Introduction l. African Renaissance: A Resurrection The theory of an African Renaissance has captured the interests of a number of intellectuals, reporters and politicians. In South Africa, where the concept has come to be closely identified with the political perceptions of former President Taboo Imbibe, it has been received as a proposal for “African political renewal and economic regeneration” (July, 2001 : 87). The concept can thus be viewed as a “rebirth”; a resurrection-since it has inspired policies to address the socio-economic fallouts of apartheid.
The thought, Mallow (2001:1) contends, is a dominant trait in the “outlook f the African National Congress (NC)-led government”, and has been embraced as a “key component of its ideological outlook, especially as this pertains to international matters” (Mallow, 2001:1). The view is a significant theme in the organization’s policy quest, and an exclusive ‘African Renaissance Fund’, Mallow (2001:2) confirms, was vested as part of this course. According to the Strategic Plan published by the Department of Foreign Affairs in 2004, the principles that underpin South Africans foreign policy include, commitments to the promotion of Human Rights and necromancy; to Justice and International Law in the conduct of relations between nations; to international peace and intentionally agreed-upon mechanisms for resolving conflict; to promoting the interests of Africa in world affairs; and to economic development through regional and international cooperation in an interdependent and globalizes world” (Nathan, 2005:366). II.
Post-1994 NC-led government policies/actors In general, policy is expressed as a broad interpretation for “desired state of affairs” entailing “specific decisions” occasionally in a “rational sequence” (Nikkei, van deer Wald and Junker 2001:87). The author reasons that the term can be used in several ways, and involves “action as well as inaction” (Nikkei, van deer Wald and Junker 2001:87). An exceptionally good policy is a device that “makes organization easier” (University of Sydney, 2012), and permits the public to associate with the government’s core principles more adequately.
Nikkei, van deer Wald and Junker (2001:87) distinguish between three extensive classes of policy, namely “domestic, foreign and defense policies”. Nevertheless, the African Renaissance has been listed by several intellectuals, like Assiduously (2008: 110) as a “foreign-policy tragedy’ (Assiduously, 2008: 110). The concept is a “South African emerging foreign policy doctrine” encompassing a “set of foreign policy goals and domestic styles, and politics entrenched in a set of political, social and economic relation” (Bјsheer and van Amerce 2005: 179).
The Department of Foreign Affairs (2008), notes that South Africans policy initiatives should be modest and not overly ambitious. A reactive policy is inappropriate. The country policies-both domestic and international level- in essence map out to ensure “peace, democracy, respect for human rights and sustained development” (Department Of Foreign Affairs, 2008). A range of principal policy actors “exercise varying degrees of influence to shape the outcomes of these processes” (Raptor, 2004: 3).
Among these actors are “formal state institutions such as the ruling party, opposition parties, the legislature, portfolio committees and individual members of provincial legislatures. There are also external, non-state policy actors and institutions such as organized interest groups, the media, independent consultants, non-governmental organizations and ordinary citizens” (Raptor, 2004:4). Examples include “the modern social movement, Anti- Appropriation Forum (APE); the Institute for Democracy in South Africa (IDEAS)” amongst the many.
These organizations, posits Ranchos (2007:5) have emerged as “very strong and vociferous organizations” who bid to shape and impact the state and its operations (Ranchos 2007:7) Integrating Post-Apartheid South Africa into the African Economy The report further comments that the NC-led political framework and “methods of formal engagement made for new opportunities and challenges” (Ranchos 2007:13). Bassoon (1991: 5) declares that “post-apartheid South Africa must be able to release more resources for reinvestment in the economy to revivalist it and for dealing with social problems” (Bassoon, 1991: 5).
This challenge calls for “re-modeling” existing organizations to admit a “new’ South Africa. Cooperation has been an essential tool in strengthening the newly -emerged economy, and efficient in “gradually and steadily leading to the integration of the economy with the harmonistic of currencies, financial systems, and infrastructure” (Bassoon 1991: 9) The political process has deviated from a “regime of confrontation to a regime of negotiation”, asserts Bassoon (1991:12).
