African Renaissance Conference  24- 26 May 2018




It is with great pleasure that I welcome you to KwaZulu-Natal and at the
Inkosi Albert Luthuli Convention Centre, named after the first pan-Africanist
to receive a Nobel peace prize, Reverend Chief Albert Luthuli.

 Importantly, it is with pride that we host delegates from the African continent and the Diaspora a month after we celebrated Freedom Day.This year’s celebration of Freedom Day was no ordinary celebration. It was a day when all of us needed to pause and reflect on the past 20 years, to remember the heroes and heroines who brought us our freedom - those whose sacrifices made it possible for all South Africans, black and white, to enjoy the benefits of democracy and for all of us to prosper in conditions of peace and stability.We started our activities with a visit to the home of the founding president of our glorious movement, Dr John Langalibalele Dube – uMafukuzela. He was a selfless pioneer of our struggle, a preacher, an educationist, a newspaper editor, a publicist, a historian and a defender of our human rights. The democratic government is a fulfillment of his dream cherished by other pioneers of our liberation struggle such as Dr Pixley ka Isaka Seme, Mahatma Gandhi, Inkosi Albert Luthuli, Johnny Makhathini, Moses Mabhida and many others who planted the seeds of resistance and took the first few steps towards our freedom, knowing fully well that they would not live to see its dawn. Critically, we took the Freedom Flame to Ohlange as a sign of respect to Mafukuzela and President Nelson Mandela. We reminded the world that Tata Madiba went to cast his ballot in the first ever election in his lifetime at the age of 72, in Ohlange. Thereafter he went to the grave of Umafukuzela, stood at attention and took a military salute and declared: “Mr President I am here to report that now South Africa is free!” For all South Africans, the story of their freedom is symbolized by this picture of the former Commander-in-Chief of the Military wing of the ANC, uMkhonto WeSizwe reporting to his departed leader of the Revolution, that his mission had at last been accomplished. 

Dr John Dube never lived to see the anger of his people and their determination to be free develops to the level of deciding to take up arms to overthrow their oppressors. However, his spirit had guided and inspired them for eighty two years through the organization he co-founded to unite all the people of South Africa in general and African people in particular The fact that we are hosting the 16th African Renaissance Festival is a tribute to those disciplined leaders and many men and women of impeccable integrity who despite the brutality of the apartheid machinery dared to dream of a united, free, democratic,

racial, non-sexist and prosperous South Africa. It is for these reasons that today we call upon all the people of our beautiful province to work together in honour of heroes and  heroines of our struggle. These include Josiah Gumede, Prof Jabavu, Dr Xuma, Dr Monty Naicker, Dr Yusuf Dadoo, Lillian Ngoyi, 
Helen Joseph, Johannes Nkosi Chris Hani and many of our heroes and heroines to many to mention.Importantly, I want to assure all of the delegates that the provincial government will continue to work hard to fulfill the dream of the forebears of this freedom. Importantly, I want to assure all of the delegates that the provincial government will continue to work hard to fulfill the dream of 
the forebears of this freedom.