Archive | Past events

Public lecture by Anand Sharma

On 7 September 2017, the NRF Chair of African Diplomacy and Foreign Policy hosted a public lecture by Mr Anand Sharma, deputy leader of the opposition in the Indian Parliament, and a former Minister in the Union Cabinet.

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Discussion on the Kagame Report

ON 30 August 2017, the Concerned Africans Focum and the SARChI Chair of African Diplomacy and Foreign Policy hosted a discussion on ‘Transforming the African Union: A Critical Reflection on the Kagame Report’.

The speakers were:
Mr Tito Mboweni, member of the AU Reform Panel and former Governor of the South African Reserve Bank.
Prof Adekeye Adebajo, Director of the Institute for Pan-African Thought and Conversation (IPATC) at the University of Johannesburg.

Facilitator: Prof Chris Landsberg, holder of the SARChI Chair of African Diplomacy and Foreign Policy.

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Discussion on the Southern Cameroons Dilemma

On 24 August  2017, the  SARChI Chair of African Diplomacy and Foreign Policy hosted a discussion on ‘The Southern Cameroons Dilemma:  Necessity for Comprehensive Discourse and Reform’.

The speakers were:

Prof Anyangwe Carlson, Director of the School of Law and Research Champion, Walter Sisulu University
Mr Taka Milton, Chair of the Social Democratic Front (SDF) South Africa
Mr Nesto Djomatchui, Chair of the Cameroonian Renaissance Movement (CRM) in South Africa
Mr Kum Bezeng, former Chair of Cameroon Peoples Democratic Movement (CPDM) in South Africa.

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Seminar on BRICS-Africa Cooperation

On 29-30 August 2017, the NRF Chair of African Diplomacy and Foreign Policy and the University of Johannesburg Confucius Institute (UJCI), in collaboration with Oxfam International’s Africa-China Dialogue Platform (ACDP), hosted a Pre-BRICS seminar on ‘BRICS-Africa Cooperation: Progress, Prospects and Challenges’.

The main objectives of the seminar were to:

  • highlight the extent to which  BRICS policies promote the African Agenda;
  • examine BRICS collaboration with African countries as well as the African Union Commission (AUC), the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and Regional Economic Communities (RECs); and
  • examine the role of the BRICS Bank in funding infrastructure development in Africa.

The seminar reflected on the background of the relationship between Africa and BRICS, and explored ways in which the South African government through the African Union (AU) can synergise Africa’s agency. It brought together academics, policy-makers, government officials, business and civil society to contribute to a policy debate on how to insert the African agency into the Africa-BRICS relationship.

The seminar preceded the 9th BRICS Summit to be held in Xiamen, Fujian Province, China, in September 2017.

For the concept note, click here.

For the draft agenda, click here.

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Lecture by Dr Mamphela Ramphele

ON 31 July 2017, the NRF Chair of African Diplomacy and Foreign Policy and the UJ Library, in partnership with the Nelson Mandela Foundation, hosted a public lecture by Dr Mamphele Ramphele on ‘(Re)imagining the State and Society: A Conversation’.

The facilitator was Prof Chris Landsberg, holder of the NRF Chair of African Diplomacy and Foreign Policy.

The panelist was Bomikazi Njova, local president, Junior Chamber International, University of Fort Hare.

About Dr Mamphela Ramphele

Mamphela Ramphele has had a celebrated career as an activist, medical doctor, academic, businesswoman and political thinker.

She holds a medical degree from the University of Natal, a PhD in Social Anthropology, a B Comm degree, a Diploma in Tropical Hygiene, and a Diploma in Public Health. In 1996 she was appointed Vice-Chancellor of UCT. In 2000 she became a managing director of the World Bank, based in Washington, DC. She is currently a trustee of the Nelson Mandela Foundation. She was a founder of the Open Society Foundation for South Africa and the Citizens Movement.

On January 2013, Dr Ramphele became the leader of Agang SA, a party for all South Africans which won two seats in the national elections held in May 2014. Post elections she retired from party politics to return to her work as an active citizen.

Dr Ramphele is the author of several books and publications on socio-economic issues in South Africa, including  A Passion for Freedom, Laying Ghosts to Rest, Conversations with my Sons and Daughters, and a new release, Dreams, Betrayal and Hope. She has received numerous national and international awards acknowledging her scholarship and leading role in spearheading projects for disadvantaged people in South Africa and elsewhere.

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Report on EU-South Africa Strategic Partnership Workshop

ON 21-22 July 2016, the NRF Chair of African Diplomacy and Foreign Policy, in partnership with the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, held a workshop entitled ‘Reviewing a Decade of the EU-South Africa Strategic Partnership’.

A Proceedings Report on the workshop has been released. To download a printable version, click here.

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Discussion on Morocco

ON 20 July 2017, the Concerned South Africans Forum and the NRF Chair of African Diplomacy and Foreign Policy hosted a discussion on Morocco’s readmission to the AU and its implications for Western Sahara.

The facilitator was Prof Chris Landsberg, holder of the NRF Chair of African Diplomacy and Foreign Policy.

The speakers were Ambassador Radhi S Bachir, Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, and Molly Dlamini, Western Sahara Solidarity Group (SA).

