Conference on “The Pan-African Pantheon”

From 16 to 18 June 2017, the Institute for Pan-African Thought and Conversation hosted a three-day conference on “The Pan-African Pantheon”. Thirty-five prominent African and Diaspora scholars from Africa, the Caribbean, the United States, and Europe presented papers on a range of carefully selected topics including broad themes such as the pioneers of Pan-Africanism; politicians and activists; political scientists, sociologists, historians, and economists; philosophers; literati; and musical activists.

The conference was a concrete initiative aimed at contributing to the efforts made by UJ and other South African universities to decolonise the academic curriculum, and to ensure that the epistemologies underpinning their syllabi reflect their African contexts.

By adopting an interdisciplinary approach, and focusing on history, politics, sociology, economics, philosophy, literature and music, the project also sought to make a comprehensive and holistic effort to contribute to the transformation of South Africa’s curriculum. An edited book will be produced after the conference, and will be widely disseminated across Africa and its Diaspora.

The conference fulfilled an important aspect of the mission of UJ’s Pan-African Institute: to build bridges with institutions in all five African subregions as well as key Diaspora intellectual communities in the United States, the Caribbean and Europe. These collaborations reflect the cultural diversity of Pan-Africanism, encompassing the anglophone, francophone, lusophone, and arabophone worlds. This project represented an ambitious effort to create a ‘Johannesburg School of Pan-Africanism’ that can revive Pan-Africanism as a civil society movement linking actors from Africa and its Diaspora.

The conference was open to students, faculty, and other university staff at UJ; members of the broader academic, civil society, and business communities in Gauteng and beyond; members of the general public; government officials; and diplomats. Gauteng-based Pan-African media were invited to cover the event. The conference was also filmed so that all or part of it, as well as the edited volume, could later be used as teaching aid at universities and schools in South Africa, Africa, and the Diaspora.

For a Concept Note on the conference, click here.

For the Agenda, click here.

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Launch of book about Ali Mazrui

A BOOK commemorating the life and work of Ali Mazrui was launched at the University of Johannesburg on Thursday 20 March 2017. The launch was hosted by IPATC and African Perspectives Publishing, in partnership with the UJ Library.

Entitled A Giant Tree Has Fallen: Tributes to Ali Mazrui, the book comprises more than 130 tributes by people ranging from presidents to the press. It also features a preface by the co-editors – Seifudein Adem, Jideofor Adibe, Abdul Karim Bangura, and Abdul Samed Bemath – and a foreword by Salim Ahmed Salim, former Secretary-General of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU). Details are as follows:

The launch was chaired by Rose Francis, of African Perspectives Publishing. It started with the screening screening of the documentary The Africans: In Search of Stability, followed by a dialogue session. The speakers were:

  • Abdul Bemath, Ali Mazrui’s Bibliographer, Johannesburg
  • Prof Mathatha Tsedu, School of Literature, Language, and Media, University of the Witwatersrand
  • Prof Gilbert Khadiagala, Department of International Relations, University of the Witwatersrand
  • Prof Adekeye Adebajo, Director, Institute for Pan-African Thought and Conversation, University of Johannesburg
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Obama’s Africa legacy

 

ON 7 February 2017, IPATC hosted a Public Dialogue on ‘Obama’s Africa Legacy: a Triumph of Symbolism?’

The event provoked considerable interest, and diplomats, academics, students, and others crowded into the Chinua Achebe Auditorium in the UJ Library to listen to introductory presentations by Prof Adekeye Adebajo, Director of IPATC, and John Stremlau, Visiting Professor at the University of the Witwatersrand.

The event started with the screening of a documentary entitled ‘Senator Obama goes to Africa’, followed by the presentations, and a lively discussion. The audience included former first lady Zanele Mbeki and officials from the embassies of the US, Sweden and Nigeria.

The Dialogue was chaired by Prof Chris Landsberg, holder of the NRF Chair for African Diplomacy and Foreign Policy at UJ. For media coverage, click here.

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