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High-powered thought leaders to reflect on Unisa and OAU

As a continental and global academic powerhouse, Unisa holds regular colloquiums that provide an ideal venue for scholars and other thought leaders to present their work and encounter new ideas, disciplines, and questions. It is thus fitting that in its 140th year of shaping futures, Unisa, together with its leadership institute, the Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute (TMALI), and the Thabo Mbeki Foundation (TMF), have organised a colloquium discussing issues such as African leadership and its challenges, African leadership on the world stage, and lessons for South Africa and Africa.

Unisa and the Organisation of African Unity are marking major milestones this year with Unisa celebrating its 140th year in June while the OAU turns 50 this May.

To celebrate and reflect on these continental driving forces, Unisa and the Thabo Mbeki Foundation are holding a public dialogue featuring a high-powered panel of leading thought leaders from across the African continent and the diaspora.

The most cursory glance at the list of panellists below will reveal that the university has brought together experts, academics, scholars, and leaders in society – thought leaders par excellence – to discuss how best to take forward the legacy of Unisa and the OAU. These are thinkers whose ideas shape not only academia but also the important conversations of our continent.

This open-ended platform for high-level discourse is an event surely to stimulate and provoke new thinking on the role that Unisa and the OAU have played in shaping Africa, and promises to have significant downstream impact on the public understanding of that role.



Prof Molefi Kete Asante

Molefi Kete Asante is an activist intellectual who is currently a Professor at the Department of African American Studies at Temple University. He is also President of the Molefi Kete Asante Institute for Afrocentric Studies. Asante is a Guest Professor at Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China and Professor Extraordinarius at the Unisa.Asante has published 75 books, among the most recent are Herodotus on Egypt (2012), As I run toward Africa (2011), Maulana Karenga: an intellectual portrait (2009), Afrocentric manifesto (2008); The history of Africa: The quest for eternal harmony (2007); Cheikh Anta Diop: An intellectual portrait (2006); Spear masters: an introduction to African religion (2006), co-authored with Emeka Nwadiora; Handbook of black studies, (2005), co-edited with Maulana Karenga; Encyclopedia of Black Studies, (2004) and the Encyclopedia of African religion (2008), both co-edited with Ama Mazama; Race, rhetoric and identity: the architecton of soul (2005); Erasing racism: The survival of the American nation, (2009); Ancient Egyptian philosophers (2000); Scattered to the wind; Custom and culture of Egypt; and 100 Greatest African Americans.He is considered one of the most published African American scholars and is recognised as one of the most distinguished authors in the African world. He has recently been recognised as one of the most widely cited scholars. In the 1990s, Asante was recognised as one of the most influential leaders in American education.He is married to Ana Yenenga, a Costa Rican, with Akan ancestry via Jamaica. He has three children, Mario, Eka, and MK, Jr., who was born in Zimbabwe. He is a poet, dramatist and a painter. His works on African language, multiculturalism, and human culture and philosophy have been cited and reviewed by journals such as the Africalogical Perspectives, Quarterly Journal of Speech, Journal of Black Studies, Journal of Communication, American Scholar, Daedalus, Western Journal of Black Studies, and International Journal of Pan African Thought. The Utne Reader called him one of the “100 Leading Thinkers” in America. Asante is the founding editor of the Journal of Black Studies(1969) and was the President of the Civil Rights organisation, the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee chapter at UCLA in the 1960s.In 1995 he was made a traditional king, Nana Okru Asante Peasah, Kyidomhene of Tafo, Akyem, Ghana. He was recently made a Wanadu of the Court of the Amiru of Songhay. Asante trained journalists in Zimbabwe immediately after the 2nd Chimurenga and was the mentor to the first group of liberated journalists from Zimbabwe Institute of Mass Communication. He is the International Organiser for Afrocentricity International. His website is:

Prof Peter Lawrence

Peter Lawrence is Emeritus Professor of Development Economics at the University of Keele, UK. He holds a BA and MA from the University of Sussex, UK, and a PhD from the University of Leeds, UK. He has taught in Tanzania at the University of Dar es Salaam, in Uganda at Makerere University, and in Canada at the University of Manitoba, and spent periods of research in Tanzania, Hungary, Spain, India and Ghana.His research has focused principally on development economics issues, including financial liberalisation, rural development, land reform, water poverty and industrialisation. He has also carried out research on unemployment in local labour markets both in the UK and Eastern Europe.He has authored and co-authored articles in a variety of development journals and co-edited three books. Lawrence is a founding editor of the Review of African Political Economy and now serves on its International Advisory Board.

