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20 May 2014

Mbeki and former AU SG to open international academic conference

Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)
Press Release

To mark the official opening of the 4th Annual African Unity for Renaissance Conference and Africa Day Expo, South African former President HE Thabo Mbeki will share the podium with Dr Salim Ahmed Salim, former Organisation of African Unity’s (OAU) Secretary General. In this ceremony, former President Mbeki will reflect on the ‘African Solution for African Problems’ (ASAP) and the African Union (AU) while Dr Salim will focus on the ‘ASAP’ and the OAU.

The facilitated conversation between these two former heads will be attended by more than 100 scholars, social activists, government and business leaders from all corners of Africa and the world over, expected to converge in Pretoria from 22 – 25 May 2014 to hold a debate on the search for ASAP in the context of the fast changing global environment that is sweeping Africa.

The three day gathering to be held at St George Hotel in Pretoria is a global conference even thou the focus will be on African issues.

Details of the event:
Date: 22 – 24 May (Conference) and 25 May (Africa Day Expo) 2014
Time: 08h00 – 17h00 daily
Venue: Saint George Hotel and Conference Centre, Pretoria (58 Doornkloof, Goede Hoop Avenue, M57 Rietvleidam)
More info:  https://www.hsrc.ac.za/en/events/events/au-for-renaissance

“The conference offers an opportunity for Africa to learn from the experiences elsewhere and to share Africa’s experience with the rest of the world,” said the HSRC Chief Executive Officer, Prof  Olive Shisana.

This academic conference will culminate on 24 May 2014, with the launch of an African Renaissance and Unity Manifesto in the form of the 4th Tshwane Declaration that will help chart the way forward in Africa’s quest for greater integration and ultimate economic and political unity faster and deeper.

On Sunday, 25 May 2014, the organisers will hold the Africa Day Expo at Kara Heritage Institute (KHI). The expo will include exhibitions from various African communities, Government departments, Embassies, African cultural dancers and live performance by African artists.

It is therefore hoped that the Expo will create awareness about Africa and its citizens as well as the international community, showcasing the diversity of the continent through exhibition and speeches.

The event is organised by the Africa Institute of South Africa (AISA) a new division of the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) in collaboration with the City of Tshwane (CoT), Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), Kara Heritage Institute (KHI), University of Johannesburg (UJ), Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute (TMALI), Ditsong National Cultural Museum of South Africa, The International Council for Science-Regional Office for Africa (ICSU-ROA), National Research Foundation (NRF), the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Statistics South Africa, Department of International Relations Cooperation (DIRCO), Department of Public Enterprise (DPE), Brand South Africa, South African National Space Agency (SANSA) and SABC Channel Africa.
AISA, a new division of the HSRC is dedicated to knowledge production, education, training and the promotion of awareness on African affairs for Africans and the international community.

For media RSVP and enquiries contact: Mr Adziliwi Nematandani on
Cell: 0827659191     Tel. 012 304 9729     Email: media@ai.org.za

To view the programme, please check the link: https://www.hsrc.ac.za/en/events/events/au-for-renaissance
Kindly note that the opening programme on 22 May starts at 16h30 and ends at 20h00

Note to the Editor:

The last four years of the African Liberation Day has been celebrated in South Africa by organising a series of international conferences focusing first on the 125 years of the Scramble for Africa followed by the Africa Union ten years after. The Third conference was on the OAU/AU@50 and the current 4th conference is on OAU/AU@ 50 and Beyond paying attention to the issue of finding African solutions to African problems (ASAP). The conference has attracted delegates across Africa and the African Diaspora world. Two books have been already published and the third book will be published this year. The output from the 4th conference is likely to be even more in terms of both publications and policy impact.

Africa originated everything; but it also suffered from a form of oppression that denied not only the civilisation, philosophies and knowledge that originated from her, but also African humanity has been thingified and commodified to a point that Africa suffered from 1500 to the 20th century the slavery, colonial, apartheid and imperialism onslaught.

Africa has now formally come out of   slavery, colonialism and apartheid, but we cannot fully say Africa has extricated herself from imperialism, neo-colonialism and the domination of the coloniality of the mind.

Africa originated the collective, communal and associational value, and principle unlike the values and principles that dominate social and economic life now based on individual interests for the pursuit of instrumental and calculative non- associational lives. Africa has deep values such as “I am because you are; instrumental and individual centred values that dominate the current world are based on I consume therefore I am and I think therefore I am”. There is thus much Africa can contribute by  not only rejecting the way it has been rejected, dehumanised and oppressed but also by   promoting the moral and spiritual radiance of its deep associational and no-instrumental values to  make a better Africa and  world.

The deep philosophies of Ubuntu, Maat, Ethiopianism, Pan-Africanism and the African Renaissance founded on the associational and communal foundation of being human provide the liberation power not only for Africans but all humans. The freedom of Africa is the freedom of humanity as a whole. So the 4th Unity for Renaissance conference is very special for all who join and are invited to interrogate where Africa has been in the past, where it is at present and where it is going by interconnecting them to advance a new trajectory for African pride and dignified development and wellbeing.

South Africa plays a special role in this journey. It has gone through very protracted and difficult conflict and managed to avoid the paradigm of war and guns by choosing the paradigm of peace and reconciliation. It has inherited the values of Ubuntu, Maat, Ethiopianism and its leaders have been the principal advocates of the African Renaissance.

Issued by the Africa Institute of South Africa (AISA) division of the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)

South Africa just went through its fifth election without any hitches and glitches. The election is fully free and fair. South Africa is truly an exemplary African country that combines of values of tradition with modernity and can be a leading Pan-African inspiration for the whole Africana world.

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