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by Institute for Global Dialogue


Categories: Uncategorised

by Institute for Global Dialogue


African Renaissance and Pan-Africanism: Epistemologies of the South, New Leadership Paradigms, and African Futures

The Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute, Archie Mafeje Research Institute, Institute of Global Dialogue and Institute of African Renaissance Studies, all at University of South Africa, in partnership with the University of Texas at Austin (USA) and the University of Ibadan (Nigeria) invite scholars from around the world to submit papers for the 2015 Toyin Falola Annual Conference (TOFAC) to be held in Pretoria, South Africa from 2nd to 4th July, 2015, under the theme: African Renaissance and Pan-Africanism: Epistemologies of the South, New Leadership Paradigms, and African Futures.

The Conference is named after Professor Toyin Falola, The Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities and University Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Texas at Austin in the United States of America as well as the Vice President of the International Scientific Committee of UNESCO’s Slave Route Project. Professor Falola is the Series Editor of five monograph series, sponsors and funds manuscripts for publication for scholars from both developed and developing countries. Please see the following URLs for more information:



Africa is at once an invention, an idea, and a reality. Its geo-political cartography is linked to the global cartography of power. It has a long and proud pre-colonial existence including being the cradle of human civilization and an experience of a traumatic insertion into the evolving modern/imperial/colonial system. Mercantilism, the slave trade, imperialism, Islamization, Christianisation, colonialism, apartheid, neo-colonialism, underdevelopment and structural adjustment programmes—collectively constituted the colonial global power structure in place since Conquest. Africa has also experienced epic forms of African resistance and decolonial struggles, demonstrating beyond doubt its agency and initiative in shaping and creating its own futures

In the realm of knowledge, although various impartial historical, scientific, and anthropological studies have confirmed that the continent is the cradle of human civilisation, Euro-North American-centric epistemology which privileges Hellenocentrism, Eurocentrism and Westernization, continues to contest African endogenous and indigenous epistemologies. Consequently, a series of violent encounters with the West and Arabs in form of Trans- Saharan and Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, colonialism, neo-colonialism and globalisation have left the continent with scars and debilitating psychological traumas that have continued to shape her existential realities to this day. Africa has also suffered from epistemic violence as racist anthropological and Euro-centric historical studies have denied or distorted the history of Africa, dismissed her indigenous knowledge base and emasculated any attempt at developing context specific knowledge production.

Despite the volleys of external assault and internal contradictions, Africa has not been without some success stories. The victory of Adwa in 1896, in which Ethiopian Army defeated the imperial forces of Italy, the various innovations in agriculture that ensured food sufficiency in pre-colonial times and importantly, the successful struggle that ended colonialism on the continent are undeniable testimonies to what an unfettered Africa can achieve.

Pan-Africanism was the rallying point for African unity as well as struggles against imperial domination and control. It was a movement and cultural-cum-political consciousness among Africans on the mainland and their kith and kin in the Diaspora. Protagonists of Pan- Africanism believe in the rediscovery of the African person as a complete human being who is capable of making scientific discovery, innovation, and contributing to human development. They believe that despite the challenges that the continent has faced over several centuries of exploitation and domination, it can rise again. The hope of the Pan- Africanists like Marcus Garvey, George Padmore, Du Bois, Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere and Thabo Mbeki among many others is that the progress and the realisation of Africa’s huge potential lies in her unity and integration.

Despite the hopes and aspirations of the Pan-Africanists, the artificial state structures that the imperialists imposed on the continent at the Berlin Conference of 1884-85 have led to what some scholars have called ‘bondage of boundaries’, that have produced territorial nationalisms that need to be transformed into pan-Africanism. Despite the clear dangers that an artificially created state structure present to the realisation of the full potential of the continent in terms of governance, socio-economic and scientific development, majority of African leaders at the Cairo Conference of 1963 preferred that externally created boundaries should remain sacrosanct. What followed this capitulation to imperial reason and colonial practice were wars, violence, conflicts, and constant contestations over boundaries and resources in different parts of the continent.

In view of the complicated trajectory of Africa marked by failures and successes, defeats and triumphs, trials and tribulations, as well as hopes and despairs, questions continue to arise about the future of Africa and its agency. This conference therefore calls for papers that focus on the following broad themes and questions:

  1. Genealogies, trajectories, and horizons of Pan-Africanism 
  2. The current state of the Africa’s Renaissance
  3. What is the appropriate framework for uniting the African Continent?
  4. What kind of leadership is needed to turn the current tide of captured development?
  5. Which epistemologies are relevant in driving the change that the continent needs?
  6. What is the impact of colonialism and coloniality on power, being, and knowledge in Africa?
  7. How can we develop a beneficial form of engagement with other parts of the world h. What strategies can be used to resolve conflicts currently afflicting Africa?