Prof Mahmood Mamdani

Mahmood Mamdani, the Herbert Lehman Professor of Government and Professor of Anthropology and African Studies, continues to build on and add to a record of scholarship that made him the world’s foremost authority on African Studies.Since writing Citizen and subject (1996), the definitive analytical history of late colonialism in Africa, which was awarded the Herskovitz Prize of the African Studies Association for the best book in English in African Studies published in 1996, Mamdani authored Good Muslim, Bad Muslim (2004), an internationally acclaimed account of the Cold War from an African vantage point, and definitive accounts of the Rwanda genocide (When victims become killers, 2001) and the Darfur conflict (Saviors and survivors, 2009). Citizen and Subject was also acclaimed as one of the hundred best books on Africa written in the 20thcentury at the Cape Town Book Fair.In 2008, the magazines Foreign Policy (New York) and Prospect (London) named him one of the World’s Top 10 Public Intellectuals. Columbia University awarded him the Lenfest Distinguished Faculty Award in 2011, noting that “since joining Columbia in 1999, he has also enjoyed spectacular success as a teacher whose class sizes are limited only by the space available in the lecture halls.”Prior to joining the Columbia faculty, Mamdani was a professor at the University of Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania (1973-79), Makerere University in Uganda (1980-1993) and the University of Cape Town (1996-1999). From 1998 to 2002 he served as President of CODESRIA (Council for the Development of Social Research in Africa). His essays have appeared in the New Left Review and the London Review of books, among other journals. He is currently Director and Professor, Makerere Institute of Social Research, Makerere University, Kampala.

Dr Patricia McFadden

Patricia McFadden is an African feminist scholar/activist who lives and works on the African continent and in the global academy. She currently resides in both Zimbabwe and Swaziland – writing and growing most of her own food as a passionate vegan.Her work ranges across a variety of critical feminist issues: sexuality, citizenship and post-coloniality, nationalism and revolutionary struggles, and writing as resistance on the African continent.She has published in various journals and anthologies,edited a feminist journal (SAFERE) and several texts, co-authored a book on the changing African family, and worked as a consultant with the UN, Ford Foundation and the Mellon Foundation among numerous assignments.McFadden was the Endowed Cosby Chair in the Women’s Research and Resource Center at Spelman College, Atlanta Georgia from 2005 to 2008, Distinguished Visiting Professor at Syracuse University, co-hosted by the Women’s and Gender Studies and African American Studies Departments (2008-2010).Currently she is affiliated to the Women and Gender Studies Department at the University of the Western Cape as Extraordinary Visiting Professor (2010-2013). Her latest publications are: “Challenges for African Feminism in the Contemporary Moment” in Harvesting Feminist Knowledge for Public Policy: Rebuilding Progress, D. Jain & D. Elson (eds), SAGE/IDRC, 2011; “Exceptionalism is a Feminist Issue in Southern Africa” in African Women: A Political Economy, M. Turshen (ed), Palgrave MacMillan, 2010; “Re-Crafting Citizenship in the Postcolonial Moment: a focus on Southern Africa” in Works and Days, 57/58 Spring/Fall 2010, Nos. 1 & 2; “Interrogating Americana: an African Feminist Critiquein Feminism and War: Confronting US Imperialism, R. Riley et al (eds), ZED Books, 2008; Plunder as Statecraft: Militarism and Resistance in Neo-colonial Africa” in Security Disarmed: Critical Perspectives on Gender, Race and Militarisation, Barbara Sutton et al (eds) Rutgers University Press, 2008.

