Experts discuss democracy in Africa over the last 10 years
Stellenbosch University will be hosting the bi-annual conference of the South African Association of Political Studies (SAAPS) in Stellenbosch from 1-4 September 2010. The SAAPS conference will focus on Democracy in the first decade of the 21st century and will touch on issues such as conflict and security in Africa, the quality of democracy, xenophobia and gender based violence, South Africa’s international relations and comparative democratic institutions.
A keynote panel discussion focusing on The State of Democracy in South Africa will be held at the Wallenberg Centre of the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Studies (STIAS) on 3 September at 19:00. The panel will include some of South Africa’s most notable scholars and social commentators such as Mr Max du Preez (Independent Political Analyst), Prof Shireen Hassim (Political Studies, University of the Witwatersrand), Prof Robert Mattes (Political Studies, University of Cape Town) and Ms Judith February (Political Analyst IDASA).
“It has been 10 years since the turn of the previous century and at this conference we want to take stock of the well-being of democracy in the 21st century. In this period democracies all over the world have been influenced by neo-liberal economic policy changes and an escalation of the war on terror after the incidents of 9/11 in the United States of America. Some democracies have lost ground, others have consolidated and others have reconfigured into regional supra-national bodies. There has been a clarion call for the 21st century to be ‘Africa’s century’,” says Prof Amanda Gouws, Vice-President of SAAPS and Professor in the Political Science Department at Stellenbosch University.
Ten years later, says the SAAPS, it is now appropriate to reflect on achievements and failures, as well as on the continent’s quest to secure greater political and economic stability and security. “In his first major visit to sub-Saharan Africa, while addressing the Ghanaian Parliament, President Barack Obama was quoted as saying that ‘The 21st century will be shaped by what happens not just in Rome or Moscow or Washington, but by what happens in Accra, as well.’ At the end of the first decade of the 21st century it is therefore timely to assess which major debates, issues and challenges will dominate the disciplines of Political Science, International Relations, Public Policy, Gender Politics and African Politics during the next pivotal decade of the 21st century,” says Prof Gouws.
Caption: Prof Dirk Berg-Schlosser from Philipps University in Marburg, Germany, presented the opening plenary at the SAAPS conference today. With him is Prof Amanda Gouws, the Vice-President of SAAPS and a professor in the Political Science Department at SU, and Prof Heidi Hudson, President of SAAPS. (Hennie Rudman, SSFD)
The South African Association of Political Studies (SAAPS) came into life in May 2001, as the result of the merger of the South African Political Studies Association (SAPSA) and the South African Chapter of the African Association of Political Science (AAPS-SA). The Association is the official body of the disciplines of Political Science and International Relations in South Africa and its primary international affiliations are the International Political Science Association (IPSA), the African Association of Political Science (AAPS), and the World International Studies Committee (WISC). The official journal of the Association, Politikon, is published by Taylor & Francis (Routledge). The Association strives to host biennial conferences and, in the alternate years, presents a series of regional Research Colloquia during which scholars present work-in-progress, beside conventional research papers. SAAPS has in recent years undertaken a number of projects, particularly aimed at the encouragement and facilitation of emerging scholarship stands out.