In addressing the problems underlying the country political, social and economic spectrum, policy response required a unified participation in eradicating and transforming the then white-rule racist and undemocratic Constitution, and implementing an effective representative political governing structure (African National Congress, 2011) African Renaissance in Historical Perspective Bјsheer and van Amerce (2005: 162) consider that the African Renaissance perception has a rigid heritage that traces back in the History of the African continent.
They describe events like the “rebellion of slaves in the ‘new world order’ n the late eighteenth century’ as interpreted by Manage (2001), and other comparable events, were the early basic “breeding grounds for pan-Africans”, a term that is largely supposed as an influential “predecessor of, and source of inspiration for African Renaissance. (Lundeberg ; Hellhole 1999; Bјsheer and van Amerce 2005: 162) Bјsheer and van Amerce (2005: 166) remarks that even though the pan-Africans objective shrunk quickly after being introduced, Julius Anywhere’s image of a “United States of Africa” integrated by boundaries and united by a common language of prosperity, perished and has been kept awake by “many represents of Africans development” (Bјsheer and van Amerce (2005: 167) What started centuries ago in the form of “African uprisings” is “reflected in the present day struggle of the African continent to overcome hardships such as ‘unstable political systems’; ‘predatory elites’; a high ‘international debt burden’ and unfavorable international trade regimes” (Bјsheer and van Amerce (2005: 171). The present-day use of the African Renaissance approach was pronounced foremost by former South African President, Taboo Imbibe, and is broadly understood as a ‘resurrection’ of the African continent, as it stimulated Africans to seek “African lotions for African problems” Bјsheer and van Amerce (2005: 172). It focuses on concerns like “regional cooperation, the emancipation of disadvantaged groups, sustainable economic development and the deepening and sustenance of democracy’ (Bјsheer and van Amerce (2005: 173). My African Experience, My African Renaissance What does the African Renaissance notion in its current state encompass?
Components of the concept, Vale and Masses (1998: 272) suggest, are intentionally kept unclear, so as to “create space for embroiling people for championing the AR concept” (Vale and Masses 1998: 272), because it is utilized by a broad spectrum of actors, from “politicians and policy-makers, to businessmen and scholars” (Vale and Masses 1998: 273) – it is almost impossible for the term to lose its gist. Vale and Masses (1998: 273) observe that the “visionary language of the African Renaissance was understood by five suggested areas of engagement: the encouragement of cultural exchange; the ’emancipation of African woman from patriarchy; the manipulation of youth; the broadening, deepening and sustenance of democracy; and the initiation of sustainable economic development” (Vale and Masses 1998: 273; Bјsheer and van Amerce 2005: 179).
Apart from unveiling the core themes of the theory, it is necessary to explore the scope of the concept in the contrasting views explored by Vale and Masses (1998: 278) in order to understand whether or not the development of the African Renaissance is really necessary for South Africa- both on domestic and foreign policy levels. The authors differentiate between two explicit views of South Africa in Africa: the “globalize interpretation”- which was “cast in the modernist tradition”, and embraces a modernist approach of globalization, with fair emphasis on appropriation, liberation’s and the sort. The second approach- “Africans approach”- adopts the African Renaissance to “unlock a series of complex social constructions” embodied around African status.
The former suggests a “continental effort by South Africans” to attain “sustained economic growth and wealth accumulation”, the latter calls for a “more post-structural interpretation” of global affairs (Vale and Masses 1998: 278) The essence of South Africans African policy- motivated by Ember’s perception of Renaissance targets escalating South Africans strategic arrangements on the continent, which apart from establishing “good provenance” , also include “introducing new economic policies” that would ensure access to good education, adequate health care, decent houses, clean water and modern sanitation” (Taylor and Williams, 2001 : 269) Despite much criticism on the concept for having a driven vision but being nothing more than a “wish list”, the African Renaissance perspective is significant and necessary for South Africans, because it is an efficient tool for the nations’ ambitions towards a peaceful, equal and democratic state from the appalling former white-rule government characterized by oppression and injustice. The theory has been relevant in re-building South Africans social, political and economic set-up, and has played a significant role in re-shaping South Africans role and recognition in international affairs.