Dr Carlos Lopes

Carlos Lopes was appointed by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as the eighth Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa, at the level of UN Under Secretary-General, in September 2012. He previously served as Executive Director of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research in Geneva and Director of the UN System Staff College in Turin at the level of Assistant Secretary-General from March 2007 to August 2012. He was appointed UN Assistant-Secretary-General and Director for Political Affairs in the Executive Office of the Secretary-General during the period 2005 to 2007.Lopes has actively contributed to research on development issues. Specialising in development and strategic planning, he has authored or edited 22 books and taught at universities and academic institutions in Lisbon, Coimbra, Zurich, Uppsala, Mexico, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.He is affiliated with a number of academic networks, and has helped establish various non-governmental organisations and centres for social research, in particular in Africa. Lopes currently serves as Member of Governing Boards or advisory and editorial committees of about a dozen institutions including Kofi Annan Foundation, UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning, Bonn International Center for Conversion, ISCTE Lisbon University Institute, Instituto Ethos, Geneva Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies,and journals such as GéopolitiqueAfricaine, African Sociological Review, and African Identities.Following his service in the public sector of his native Guinea-Bissau in areas of research, diplomacy and planning, Lopes joined the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), as a development economist in 1988. While at UNDP, he occupied various positions, including Deputy Director at the Office of Evaluation and Strategic Planning, Resident Representative in Zimbabwe, as well as Deputy, and later Director of the New York-based Bureau for Development Policy.Lopes was a member of UNDP’s executive team, in recognition of the role he played in developing UNDP’s decentralised policy advisory services and knowledge networking systems. He also managed UNDP’s global programme, with a portfolio of $1 billion. In June 2003, he became the United Nations Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Brazil, the largest UNDP programme in the world at that time.Lopes holds a PhD in History from the University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne and a research master from the Geneva Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies. He has also received an Honorary PhD in Social Sciences from the University of Cândido Mendes, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Prof Valentin Mudimbe

Valentin Mudimbe teaches at Duke University, USA. His publications include The Invention of Africa (Indiana University Press, 1988) and The Idea of Africa (Indiana University Press, 1994). He is also the editor of The Surreptitious Speech: “PrésenceAfricaine” and the Politics of Otherness, 1947-1987 (University of Chicago Press, 1992).

Prof Adebayo Olukoshi

Adebayo Olukoshi is the immediate past Secretary-General of the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA). He holds a PhD in politics from the University of Leeds and he was a Research Professor and Director of Research and Studies at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs.For the next six years, he was a Senior Research Fellow and Research Programme Coordinator of the Research Programme on the Political and Social Context of Structural Adjustment in Sub-Saharan Africa at the Nordiska Afrika-Institutet (The Nordic Africa Institute) in Uppsala, Sweden.During this period, he served for one year as Professional Staff responsible for the development of the Africa programme at The South Centre, in Geneva, Switzerland. He served as resource person at CODESRIA, at the Universities of Tampere (Finland) and Lund (Sweden) on governance, conflict studies and social movements and was a guest lecturer at the Uppsala University.Olukoshi has been editor, contributor and member of editorial boards for numerous African and Nigerian journals and has published widely on politics and development in Africa.

Dr Ebrima Sall

Ebrima Sall is the Executive Secretary of CODESRIA. Before his appointment as Executive Secretary, CODESRIA, in April 2009, Sall was Senior Researcher at the Nordic Africa Institute (NAI) in Uppsala (Sweden) and Director of the Centre for the Promotion of Village Savings and Credit Associations (VISAC) Gambia. He also taught at the University of Gaston Berger of Saint-Louis (UGB) in Senegal for five years.He holds a PhD in Sociology from the University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (France), and was promoted to Maitre de Conférences/Senior Lecturer in Sociology-Demography by the French National Universities Council (CNU) in 1992. He is also a beneficiary of the postdoctoral fellowship of the Yale University Programme in Agrarian Studies.Before assuming the duties of Executive Secretary, Sall was the Programmes Officer in charge of the Academic Freedom and Child & Youth & Conflict Programme, Senior Programme Administrator, Research Programme Officer and Head of Research Programme.His most recent publications include the following books: Human rights and the dilemmas of democracy in Africa (co-edited with Lennart Wohlgemuth), Citizenship and violence in Cote d’Ivoire (co-edited with Jean-Bernard Ouedraogo) and Women in higher education: gender and academic freedom in Africa and the social sciences in Africa. Dr Ebrima Sall is Gambian.