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Discussion of book by Jonathan Jansen

ON Thursday 27 July,the NRF Chair of African Diplomacy and Foreign Policy and the UJ LIbrary, in partnership with NB Publishers, hosted a discussion with Professor Jonathan Jansen about his book entitled As by Fire: The End of the South African University.

The discussion was facilitated by Prof Chris Landsberg, holder of the NRF Chair of African Diplomacy and Foreign Policy.

Prof Jansen is a leading South Adrican educationalist and commentator and the author of several books, including the best-selling Letters to My Children. He is a former Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Free State ,where he earned a reputation for transformation and a deep commiment to reconciliation.


What are the real roots of the student protests of 2015 and 2016? Is it actually about fees? Why did so many protests turn violent? Where is the government while the buildings burn, and do the students know how to end the protests?

Former Free State University Vice Chancellor Jonathan Jansen delves into the unprecedented disruption of universities that caught South Africa by surprise. I n frank interviews with elevent of the VCs most affected, he examines the forces at work, why the protests escalate into chaos, and what is driving – and exasperating – our youth. This urgent and necessary book gives us an insider view of the crisis, tells us why the conflict will not go away, and what this means for the future of our universities.

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Critical Thinking Forum

On 27 June 2017, the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (IJR) and the NRF Chair of African Diplomacy and Foreign Policy at UJ hosted a Mail & Guardian Critical Thinking Forum on ‘Finding a developmental consensus in an era of radical economic transformation’.

The panelists and moderator were:

  • Dr Mzukisi Qobo, Associate Professor and Deputy Director of the NRF Chair of African Diplomacy and Foreign Policy at UJ;
  • Prof Simon Roberts, Executive Director of the Centre for Competition, Regulation and Economic Development CCRED) at UJ;
  • Christopher Wood, an economist at the Trade and Industrial Policy Strategies (TIPS) think-tank; and
  • Sithembile Mbete, lecturer at and Associate Fellow of the Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation at the University of Pretoria.


A recurrent theme of this year’s edition of the IJR’s annual Transformation Audit is the need for two key social actors – business and the government – to pool their collective resources and forge a new consensus for long-term social and economic change. However, in the post-1994 South African context, the relationship between business and the state has been complex and multi-layered. Mistrust and misunderstanding between business and the government have deepened over time. On the one hand, perceptions persist that large South African corporates resist social transformation, and are not prepared to contribute towards addressing the structural legacy of apartheid. At the same time, rhetoric that espouses radical economic solutions, without putting substantive alternatives on the table, poses an equally perilous threat to the cohesion of South African society.

In light of this, members of the public were invited to a moderated discussion on the possibility of achieving a new social compact, implying a ‘consensus’, at a time when the word ‘radical’ is increasingly being used in relation to potential solutions.


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Launch of book by Charles Nqakula

ON 22 June 2017, the NRF Chair of African Diplomacy and Foreign Policy, in partnership with the Mutloatse Arts Heritage Trust and Real African Publishers, hosted the launch of The People’s War: Reflections of an ANC Cadre, by Charles Nqakula.

Message from Essop Pahad

‘The People’s War is an outstanding contribution to the historiography of our revolutionary struggle. It is well-written, easy to read, and the many twists and turns in the political life of Charles and Nosiviwe are recounted in a refreshingly honest and engaging manner. It should be read and treasured by those who seek a better understanding of the historic, painful and bitter struggle for national liberation, peace, justice, democracy and human rights in South Africa. As Charles points out, it is the masses at the centre, of which is the organised working class, that make history, and if properly organised and mobilised, will continue to sustain, defend, promote and protect the values and progressive traditions of this glorious movement, the ANC.’

About Charles Nqakula

Charles Nqakula was born in Cradock in the Eastern Cape Province on 13 September 1942. As an adult he became a journalist and, in the early 1970s, he joined Imvo Zabantsundu (Black Opinion) in King William’s Town. He left Imvo in 1976 and joined East London’s Daily Dispatch.

Working with Thenjiwe Mtintso, he helped to influence black journalists in the Border region the main towns of which were East London, King William’s Town, and Queenstown) to join the Union of Black Journalists (UBJ). Nqakula was elected Deputy President to Joe Thloloe at UBJ’s National Congress that year.

Nqakula was banned and declared a prohibited immigrant in terms of the Aliens Act of 1937, and after he was arrested for entering South Africa ‘illegally’, he skipped bail and went into exile. He was trained militarily and politically at the MK camps in Angola, Russia,and East Germany before being infiltrated back to South Africa to build underground structures for the ANC.

After the unbanning of the ANC, SACP, and other people’s organisations, he was elected as the SACP’s Deputy General Secretary to General Secretary Chris Hani. After Hani’s assassination in 1993, Nqakula became the general secretary and, later, the Party’s chairperson. He was co-opted into the ANC’s NEC towards the end of 1993. In 1999, Nqakula became a parliamentarian and subsequently a Minister of Police and of Defence.

In 2009, President Zuma pulled him out of Parliament and made him his political adviser. He asked him in 2010 to lead South Africa’s mediation of the Zimbabwe political impasse, and appointed him as South African ambassador to Mozambique in 2012. Nqakula’s mediation included a number of countries when Thabo Mbeki was president. The longest facilitation by Nqakula under Mbeki was in Burundi from 2006 to 2009.

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