African Society at Montana State University

Minutes – January 19, 2013

Minutes of the African Society Meeting at Montana State University held on 19th January, 2013.

Members present:

                                                                        Tel. No.                                                      e-mail address

Herve’ K. Wakitambo                                     406 595 0956                          

Julio Benavides                                                      406 589 4231                          

Becky Mantha                                                      406 925 0870                          

David Mantha                                                       406 865 0345                          

Steve Durbin                                                      406 587 3911 (H)        

Bukola Saliv                                                      406 589 5468                          

Henry Kiprop Kolum                                    406 595 1877                          

Jassiel M’soka                                                      406 551 3914                          

Patricia Mathabe                                    406 551 4905                          

Wigganson Matandiko                                    704 957 7421                          



Apologies tendered




The meeting was called to order by the interim President M’s Patricia Mathabe with welcoming remarks. This was followed by introduction of the members present and reading of the agenda items. Appeal was made for any additions or subtractions to the agenda. One item was added to the agenda and that is the launch of the African society at Montana State University.


There was no reading of the previous meeting minutes as the secretariat was reported to have resigned at short notice. The chairperson then directed the meeting to the agenda items after acceptance the house.




Agenda Item                  1. Food Bazaar


The chair informed the house that there will be three stalls to be represented by Ethiopia, South Africa and Congo DR. This is considered an improvement because last year there was only one stall that was set up. The dishes that were approved are chicken curry and rice (South Africa), Peanut Chicken with jollo fries (Congo DR), Spicy Chicken (Ethiopia). The chair informed the house that there will be communal cooking within the Kitchen facilities in the Sub building and appealed to all for help with the cooking. It was also proposed and agreed that shopping for the eventful bazaar will be carried out on the 14th of February, 2013. The cooking is however only scheduled for Friday, 15th of February at 5 pm. The chair said that there is an online training on food handling that all participants are expected to undertake.


There will also be need to decorate the stalls with African artifacts (carvings, painted drums, baskets etc.) alongside an African theme that we should all think about.


Agenda Item                   2                  African Film Festival


Dr. Julio Benavides informed the house that a film festival is being planned for the ASAMSU to host. To this effect, films were being sought for the purpose. Suggestion to include films show casing African music icons from Mali, Niger and Congo DR was also tabled. The shows are primarily meant for making the ASAMSU known as well as raise some money for the society with entry fees of between $2 to $3 per person. The possible venue for the event is the Procrastinator and inquiry on the matter would be made.  It was suggested that adverts for the festival could be posted to the Bozeman Chronicles and the Bozon where it is free.

An appeal was made for any other ideas on the films to be displayed and to forward such to Dr. Benavides.


Agenda item                   3                  BSTEP – Black Science Technology and Engineering Professionals


In 2012, towards the end of the spring semester, the African Society at Montana State University (MSU) pursued an offer made by BSTEP (Black Science Technology and Engineering Professionals), a non-profit organization based in South Africa on possible student exchange program. Professor Thembela Hillie, one of the co-founders of BSTEP travelled to Montana in the first week of May, 2012 to initiate the negotiations. The departments visited include, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Ecology, Physics, Plant Sciences and Center for Biological Engineering.

The main objective of this project is to bring at least 10 South African students for a 3-month internship during summer or fall 2013, with the possibility of a future Master and/or PhD opportunity for these students, depending on the results of this first phase. Additionally, students from MSU could also be hosted by South-African universities. The agreement, in principle, between B-Step and MSU is that B-Step will cover all expenses for the students, whereas MSU could offer a possible tuition waver. Then, if some students are later proposed with a Masters position, MSU could help in providing TA positions for them.

The matter was left in the hands of the then incumbent dean of graduate studies, Dr. Carl Fox, who promised to have a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Montana State University and BSTEP endorsed by both parties.  In view of the fact that nothing has transpired, the interim President was tasked to find out from the former dean of graduate studies Dr. Karl Fox on where the matter ended before making arrangement to meet with the current dean.

Dr. Benavides also made offer to contact the ASAMSU advisor, Professor Scott Creel to set appointment on behalf of the society. It was left to Dr. Benavides and the interim President to liaise on the matter.

Agenda item 4 Water Project

In order to promote hygiene in some disadvantaged African communities, a safe water project was proposed by Dr. Benavides were the society could raise funds for procuring water filters for groups that are known to be disadvantaged. It was observed that some of the disadvantaged communities are those of refugees in Mali, Burkina Faso, Benin and Niger.  In order to undertake this project the society needs local partners such as the Red Cross operating in countries with identified refugee crisis compounded with water sanitation inadequacy. An official letter would have to be generated from the society asking the local partner to confirm our participation in improving water sanitation for refugees or other identified groups that might be in need. Dr. Benavides was requested to draft the letter on behalf of the interim President that was to be sent to either Niger or Burkina Faso Red Cross.

Agenda item 5 Coordinating with other Societies in Africa

It was observed that there are other established organizations that already have links and are operational in Africa, such as Engineers without borders. The meeting was also informed about the professor who has been taking students to Africa for short- term service. Dr. Benavides offered to make an appointment for the society to seek audience with representatives of Engineers without Borders. The objective is to consult on how they operate. Lessons learnt could then be adopted to suit the society’s plans.

It was also agreed that the society can in future partner with those already engaged in similar projects so that the society acts as synergy rather than re-inventing the wheel.