Prof Hellicy Ngambi

Hellicy Ngambi was appointed as the first female vice-chancellor in Zambia at Mulungushi University with effect from 1 September, 2012. She was previously the Executive Dean of the College of Economic and Management Sciences at Unisa, a position held for the first time by a female from 2009 to August 2012, where she also served as the Deputy Executive Dean from 2000.She served as the first female in South Africa to head one of the four top business schools as the Executive Director and CEO of Unisa’s Graduate School of Business Leadership (SBL) from 2005 to 2007 where she had been lecturing from 1994. She was previously the founder and Principal of the Academy of Business Management in Botswana from 1988 to 1994. She started her lecturing career in 1984 at the University of Zambia. She has also lectured at University of South Florida (USA) and the University of Botswana.First female to obtain a Doctorate in Business Leadership (DBL), Unisa, Ngambi also holds a Master of Science degree in Management (MSc, cum laude, also received the Beta Gamma Sigma Award) from the University of South Florida, USA; a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Ball State University, USA; a Bachelor of Arts degree with merit (BA-Econ) from the University of Zambia; a Chartered Institute of Marketing Certificate (CIM), UK; an International Teachers’ Programme (ITP) Certificate, London Business School-UK; and an American Council on Education (ACE) fellowship, USA.Ngambi has published over 135 papers in several publications including scientific articles in accredited journals, books and business magazines. She launched her book entitled RARE total leadership: Leading with head, heart and hands on 16 May 2011 (published by Juta, Cape Town). She is the co-author of Strategic leadership fundamentals: identifying and knowing the pillars of leading competitively in Africa. She is certified in the change management process as a practitioner in accordance with Prosci, the recognised leader in change management research, training and practices.She has for the past six years continuously appeared on radio and TV (e.g. SABC and CNBC Africa) and in over 45 print publications: top cover of African Decisions and CEO magazines, Engineering News, Management Today, Fin-Week and the Financial Mail. She was one of the three finalists in the CEO Magazine top South African women of the year in Government and Business 2008/9 awards. Other awards include the SBL researcher of the year and Unisa woman of the year in the academic category.


Prof Jimi Adesina

Jimi Adesina is Professor of Sociology and Head, Department of Anthropology and Sociology at the University of the Western Cape. He directs the Transformative Social Policy Programme and leads the Intellectual Heritage Project at the same university.Adesina is Professorial Research Associate at the Nordic Africa Institute (Uppsala University, Sweden), and was until March 2011, Professor of Sociology at Rhodes University. He taught at the University of Ibadan, and held visiting appointments at the University of Ulster (Northern Ireland), University of the Witwatersrand, the UN Research Institute for Social Development (Geneva), the UN Economic Commission for Africa (Addis Ababa), the University of Oxford, and the Nordic Africa Institute, Uppsala University(Sweden), among others. Between 2002 and 2008, Adesina served on the Executive Committee of the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA), and Chair of its Programme Sub-Committee.A past President of the South African Sociological Association, Adesina was elected to the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) in 2005. He serves on the editorial board of several journals including the African Sociological Review (CODESRIA), South African Review of Sociology, Current Sociology (International Sociological Association), and Contemporary Sociology (American Sociological Association). He is a Corresponding Editor of the Review of African Political Economy.His research and teaching interests include the Political Economy of Africa’s Development, Methodology, Social Theory, and Social Policy. His published works include Labour in the explanation of an African Crisis (1994, CODESRIA Book Series), Currents and Perspectives in Sociology (2001, Malthouse Press), African Development Challenges in the New Millennium (2006, Zed Books); Social policy in sub-Saharan Africa (2007, Palgrave Macmillan), and most recently Beyond the social protection paradigm: social policy in Africa’s development (2011, Canadian Journal of Development Studies, 32(4)). He directs the Social Policy for Development Planners course at the UN Institute for Economic Development and Planning, in Dakar, Senegal.

Prof Catherine Odora Hoppers

Catherine Odora Hoppers holds a South African Research Chair in Development Education at the University of South Africa. Prior to that, she was a technical adviser on Indigenous Knowledge Systems to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Arts, Culture, Science and Technology (South Africa) and led the Task Team to draft the national policy on Indigenous Knowledge Systems.She was a Distinguished Professional at the Human Sciences Research Council, an Associate Professor at the University of Pretoria, a visiting Professor at Stockholm University (Sweden), Scientific Coordinator and Campus Director for the Council for the Development of Social Science in Africa (CODESRIA) Annual Social Science Campus (2006), and a recipient of an Honorary Doctorate in Philosophy from Orebro University (Sweden), and an Honorary Doctorate in Education from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in South Africa. She was formerly a member of the International Faculty of the United Nations International Leadership Academy (Amman-Jordan), and is a member of the Academy of Science of South Africa.Hoppers is a scholar and policy specialist on International Development, education, North-South questions, disarmament, peace, and human security. She is a UNESCO expert in basic education, lifelong learning, and on Science and society, an expert to the World Economic Forum on benefit sharing and value addition protocols, and the World Intellectual Property Organisation on traditional knowledge and community intellectual property rights.

