The Founder and Executive Director of ACCORD, Vasu Gounden, was invited by the African Monitor to present a key note address on the topic “Development Challenges in Africa” at their launch conference on 2 May in Cape Town. While looking at the challenges that face the continent, Mr Gounden also looked at the role that various role players have to play in helping to address these challenges.
Mr Gounden has made public addresses on the above topic in Muscat, Oman in January 2006 and in Norway and Iceland in March 2006, when he visited those countries at the Invitation of the South African ambassadors to Oman and Norway/Iceland.
On 3 and 4 May ACCORD, in collaboration with the Africa Institute of South Africa (AISA - http://www.ai.org.za/), the South African Department of Arts and Culture (DAC - http://www.dac.gov.za/), the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS - http://www.cps.org.za/) and the Institute for Global Dialogue (IGD - http://www.igd.org.za/) will host the “Where are the Natives? The Black Intelligentsia Today” conference in Pretoria, South Africa. The conference is an initiative of the Native Club, which is a public initiative based at AISA, whose prime objective is to mobilise and consolidate South African Intelligentsia as a social force. The Club will constitute a formal network of the South African Intelligentsia, which seeks to offer a platform for public debates and contribute to the national discourse. Among others, the purpose of the Native Club is to show greater participation by all South Africans in the socio-economic, political and cultural spheres. The vision of the Native Club initiative is to create a vibrant and critical consciousness among the people of South African and its objects are:
- To contribute to the on-going process of cultural decolonization of the South African people and the country;
- To eradicate apartheid and colonial mindset;
- - To enhance the self-affirmation of South African people;
- To protect and promote the indigenous languages, cultures, tradition, music and writers;
- To add impetus to the efforts of moral regeneration;
- To promote a culture of critical thinking through reading, reflection and debates;
- To utilize indigenous cultures, knowledge and values to advance nation- building; and
- To contribute to national discourse on socio-economic, political and cultural issues.
The aim of the two day conference is to provide a platform for home-grown thinkers/intellectuals to exchange ideas on this timely and noble cause. The keynote address at the conference will be provided by Dr Pallo Jordan, South African Minister for Arts and Culture on the theme “The Contributions of African Intellectuals to Africa’s Liberation and Development”. Some of the other themes to be addressed at the conference are: "Intellectuals & the Politics of Liberation and Development in South Africa"; "Politics, Education and Culture: African Identity and the Power of Western Paradigms in the South Africa High Education System"; "The Voice of Black Intellectuals and the Prison – House of Colonial Languages": "The Quest for Authority"; "Gender Politics, Knowledge Production and Leadership in South African Universities"; "Black Intellectuals and the Politics of Publishing in South Africa"; "The migration of Black Intellectuals from the Academy in South Africa: Why are they migrating and where are they going?"; "What should be done to promote a vibrant intellectual culture amongst Blacks in South Africa?"; and "Solidarity and accountability: The Challenge of Truth and Power to Black Intellectuals in South Africa".
At the Conference Mr Gounden will chair the session that focuses on “The Idea of the Native and its Relevance to South Africa Today”.
Mr Gounden is a former board member of the Institute for Global Dialogue.