Johannesburg, Monday 10 July 2017 – As part of the Commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the Dakar 1987 Talks and Celebration activities around the Twinning of Robben and Goree Islands, Brand South Africa, in partnership with the Department of Arts and Culture, the National Arts Council, SA Embassy in Senegal, DIRCO and Senegalese Ministry of Arts and Culture, will host a series of activities in the week of 10-14 July 2017.
In the context of South Africa’s liberation – political dialogue played a significant role in the nation’s transition to democracy. In this regard, the 1987 meeting in Dakar between the ANC and an IDASA delegation, stands out as a significant moment in the history of South Africa’s journey towards democracy.
Brand South Africa’s CEO, Dr Kingsley Makhubela said: “The Dakar Conference would not have been possible were it not for the assistance of countries like Senegal and then President Abdou Diouf, who paved the way for delegates to meet during a period when liberation movements were still banned internally, and the Apartheid regime still presided over a pariah state sanctioned and internationally isolated.”
“Likewise, the assistance that came from governments and individuals who contributed material resources to make the conference possible further attests to the fact that the liberation movement was not alone in its struggle against apartheid South Africa.”
Contemporary developments in South Africa and elsewhere on the continent indicate that political dialogue is not a once-off. It remains a crucial feature of societies transitioning towards democracy and transforming an unequal socio-economic environment.
In global terms, and particularly on the African continent, the success of conflict management and mediation, conflict prevention, and resolution as well as intervention, are all linked to the ability and capability of political rivals to engage in constructive political dialogue.
As part of the week-long activities, Brand South Africa in partnership with the Dakar-based CODESRIA host a Colloquium on Thursday 13 July 2017, under the theme, the Power of Dialogue – Past, Present and Future. During the week, the two countries will also sign a Twinning Agreement between Robben- and Goree Islands. This is a significant moment not only to reflect on the past, but to celebrate what Senegal and South Africa have in common.
Dr Makhubela added: “The Colloquium will bring together experts on conflict mediation and resolution from government, civil society and academia, to discuss the role of political dialogue in conflict prevention, mediation, and resolution on the African continent and beyond. The session will also focus on drawing the youth into the dialogue – the goal being not only to impart knowledge but also to provide a platform for them to share their views on the power of dialogue.”
The Colloquium will cover three sessions, where delegates from South African and Senegalese government and other role players will share their experiences and insights with attendees. This will provide the background for further reflections in the second panel discussion between Dakarites from Senegal and South Africa, with the final session focussing on political dialogue in Africa today.
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