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UFS hosts YSI for first conference of its kind in Africa
2017-06-13

Description: UFS hosts YSI  Tags: UFS hosts YSI

From the left: Bryson Nkhoma, a doctoral student from
the International Studies Group, Prof Francis Petersen,
Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS, and
Dr Tinashe Nyamunda, a postdoctoral fellow from the
International Studies Group.
Photo: Siobhan Canavan

In the first conference of its kind on the African continent, the University of the Free State’s Bloemfontein Campus was privileged to host the Young Scholars Initiative (YSI) conference.

Reflecting on the African experience

A total of 65 young and senior scholars from five continents attended the conference Decolonising Africa? The Economic History of Development, hosted by the YSI in partnership with the International Studies Group at the UFS.

The conference, held on 8 and 9 June 2017, provided an opportunity to reflect on the African experience from an historical perspective and to assess the current position of the continent in the global economy. It discussed new themes in development, such as the role of women, minorities and entrepreneurs.

The conference focused on how the business community has operated in an Africa that still faces inequalities and unfair terms of trade and lacks a unified political will.

Keynote speakers at conference

Prof Francis Petersen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS, said decolonisation was not self-explanatory. “In its radical form, decolonisation presents two polar opposites. On the one side is white privilege and on the other is black pain.”

Prof Ian Phimister, Senior Research Professor at the Centre for Africa Studies at the UFS presented the opening keynote address entitled International Imperialism: The Violent Making of Southern Africa, 1884-1914.

Other keynote speakers included Prof Sabelo Ndlovu Gatsheni from the University of Pretoria, Prof Gareth Austin from the University of Cambridge, and the closing keynote by Prof Alois Mlambo from the University of Pretoria.

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