Prof Chris Landsberg

Chris Landsberg holds a BA Honours from RAU (now UJ), an MA from Rhodes University, and MPhil and DPhil degrees from Oxford. In 1999-2000, he was a Hamburg Fellow at Stanford University in California. He previously lectured at the University of the Witwatersrand, and is a guest lecturer at the Diplomatic Academy of the South African Department of International Relations and Co-operation (DIRCO), formerly the Department of Foreign Affairs.Landsberg’s main academic interests are in the areas of the politics of policy and foreign policy analysis, and he has published a range of articles and books in the areas of South Africa’s foreign policy and Africa’s continental policy architecture, and the continent’s international relations.Landsberg currently teaches undergraduate and postgraduate modules in foreign policy analysis, South African diplomacy and foreign policy, and international organisations and Africa’s international relations.He is a former Director of the Centre for Policy Studies in Johannesburg, and a co-founder of the Centre for Africa’s International Relations (CAIR) at Wits.Landsberg is currently working on a research project on South Africa’s foreign policy, in which he traces the Republic’s diplomatic narratives from 1910 to 2010.

Prof Pedro Tabensky

Pedro Alexis Tabensky is the director of the newly formed Allan Gray Centre for Leadership Ethics, nested in the Department of Philosophy at Rhodes University. He is the author of Happiness: Personhood, Community, Purpose (2003) and of several articles and book chapters. Tabensky is also the editor of and contributor to Judging and Understanding: Essays on Free Will, Narrative, Meaning and the Ethical Limits of Condemnation (2006) and of The Positive Function of Evil (2009). He is currently working on a solo authored book on the complex interrelationship between goodness and evil, which he aims to complete in 2013 and he is the co-editor (with Advocate Tshidi Hashatse) of the forthcoming collection of essays on institutional culture in the higher education sector, with a special focus on South Africa.Tabensky runs a yearly roundtable series on critical issue in higher education and a biannual roundtable series on leadership. He is a regular commentator in the national and international media.

Prof Shadrack Gutto

Shadrack Gutto holds an LLB (Hons) (Nairobi, Kenya), MALD (Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy/Tufts, USA), PG Diploma in International and Comparative Human Rights Law (Strasbourg, France), Ph D (Lund, Sweden).Born in Kisii, Kenya, in 1951; acquired South African Citizenship in October 2000. Lecturer and Research Fellow, Faculty of Law and the Institute of Development Studies, University of Nairobi, respectively (1978-1982). In 1982, during the Kenyan Government’s crackdown on critical academics, was forced into exile and lived in Graz, Austria and London, UK. Lecturer, Law Faculty, University of Zimbabwe (1983-1988) and founding editor of the Zimbabwe Law Review. Declared a persona non grata for unspecified “national security” grounds in 1988. Granted Convention refugee status in Sweden in 1989. Senior Teaching and Research Fellow, Institute of Sociology of Law, Lund University (1989 – March1994); meanwhile completed a doctorate in sociology of human rights law in 1993.Associate Professor, Law Faculty and the Centre for Applied Legal Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand from April 1994; Deputy Director (1995-1998) and Acting Director (2000-2001). Headed the Land Rights Research Programme and lectured in Public International Law, Human Rights, Property Law and Land Reform, Constitutional Law and Jurisprudence. Supervised masters and doctoral students. Was Co-Chairperson of Wits University Transformation/Institutional Forum 1996-2000.Gutto is currently editor of the International Journal of African Renaissance Studies.

Prof Barney Pityana

Barney Pityana was born in Uitenhage and attended the University of Fort Hare. He was one of the founding members of the South African Students’ Organisation of the Black Consciousness Movement with Steve Biko.Pityana read law in South Africa and is an admitted attorney of the High Court of South Africa. He also studied theology at King’s College London and trained for the Anglican ministry at Ripon College Cuddesdon Oxford. He served as a curate in the Ecumenical Parish of Woughton in Milton Keynes, Diocese of Oxford and was Vicar of Immanuel Highters Heath Birmingham. He has also served as Director of the World Council of Churches’ Programme to Combat Racism based in Geneva (1988-1992). He received a PhD in Religious Studies at the University of Cape Town in 1995.Pityana has published extensively in theology, human rights law and politics. He has also held various positions in Africa and internationally relating to his interests and commitment to human rights. Among these are serving on the Chairman of the AU Commission’s Steering Committee on African Intellectuals and the Diaspora; the African Governance Institute, Chairman of the African Council for Distance Education, and as Chairperson of Higher Education South Africa (HESA), which is the voice of the higher education vice-chancellors and institutions.In April 2006, Pityana received the Award of the Order of the Grand Counsellor of the Baobab: Silver from President Thabo Mbeki. Since 2011, he has been the Rector of the Anglican College of the Transfiguration in Grahamstown.

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