

Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, opening the celebration of the 350th anniversary of Nzinga Mbandi’s death and the 100th anniversary Aimé Césaire’s birth, 17 December 2013. © Marcelo Nlele Presscrea

On the occasion of this celebration, opened by Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO, the artistic and pedagogical resources on Nzinga Mbandi of the project “Women in African History: an E-learning Tool” were introduced and screened (comic strip, pedagogical unit, soundtrack, etc.).

 This multimedia platform, produced by UNESCO in the framework of the Priority Africa Platform, showcases a selection of African women or women of African descent central to the history of Africa and its diaspora. Nzinga Mbandi is one of the key figures of the project: this African Queen, who was an outstanding diplomat and cultivated woman of letters, emerged during the 17th century as a powerful political figure in her region.

The e-learning platform is part of The Pedagogical Use of the General History of Africa and responds to the need of pedagogical resources on this key historical figure of Angolan history. It promotes the use of Communication and Information Technologies (ICTs) and Open Educational Resources (OERs) for knowledge acquisition and sharing. 

The celebration ended with a musical tale on Nzinga Mbandi and Aimé Césaire by Ms Evelyne Pélérin Ngo Maa, Mr Christophe Césaire (keyboards) and Mr Joseph Ntari (drums).

Home page of the e-module on Nzinga Mbandi, Women in African History: an E-learning Tool. © UNESCO

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