For example the country capacity and success in hosting the 2010 FIFE World Cup Just a few years ago, and the possibility of being the first African country to hold permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council (Taylor and Williams, 2001 : 269). It is the very same polices shaped by the AR theory behind the progress and political and socio-economic adjustments, noted by Mislabel (2011) to have purposed with “abolishing all forms of corruption and apartheid incompetence’. The post-1994 NC led government “adopted progressive policies that sought to ensure the economic advancement” of previously deprived social-classes and races. These policies comprise of “Transformation, BEE, employment equity, affirmative action, preferential procurement” (Mislabel, 2001).
They are a monument of a “shining success of democracy’- as they have indeed promoted economic growth and human rights in the democratic South Africa. This, of course, is not to overlook the negative reality concerning dishonest practices that have gathered around policies like BEE. ‘I Am an African’: Contradictions and Inconsistencies The African renaissance is an inclusive concept, developed for on principles of equality and democracy for a united African society, and seeks to promote the dreams and ambitions of the African citizen irrespective of race, gender, ethnicity or religion. In “African Renaissance language”, and on the “Cosmopolitan and African image” projected in Ember’s ‘l am an African’ speech- who is an African?
It is critical to explicitly spell-out what is meant by ‘African’, to examine the extent of African contribution in IR (Smith, 2008) “l know that none dare challenge me when I say- I am an African! ” Taboo Imbibe. Africa is a diverse continent and “South Africa is experiencing an African Renaissance built on its diverse and fascinating cultural heritage” (South African Tourism, 2011). Consequently, these people’s “worldviews and insights will be equally diverse” (Ackermann). In a similar vein, “only if African insights are significantly different from the existing ‘R, will they make a worthwhile nutrition to the field” (Karen, 2008). An African to me is anybody and everybody who resembles the wealthy and ‘colorful mosaic’ spectrum that embraces the fabric’ of the African society.
He needs to pride himself in the African culture and history- and reflect the “spirit of reconciliation and mutual respect” that penetrates the African society, and aid to “re-enforce the country pride in its multi-ethnic roots” (South African Tourism, 2011). Color doesn’t begin to own the rich concept- African. Simply put an African is an African. Undeniably, politics still runs across race nines in South Africa, but the common vision for a stable and democratic Africa, embodied in the African Renaissance policy can erase those lines, and assist in moving forward as a ‘trailside’ state built on policies that are inclusive and rooted in achieving equal opportunity for all. The policies that emanate from the African Renaissance objectives, I. E.
BEE- refuted to favor only the black population- were formulated to fix the problems of the past which deprived certain groups of people (Mislabel 2001), and should be understood in not-so extremist meaner ‘exclusionary), because they were employed to ‘make right’ -to correct the country past apartheid fallouts. We have different but not contrasting cultures, and all seek a common goal: political, social and economic success. The AR policy was designed upon similar vision and objectives, and no doubt can contribute towards the advancement of the everyday ordinary South African. Conclusion “To succeed, South Africans African Renaissance will draw together widely divergent ideas on what it is to be African in the eve of the 21st century’ (Vale and Masses 1998: 280).
This paper has dissected Ember’s sentiment of an African Renaissance as n African ‘resurrection’: South Africans policy for All Africans, All South Africans. It is up to every South African to realism the common platform of interests, and pursue a shared effort to ensure the profit of the African Renaissance policy, and translate its vision in a Just and equal democratic society without excluding the ‘African’-which is anyone and everybody. Cooperation is fundamental. Racial quarrels and conflicts are a good recipe for failure. Holding anger, I have come to realism, is no different to holding a sneeze- sooner than later you’re bound to get hurt.