African Renaissance Conference  24- 26 May 2018




A message from Professor Sihawukele Ngubane  

Tapping into Africa’s excellence

The underlying premise of the festival has always been to galvanise all sectors of society to identify a need to do things differently, to better our lives – drawing on African knowledge systems. As former President Nelson Mandela said in his address to delegates attending the 1999 African Renaissance Festival: “Friends, the campaign is a call to action to bring about that regeneration of our continent and its countries which liberation has made possible.”

It has also been a festival of ideas, some of which have gained tangibility through the movement’s partnership with the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government and municipalities, including eThekwini, uMhlathuze and Msunduzi.

It has been a gathering that has enabled us to form bonds and cement relationships with our extended family, across our borders and over the oceans. We have explored the African family, a place of refuge, where we can immerse ourselves in our culture to achieve a true renaissance from within, giving us a sense of who we are, what we do and how we communicate with each other.

However, for the renaissance movement to gain momentum and make a measurable difference to the lives of our people, we must avoid over-defining political, social and economic discourse – and engage on a level that is practical and inclusive.

To realise our full development potential, we need to assess our needs, our shortfalls and swallow our pride. Our desires and ambitions are achievable, through humbleness in nature and by putting what we have learnt into practice.

This is the declared goal of the African Renaissance Festival going forward – that the ideas delegates bring to our dialogue will translate into action that will see our province, our country and our continent growing from strength to strength.

The very existence of an African Renaissance Festival is testimony of our desire to actively contribute to the renewal of our continent. And our work is far from over. With only six years until the 2015 deadline to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, which recognise the interdependence between growth, poverty reduction and sustainable development, there is much to do.

The exchange of ideas and experience through dialogue at conferences, such as those convened by the African Renaissance Festival, is critical. Given the magnitude of the tasks with which we are faced, this is a collective duty that can only be addressed if we join hands across geographic borders to work for peace and development.

Millennium Development Goals:

  • Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger;
  • Achieve universal primary education;
  • Promote gender equality and empower women;
  • Reduce child mortality;
  • Improve maternal health;
  • Combat HIV/Aids, malaria and other diseases;
  • Ensure environmental sustainability; and
  • Develop a Global Partnership for Development.

Professor Sihawukele Ngubane
African Renaissance Organising Committee Chairman