African Renaissance Festival 2017
African Renaissance Festival 2017



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African Renaissance Festival 2017

2017-06-23

The 19th edition of the annual African Renaissance Festival was hosted at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre (Durban ICC) from the 25 to 27 May 2017.

The Festival included a two day conference, which was held on Thursday 25 and Friday 26 May with the theme of "Innovation and Transformation for Inspired Entrepreneurship". A fundraising banquet was held on 26 May 2017 at 19h00 at the Durban ICC, where the guest of honour was Mr Sim Tshabalala, CEO of Standard Bank. Entertainment was provided by Lira who was also one of the motivational speakers for day two of the conference.

The African Renaissance Festival is held in May each year as part of the Africa Day celebrations, which are held on 25 May. Africa Day marks the formation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in May 1963; subsequent to that, the African Union (AU) was launched in Durban in 2002. The spirit of Africa Day was captured by the key note speaker − Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, who quoted a number of African leaders and poets to illustrate his message. Of note, Deputy President Ramaphosa said, "This gathering should be about affirming our individual and collective self-worth as a people.

It should be about raising our consciousness to the endless possibility that the idea and experience of being African carries. It should be about us taking advantage of the vast, golden opportunities available
in the programme of rebuilding Africa."

KZN Premier Willies Mchunu said that the African Renaissance Festival should be seen in the same light as WEF Africa and the Tourism Indaba in terms of being used as "instruments to unite brothers and sisters in the continent and the Diaspora".

The Festival programme was closely aligned with the need to promote an entrepreneurial culture in KwaZulu-Natal.

Government has identified that poverty; inequality and unemployment are the main challenges that face the youth in our society today. In order for radical economic transformation to occur it is necessary to provide holistic and innovative interventions to counter these socio-economic problems.

Mr Sihle Zikalala MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs said, "We are pleased that this year's conference pays a particular focus on entrepreneurship development as a means to ensure that more and more of our people participate and drive the economic trajectory of our
continent."

Prof Sihawukele Ngubane, Chairperson of the African Renaissance Festival said, "Development of the youth as entrepreneurs plays an important part in Africa's future. The conference aims to give the delegates examples of business success to aspire to, as well as the resources to achieve similar success."

Lerato Molapo, known professionally as Lira summed up a key message of the conference. "Not everyone can be employed. You as young people have to be investors, innovators and changemakers." She added that the question people need to ask is, "How can we make Africa better?" Entrepreneurship
starts with finding solutions to challenges and problems facing South Africa. Write a new story - it starts with you."

In addition, in order to facilitate entrepreneurship, ease of access to education to acquire skills and knowledge must be provided. In his presentation, Dr Thabo Mashongoane - Department of Higher Education and Training, National Skills Authority, reported that, "The gap between the labour market and the current post school system continues to be one of the sources of unemployment, and this needs to
be addressed. The skills planning system of the country needs to be intensified to be able to recognize
the skills demand and supply gaps that exist."

Consequently, the promotion of a culture of entrepreneurship through education at our tertiary colleges and universities is necessary. Speakers on the various interventions underway by institutions included
Professor Thandwa Mthembu - Vice Chancellor: Durban University of Technology, Professor Irrshad Kaseeram - Deputy Dean: Research and Internationalisation, University of Zululand, and Dr Johan van
Koller - Institutional Planning & Research, Mangosuthu University of Technology.

Often the question is asked, "What action has taken place as a result of the annual African Renaissance Conference presentations and discussions?"

The KZN Youth International Scholarships and Exchange Programme website www.kznyis.gov.za which was launched on the 7 October 2016 by the Premier Willies Mchunu is one of the direct results of this platform.

There are a number of scholarships and exchange programmes available to South African students to study abroad. These are offered by different governments and institutes from all over the world and are often not fully utilised each year.

Mr Mbongeni Mathe - Youth Chief Directorate, Office of the Premier, KZN presented on the KZN Youth International Scholarship and Exchange Programme as well as the website platform.

Dr Shashank Vikram - Consulate General of India, Ms Susan Knowles - Education Advisor, US Consulate General, Mr Marcus Cornaro - European Union Ambassador to South Africa and Mr Andrzej Kanthak - Polish Ambassador to South Africa also provided information on the various opportunities
available to study internationally from the respective countries that they represented.

The African Renaissance Concert, a highlight event of the Festival, concluded the programme. East Coast Radio DJ Phat Joe was the host for the evening's entertainment. Three superb artists − AKA,
Naima Kay and Nasty C − entertained the audience and delivered on all expectations as promised.

www.africanrenaissance.net




African Renaissance Festival 2017

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