Agenda item 6 Chocolate sells 

The interim President was approached by a chocolate manufacturing agent involved in sells strictly linked to fund raising for a specific goal. The chocolate is packaged in quantities of thirty (30) bars and sold at $2:00 per bar. According to the agreement the pack sells for $60 of which half can be retained and the other half remitted to the agent. The labels on the chocolate are also custom made to advertise the project towards which the funds are being realized. For the society to enter in this agreement there has to be a project in place (such as the one suggested on water filters for the disadvantaged in Africa). It was generally agreed that sells of the chocolates could be targeted for the film festival but first after obtaining official response from identified partners in Africa for the water project.



Agenda item 7 Website

The house was informed that the website has been developed with the courtesy of Dr. Steve Durbin. The main objective of the website is to have a place where the society can make itself known. The site can be modified to include blog posts, adverts, and the proposed water project ( and contact persons for the society). Dr. Durbin requested for contents that could be posted on the website. The interim President emphasized the need to have the website finalized and uploaded before the International Food Bazaar scheduled for 16th of February, 2013.

The meeting was also informed that all communication would have to bear the society logo. Dr. Durbin was tasked with sending the link for the Website to all the society members.

Action item 8 Finance    

The house was informed of the resignation of Mr. Sydney Akapame from the post of Treasurer. Mr. David Mantha was nominated to occupy the post in place of Mr. Sydney Akapame. To this effect the interim vice- President was tasked with conducting hand over as well as drafting the letter to Wells Fargo Bank for inclusion of Mr. Mantha as new signatory to the society account.  The interim President requested for a review of our financial standing in view of the coming Food Bazaar.

Agenda item                  9                  Activities for the African Society


As part of team building for the society members, the following recreation activities were proposed to be undertaken:

  1. Bowling game
  2. Skiing
  3. Visit to Yellowstone
  4. Ice skating
  5. Soccer

The following were tasked to organize the activities listed above:

Activity (i) M’s Patricia Mathabe,

Activity (ii) Mr Herve’ K. Wakitambo

Activity (iii),(iv) and (v) Dr. Julio Benavides


On 16th February, 2013 during the International Food Bazaar, Africa will be hosting the final game that will determine continent’s Football champions. It was proposed that a television could be set up on one of the stalls for the society to show case African talent in football.


Agenda item 10 Society Membership Fees


It was agreed upon to request for a membership fee of $10 per semester from society members. However, this will not be made mandatory. Mr. David Mantha was tasked to write to the society members for membership fee contribution as well as explain usage of such funds.





Agenda item                  11                  Forum for making known current events in Africa


A proposal for holding forum meeting with the objective of making known the current events in Africa was made.  Suggestions of the methodology was that of topical and / thematic or approach, followed by a 20 to 30 minutes debate. The other method suggested was that of holding a conference with speakers  invited. The issues to be discussed could be posted on the Website. It was proposed that such meetings could be targeted for once/month. The interim vice-President was tasked with spearheading this activity. A room would be sought where to hold the meeting and that free food will need to be organized for the event.


Agenda item                   12                  African Society at Montana State University Launch


It was felt that the society needed to make itself known by way of a big launch. The launch was targeted for the fall semester (September 2013). A committee was put in place to start organizing the launch.  The following are the members of the committee:


Mr. Jassiel Msoka

Dr. Julio Benavides

M’s Patricia Mathabe

Wigganson Matandiko


The committee is to plan for the launch and delegate were need be for other planning activities. It was also felt that the launch be carried out in conjunction with the African film festival. The committee will from time to time update the society members on the progress of the planning.


Agenda item 13 Election of Office bearers – ASAMSU


This item is to be the agenda for the next meeting. The positions that need to be filled by voting are that of President, Vice – President, Secretary and Treasurer.


It was suggested that candidates present themselves for a week before voting and voting will be done by e-mail to Mrs. Becker Benavides.


Agenda item 14                                    Date of next meeting and Venue


The next meeting was scheduled for 10th February, 2013.

Time: 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm

Venue: 109 Parsley Court, Apartment D (Courtesy of Mr. and Mrs Mantha)







Action items arising from the meeting that sat on 19th January, 2013

  1. Interim President (Ms’ Patricia Matlhabe) to contact Mr. Karl Fox (former dean of graduate studies) on the status of the MoU that was to be between BSTEP and MSU.


  1. Dr. Julio Benavides to contact Professor Creel (the society advisor) to set up appointment with the new dean of graduate studies – follow up what was to be the Memorandum of Understanding between BSTEP and MSU.


  1. Dr. Julio Benavides to draft letters on behalf of the President for sending to Red Cross Nigeria and Burkina Faso with proposal of water purification project for refugees in the respective countries.


  1. Dr. Julio Benavides to set up consultative appointment with Engineers without borders and one Lady Florence.


  1. Dr. Steven Durbin to send link to the African Society at MSU website.


  1. Wigganson Matandiko – Draft letter to the Manager Wells Fargo bank introducing Mr. David Mantha as incoming signatory replacing Mr. Sydney Akapane.


  1. Dr. Julio Benavides to coordinate visit to Yellowstone and Ice skating.


  1. Ms’ Patricia Matlhabe to coordinate on bowling game.


  1. Dr. Julio Benavides – Organize soccer team and venue for playing the football game.


  1. Mr. David Mantha to draft letter appealing for $10 membership fee for the Society as well as explain the usage.


  1. Wigganson Matandiko – Spearhead Forum for making known current events in Africa.


  1. Mrs. Becker Benavides – Election of office bearers – Vote on line and forwarding votes to her.


  1. Next meeting: Date 10th February, 2013; Venue: 109 Parsley Court, Apartment D (by courtesy of Mr. and Mrs. David Mantha). Time: 3pm to 6 pm