In Search of an African Renaissance - An Agenda for Modernisation, Neo-Traditionalism or Africanisation?
By Ineke van Kessel, in Quest, 2001. A search for the African Renaissance, the present buzzword in South Africa, produces a wide variety of meanings. Searching the web results in several hits under Renaissance Incorporated: the African Renaissance as marketing device. Searching South African bookshops leads predictably to the section ‘Politics’ or ‘Current Affairs’, again to ‘Business’, but also to ‘Religion’: the African Renaissance as ideological and spiritual beacon, as a political programme for Thabo Mbeki’s government, an instrument of foreign policy, Africa’s response to globalisation, a marketing strategy and a ‘back to roots’ recipe for moral regeneration. African Renaissance conferences resonate with pan-African nostalgia and romanticised visions of Africa’s heritage and lost empires. Traditional chiefs evoke the African Renaissance to safeguard their power and privilege: the African Renaissance as an instrument of neo-traditionalism. |+| Full Text Article, pdf