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African Renaissance Conference 2017

                                                  

Message from Dr Sibusiso Ndebele

High Commissioner to Australia and Chair of the African Renaissance

People Power

      We welcome you all to this 17th African Renaissance Festival 2015. This year will be the first time since the inception of the African Renaissance initiative that I, due to my official duties as High Commissioner to Australia, am unable to attend. I would like to thank the Premier of KwaZulu-Natal, Mr Senzo Mchunu; Mayor of eThekwini Municipality, Mr James Nxumalo; Vice Chairperson of the organising committee Prof Sihawu Ngubane; and all members of the committee for holding the flag of the African Renaissance movement high.

The theme for this year’s conference is entrepreneurship, which is globally considered to be the key element in the fight to rise above the problems of poverty and unemployment.  However, the energy to engage in entrepreneurial activities and carry out innovations is provoked when people with new knowledge, new technologies and new ideas come together with the directives and support structures to develop these new possibilities.

 

If we want to build our continent and country then we need to invest in building networks that are broader than any one single institution. South Africa along with many other developing nations is dependent on the skills and knowledge of developed nations and people to assist in moving the country forward. Progress calls for expertise and innovation in the fields of science, engineering, transportation and logistics.

 

As mentioned recently at round-table dialogues with South African expatriates living in Sydney and Melbourne, “The South African High Commission in Canberra is spurring neither strength nor courage to build viable networks in Australia to galvanize South Africans into action to play their part in moving South Africa forward.”  

 

The round-table events were held in an effort to mobilise the potential of the African Diaspora to help spur the growth and development of their ancestral homeland, South Africa. It is clear that, “there is no such a thing as an ex-South African. Expatriates are exceptional people and are crucial to our success story because their return represents, amongst other things, the repatriation of global networks and skills transfer”.

Further to these gatherings, we would once more like to utilise the KZN Ebandla Campaign, to reach out to successful Durban and KZN alumni living abroad.  The Ebandla Campaign was launched in 2005 by the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government, as part of its African Renaissance initiative, Ebandla (Council of the Wise) was based on the ancient Zulu custom of the elders sitting together and discussing issues of community interest.

 

The campaign has already brought together thousands of KwaZulu-Natal alumni at functions held across South Africa, London, New York and Dubai. We would like to explore other countries in the near future.

 

Today, people can be united no matter where they are in the world.  There is much talk these days about harnessing alternative sources of energy, and likewise the KZN Ebandla campaign would like to do the same, with people power, by calling on our successful alumni to join together in a collective effort aimed at promoting social and economic growth of KwaZulu-Natal.

 

It is hoped that your deliberations at this conference will be productive and bear fruit. Working together we can ensure that Africa’s entrepreneurs and innovators are given the support and skills to prosper and assist in the socio economic development of our people. I wish you well over the events and looking forward to attending the festival next year.