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African diplomat revisits Ball State

Botswana diplomat and 1986 Master's degree alumnus James Masisi
Botswana diplomat and 1986 Master's degree alumnus James Masisi is pictured with Garfield in his graduation attire.

The Ball State Alumni Center was the scene of great joy as alumnus and diplomat Motlhware "James" Masisi and his family made a sentimental visit to his American college home town on December 19, 2006. It was his first trip to Muncie since graduating in 1986 with a master's degree in executive development.

Masisi especially wanted his wife and three sons to visit his "friendship family", Dr. Richard and Mildred Artes. The Artes have kept in touch with scores of international students, many from Africa, they have befriended over their many years in the community.

  A special surprise awaited Masisi when his former professor Dr. Peter Murk arrived at the Alumni Center. Amidst laughter and embraces, memories of Masisi's college days at Ball State University were recalled. When asked why all his college –age children have studied in the USA, Masisi gave high credit to the higher education system in this country, saying "it opens your mind" in unique ways.

Masisi, whose fourteen year career in the Botswana diplomatic corps, will end this month as his country's high commissioner to the Republic of South Africa. His next post will be as Botswana's chief trade negotiator.

While posted to Pretoria as High Commissioner, Masisi met several Ball State alumni, including 1985 MPA graduate and key Swaziland civil servant Sandile Ceko; 1989 MS/91 MA graduate and consultant Koffi Kouaku; the head of South Africa's giant energy firm ESCOM and 1981 urban planning graduate Thulani Gcabashe; and longtime friends, pharmaceutical manufacturers executive Shadrack Mapetla (MS'80) and his wife Nomonde Mapetla (MA'80), the CEO of South Africa's Estate Agency Affairs Board. . The Mapetlas recently visited the U.S. and called Ball State officials to extend their greetings.

Upon return to Botswana, Masisi and his wife Naledi look forward to bringing together the nearly 10 Ball State alumni living in his country. In light of the Masisi's joyous attitude toward life, the event will not to be missed.

1986 alumnus James Masisi (R) shares happy memories with his professor, Dr. Peter Murs (L).
1986 alumnus James Masisi (R) shares happy memories with his professor, Dr. Peter Murk (L).
With professor Richard Artes in the background and surrounded by hiw wife and three sons, 1986 alumnus James Masisi (second from right) is welcomed to the Ball State Alumni Center.
With professor Richard Artes in the background and surrounded by his wife and three sons, 1986 alumnus James Masisi (second from right) is welcomed to the Ball State Alumni Center.