African Renaissance Conference 2018



Celebrating Africa Day

Africa Day, held annually on the 25  May is the annual commemoration of the 1963 founding of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), presently recognised as the African Union (AU). The commemoration is internationally renowned where, regardless of their location, Africans from all over the world celebrate the concept of African unison and revive their heritage.  

The African Union, comprised of 53 member states, has brought together the continent of Africa to collectively address the challenges it has faced, such as armed conflict, climate change, and poverty. Africa Day is a celebration of African unity and culture. 

Africa Day recognises the growth and development of Africans, facing the challenges of a global environment.

 The  annual African Renaissance Festival started in 1999 in KwaZulu-Natal, forms part of this celebration and continues to play a pivotal role in enhancing the social economic agenda of the region. The  Festival is  a celebration of Africa’s efforts to rebuild its confidence and better its resources. 

In 1999, the African Renaissance Conference was held under the theme: “Beyond Conflict”. Following years of conflict in South Africa, and in the Province of KwaZulu-Natal in particular, the moment had arrived for this Region to move on and put peace, democracy and development at the head of its agenda.

 Beyond Conflict was further developed in the year 2000, when it was contextualized within the dawn of the new Millennium namely “Beyond conflict in the New Millenium”. 

In 2001, the two crucial issues of poverty, and underdevelopment, were raised by President Thabo Mbeki as critical to the affirmation of the African Renaissance if properly addressed by citizens and effective states. 

In 2002, the theme, “Ibuya-Our Time Has Come”, was adopted to mark Africa’s return to the conglomeration of world nations. 

The African Renaissance 2003 was held under the theme, “Nepad: Quest For An African Renaissance”.

 In 2004, President Mbeki returned as keynote speaker and focused on Haiti with the problems of poverty and underdevelopment. 

The year 2005 marked the 50 th celebration of the Freedom Charter, and the theme “Reflecting on the Human Right Triumph” was adopted. 

In 2006, under the theme “African Renaissance and African Intellectuality”, the time had come for this forum to identify the role that intellectuals in Africa can play in the development, and advancement, of African scholarships. 

In 2007, the theme “Peace and Security through Partnerships” was adopted, as peace is a pre-requisite for democracy and development. Peace and security were further explored in 2008 with “Uniting the African Diaspora” being the theme, and “Uniting the African World” being the theme for 2009.

 In 2010, the focus was on the FIFA World Cup with the theme “Take charge Africa – the future is in your hands”. 

In 2011, the theme was “Connecting Africa”. Emphasis was placed on the fact that in 2011 it should not be easier for a foreigner in Europe to move with ease from London to Paris by rail or road, but much more difficult to move from South Africa, across Swaziland to Mozambique or from South Africa to Zambia, because of physical restrictions at our borders as well as the condition of our road/rail network.

 The African Renaissance Conference 2012 offered further opportunities for ideas advocating a coordinated approach to knowledge generation and leadership development. 

In 2013 whilst continuing with the theme of connecting Africa, we not only focused on physical infrastructure but also dealt with human development. 

The theme for 2014 Africa in Motion, captured the relentless, forward momentum of the African continent. However, this motion of progress in Africa can only be accelerated, and sustained, under conditions of peace, democracy and development.

Entrepreneurs  of Africa was the theme for 2015 and remain the same for 2016. The focus  is entrepreneur development, with some emphasis on the youth. Entrepreneurship is one of the key driving forces in economic development, and it is therefore important for our talented youth to be encouraged and supported to enable them to be the main creators of opportunities and wealth in the future. 

Prof Ngubane, Chairperson of the African Renaissance Conference said, “Development of the youth as entrepreneurs plays an important part in Africa’s future.  The conference aims to  give the conference delegates examples of success to aspire to, as well as resources  to achieve similar success.”