"Tribute to Mandela" celebrates 20 years of South African independence

Wed, Aug 6, 2014

Richmond, B.C. – To mark 20 years of democracy in South Africa, academics from around the world will gather in Richmond to talk post-secondary education, homophobia and xenophobia, citizenship and identity, and the state of South Africa after Nelson Mandela.

Held August 21 at Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s (KPU) Melville Centre for Dialogue in Richmond, the “Tribute to Mandela” will feature cultural events that showcase South African music and drumming, a featured lecture on Mandela’s legacy, presentations and panel discussions with world-renowned South African scholars and activists.

“Mandela has inspired oppressed people throughout the world, and become a universal symbol of forgiveness and reconciliation. This conference attempts to understand his historical role, and critically analyze his legacy of greatness and limitations, and their impact on post-apartheid South Africa,” explained conference co-chair Dr. Wendy Royal.

The tribute’s memorial lecture will be delivered by Jay Naidoo, who was a leader in the struggle against apartheid and a member of Mandela’s cabinet. Recently voted one of the top 100 most influential Africans, Naidoo will discuss the former president's legacy, and the challenges that face South Africa today.

One of the event’s panels will examine how to re-engage the South African diaspora through community activism and work with the Canadian Multicultural Society. Panelists will also look at changing attitudes toward homosexuality in Africa, and running a Canadian non-profit initiative with Education without Borders to support a disadvantaged high school in a South African township.

The second discussion will explore the issue of “non-racialism and the South African Liberation Movement” with four anti-apartheid activists and scholars, each of whom will share their experiences in exile, under banning orders and in prison. In the afternoon, UBC Professor Emerita Dr. Kogila Moodley and SFU Professor Emeritus Dr. Heribert Adam will present their recent research on xenophobia in South Africa, Germany and Canada.

The event is part of the 3rd Biennial Kwame Nkrumah Conference which runs August 20-22 at KPU Richmond. Aptly named after Ghana’s first president, the Kwame Nkrumah conference - sponsored by the Canadian government's Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) - will focus on re-engaging the African diaspora and pan-Africanism in the age of globalization. 

Jointly organized by KPU, the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana and Pennsylvania’s Lincoln University, the event aims to continue to build bridges between the global South and North, and between academics and non-governmental organizations. 

“As someone rightly noted, Nkrumah was the Mandela of the ‘60s,” said Dr. Charles Quist-Adade, chair of KPU’s department of sociology. “Both were international statesmen who fought for human dignity, social justice and equality for all, irrespective of colour, ethnicity, religion, gender or country. Both were Pan-Africanists who sought to unite people of African descent in their struggle for political, economic and cultural development and empowerment.”

“It is therefore only proper and fitting that we the organizers decided to honour and celebrate Mandela and the country he led to independence at this conference, the theme of which is ‘Re-engaging the African Diaspora: Pan-Africanism in the Age of Globalization.’” 

WHERE: Melville Centre for Dialogue, KPU Richmond, 8771 Lansdowne Road
WHEN: Thursday August 21, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
TICKETS: Tickets are $25 for the morning session (9a.m.-1p.m.) or $40 for the full day plus lunch.
CONTACT: To reserve tickets, contact Dr. Wendy Royal (wendy.royal@kpu.ca) or Dr. Charles Quist-Adade (charles.quist-adade@kpu.ca).

WHERE: Melville Centre for Dialogue, KPU Richmond, 8771 Lansdowne Road
WHEN: August 20- 22
INFO: Ticket and conference information can be found at kpu.ca/knic

MEDIA PASSES: For media passes to the Tribute to Mandela or the Kwame Nkrumah conference, contact Hayley Woodin.

Kwantlen Polytechnic University has been serving the Metro Vancouver region since 1981, and has opened doors to success for more than 250,000 people. Four campuses—Richmond, Surrey, Cloverdale and Langley—offer a comprehensive range of sought-after programs, including business, liberal arts, science, design, health, trades and technology, horticulture, and academic and career advancement. Over 19,000 students annually have a choice from over 124 programs, including bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, diplomas, certificates citations and apprenticeships. Learn more at www.kpu.ca.


Media contact:
Hayley Woodin
Media Specialist, KPU
t: 604.599.2883
c: 604.364.1288

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