It is essentially in the light of the above that the TOFAC 2015 is being organised to create a platform for African and Africanist intellectuals on the continent and in the Diaspora to rethink, ‘unthink’ and interrogate the African experiential trajectories over the past one millennium. The conference is also aimed at facilitating dialogue and interaction between emerging and established scholars, focusing and highlighting their work, and research plans, exploring critical, radical, alternative paradigms and action plans for better social, political and economic freedoms in Africa

We welcome papers that address the following interrelated thematic issues

A: History

  • African Pre-colonial governance structures and processes
  • African Political Economies in pre-colonial times
  • African relations with the outside world in pre-colonial times
  • African indigenous knowledge systems
  • African dispute settlement mechanisms
  • Patterns of Migration in pre-colonial Africa

B. Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance

  • Pan-Africanism-an utopian or reality?
  • Identity Crisis in Post-colonial Africa
  • Pan-Africanism and Regional Integration in Africa
  • Nationalism and Pan-Africanism
  • Political citizens and society in Africa
  • Intelligentsia and African Renaissance
  • African Renaissance-a mimicry?

C. Epistemology of Change and Knowledge Production for Africa Development

  • Rethinking African Studies
  • African Historiography and Institutions of learning
  • African literature and development
  • Afrocentric education and development in Africa
  • African cultural studies and philosophy
  • Context specific curriculum and education
  • Gender Studies and Feminism in Africa
  • Communication studies and development
  • Social Science studies and development in Africa
  • Language and Visual arts
  • Science, innovation and technology for development in Africa

D. Leadership, Followership and Governance in Africa

  • African agency in development
  • Transformational leadership
  • Progressive forces-civil society, labour unions and student movements
  • Youth and governance in Africa
  • Corruption and challenges of development in Africa
  • Democracy: whose Democracy?
  • Peacebuilding and Security in Africa

E. The State and the Economy in Africa

  • Rethinking the state in Africa
  • The state and the market
  • Industrial policy and development in Africa
  • Public policy and African development
  • The state and social policies in Africa
  • Informal economy cross-border trade trades

F. Africa Geo-political relations in critical perspectives

  • Afro-Asian Relations,
  • Africa-EU Relations,
  • Afro-American Relations
  • Afro-Latin America Relations
  • Africa in the BRICS

The conference will take place from July 2-4, 2015 at the main campus of University of

South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa.

Proposals should include a 250-words abstract and title, as well as the author’s name, address, telephone number, email address, and institutional affiliation. Deadline for the submission of abstracts is November 31, 2014. Abstracts should be sent to the following email addresses:


Registration Fee: A mandatory, non-refundable registration fee of $150 for scholars and $100 for graduate students must be paid immediately when an abstract is accepted. This conference fee includes admission to the panels, conference packages, workshops, the buffet (dinner) breakfast for three days, and the banquet.

Exemption: Interested Graduate Students from University of South Africa who wish to present papers at the conference are exempted from the payment of the registration fee

Hotel rates for 2015 are yet to be determined but this will not exceed $85 per night.

Arrangement for Pick-Up: There will be arrangement for pick-up from OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. This will cost about $20 per person.

The organizers do not provide participants with any form of funding support, travel expenses, or boarding expenses. If the conference obtains enough outside funding this will be used to help subsidize graduate students’ accommodations on a competitive basis but it is not guaranteed.


  • The research papers presented will be reviewed for publication by editorial teams comprising of TMALI, IGD, AMRI and IARS-affiliated scholars and researchers
  • Accepted papers will form part of edited book series, over a period of one year. Other chosen papers will also be recommended to special issues of relevant journals.


Vusi Gumede, Head, Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute, University of South Africa Ndlovu Sabelo Head, Archie Mafeje Research Institute, University of South Africa Sphamandla Zondi, Director, .Institute for Global Dialogue, University of South Africa Prof. V.T. Msila, Head, Institute of African Renaissance, University of South Africa

Details for registration and payments Participants are advised to pay as follows: Bank:

Standard Bank
Branch: Sunnyside
Branch Code: 010645
Account Number: 011554622
Reference Number: 74004/1155X
Account: Business Current Account
Swift Code: SBZAZAJJ
Dunn Number: ZA010645

VAT Number: 4360102869

Regular updates on the conference will be made available on www.unisa.ac.za/tmali 

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