Archive | Past events

Discussion with Jay Naidoo

From left to right are Bishop Clyde Ramalaine, Prof Chris Landsberg, Jay Naidoo, and Ralph Mathekga.

ON 4 May 2017, the NRF Chair of African Diplomacy and Foreign Policy and the UJ Library, in partnership with Penguin Random House, hosted a discussion with Jay Naidoo, author of Change: Organising Tomorrow, Today.

In this book, Naidoo harnesses  his experience as a labour union organiser, government minister,social entrepreneur and global thought leader, and explored ways of solving some of the world’s biggest problems. Drawing on his experiences in South Africa, Nigeria, Brazil, Bangladesh and other countries, he presents a variety of options for ending poverty and global warming, with a focus on organising in our communities and building change from below and beyond borders.

The backtext states: ‘Naidoo’s message is unequivocal: significant action must be taken immediately if we want future generations to live in a world that we take for granted today.’

From left to right are Bishop Clyde Ramalaine, Prof Chirs Landsberg,  Jay Naidoo, and Ralph Mathekga.

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Discussion of books on SA cricket


ON 4 April 2017, the UJ Department of Sociology, the NRF Chair of African Diplomacy and Foreign Policy and the UJ Library, in partnership with Jacana Media, hosted a discussion about South African cricket with Ashwin Desai and André Odendaal.

The discussion was based on the books Reverse Sweep: A Story of South African Cricket Since Apartheid, written by Desai, and Cricket and Conquest: The History of South African Cricket Retold, Volume 1: 1795-1914, written by Odendaal, Krish Reddy, Christopher Merrett and Jonty Winch.

Reverse Sweep is an account of cricket in post-apartheid South Africa, from the tumultuous Gatting tour during which the seeds of cricket unity were sown, to the Hansie Cronje saga and the changes of leadership from Ali Bacher to Gerald Majola and, more recenly, Haroon Lorgat.

Cricket and Conquest and its companion volumes explain how racism came to be built into the fabric of South African cricket ‘culture’ and ‘traditions’, and how this was tied to the broader historical processes that shaped the country. The book breaks new ground in describing the unique experiences of different cricket communities.

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

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Book on Mbeki’s foreign policy

ON Thursday 23 February 2017, the Hon Kgalema Motlanthe, former president of the Republic of South Africa, delivered the keynote address at the Johannesburg launch of Consistent of Confused: The Politics of Mbeki’s Foreign Policy, 1995—2007, by Dr Oscar Van Heerden.

The launch was hosted by Prof Tshilidzi Marwala, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Internationalisation at UJ and and Prof Chris Landsberg, holder of the NRF Chair of African Diplomacy and Foreign Policy at UJ.

According to the backtext, Mbeki’s vision of an African Renaissance was a mammoth undertaking. At its centre was a determination that the continent needed to demonstrate that Africa’s challenges could, and would, be solved by Africans themselves. However, South Africa’s foreign policy choices were not so easily discernible. Hot topics included Zimbabwe, South Africa’s role in the UN Security Council, and how it should position itself on the continent. Finding a lasting solution to the difficulties in Zimbabwe via the SADC mediation process headed by Mbeki was easier said than done.

A newly democratic South Africa was elected as a non-permanent member to the UN Security Council; however, an unreformed UN system presented numerous complexities in this regard, especially in the realm of the often obvious and logical rhetoric by the five permanent members. A globalised world also meant that trade relations were not obvious and straightforward when negotiating a massive trade deal with the EU, with significant implications for SADC.

‘This book attempts to navigate these complexities, and to illustrate the difficulties that bureaucrats have to contend with while satisfying the clear objectives of advancing the “national Interest” of the Republic, sometimes at great cost.’

Prof Landsberg has commented as follows: ‘This book provides a nuanced analysis of Mbeki’s foreign policy initiatives, and facilitates a structured discussion of South Africa’s foreign policy in a changing world environment. We hope it will inform the country’s future foreign policy direction.’

Dr Van Heerden is an International Relations scholar, focusing on international political economy, with an emphasis on Africa and SADC. He holds master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. Previously, he studied at Turfloop and Wits University. He is an active fellow of the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflections (MISTRA), and a trustee of the Kgalema Motlanthe Foundation.

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Seminar on parliamentary diplomacy

On 9 November 2016, the NRF Chair: African Diplomacy and Foreign Policy held a seminar on ‘The rise of parliamentary diplomacy: insights from the EU and South Africa’. The seminar was based on the book entitled Parliamentary Diplomacy in European and Global Governance, edited by Stelios Stavridis and Davor Jancic (Brill 2017) that reflects on the role of the European and South African parliaments as diplomatic actors.

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Symposium on youth and international justice

On 5 October 2016, the NRF Chair: African Diplomacy and Foreign Policy, Africa Legal Aid, and the Division for Internationalisation of the University of Johannesburg (UJ) held a symposium entitled ‘Engaging South Africa’s Youth in International Justice’. This formed part of UJ’s Decolonising Knowledge Thought Leadership Dialogue Series. For the Mail & Guardian Africa article on the symposium, click here.

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Workshop on teaching social science in an age of Apps

On 12 August 2016, the Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Study (JIAS) and the NRF Chair in African Diplomacy and Foreign Policy hosted a workshop on ‘Teaching social science in an age of Apps: prospects and pitfalls’. The speaker was Prof Thomas Biersteker of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, a global leader in the field of international relations, and a pioneer in the development of Apps for teaching international relations. The discussants were Prof David Hornsby of Wits University, and Prof Thea de Wet of the University of Johannesburg.

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