The Annual Thabo Mbeki Africa Day Lecture


The Annual Thabo Mbeki Africa Day Lecture

The Annual Thabo Mbeki Africa Day Lecture is an annual celebration of the founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), now known as the African Union (AU), on 25 May 1963. The Thabo Mbeki Foundation hosts or co-hosts public lectures, seminars, cultural events and other activities to commemorate this historic occasion and reflect on the state of affairs in Africa.


Since 2010, the Foundation has hosted some of Africa’s most prominent leaders

Heeding the call made by Africa’s political leaders of 1963, that May 25th be used to focus on advancing the goals the continent has set for itself. This did not change when African Liberation Day became Africa Day.

Successive lecturers have made important comments, observations, and suggestions to add to the process of thinking strategically about what Africa must do. And more importantly to set an agenda for Africa to respond to the most potent challenge it faces in each year.

The lecture is part of the Thabo Mbeki Foundation’s broader vision to promote the African Renaissance, which is defined as “the continuing process through which Africans overcome centuries of oppression and exclusion to restore their dignity and rightful place in global affairs”. The lecture also contributes to the TM-School’s mission to produce graduates who are equipped with the knowledge, skills, and values to advance Africa’s interests in the world.

Africa Day

2023 Thabo Mbeki Africa Day Lecture

The 13th Thabo Mbeki Africa Day Lecture was held on Saturday, 27 May 2023, in the City of Conakry, Republic of Guinea. This was the first ever Thabo Mbeki Africa Day Lecture hosted outside of South Africa, as a demonstration of the Foundation’s commitment to being a pan-African organisation.

Africa Day

Hosted in the City of Conakry

The Foundation believes that hosting Africa Day in the City of Conakry was a unique platform to critically examine the challenges of fragility and security in West Africa, along with the factors affecting its economic development. The lecture intended to catalyse bold new actions, solutions, and strategies from state and non-state actors to deliver political, social, and economic progress for all in the region.

The lecture was themed “Pan-African Imperatives: Society, Knowledge, and Institutions”

‘Each generation must, out of relative obscurity, discover its mission, fulfill it, or betray it.’

– Frantz Fanon

Africa Day

Our Commitment

We celebrated Africa Day this year under the shadow of several challenges – crises of legitimacy; crises of institutions; crises of governance; and crises of society – that compel us to ask ourselves about our own mission today. A generation before us, in the city of Conakry did just that fifty years ago: Sekou Touré, Kwame Nkrumah, Amilcar Cabral, Miriam Makeba, Kwame Touré, among them.

We need a new commitment or, in the words of President Mbeki, an African renaissance, not of attitudes and platitudes, but of knowledge and creativity toward progress. Such a renaissance will not happen unless we give states, institutions, and economies based on moral regimes, ethical principles, and legal norms commensurate with the expectations of African peoples and societies.

Africa Day

Africa Day Lecture Guests

The 2023 guest lecturer was Guinea born political scientist, Professor Siba N. Grovogui. He is a Professor of International Relations Theory and African Political Thought at Cornell University in the United States of America.

The lecture was followed by a musical tribute to Miriam Makeba.

The Thabo Mbeki Foundation’s decision to organise a Miriam Makeba Tribute Concert as part of its 13th Africa Day Lecture activities in Conakry, Guinea is an initiative to not only celebrate the life of a legendary South African singer and activist, but also an opportunity to promote cultural exchange and collaboration in Africa’s development. Furthermore, it is a tribute to Makeba’s time in Conakry, where she spent over a decade in exile, and played a significant role in the cultural and political life of Guinea.

Africa Day

Miriam Makeba, also known as Mama Africa

Miriam Makeba, also known as Mama Africa, was an iconic musician and human rights activist whose work inspired generations of Africans and people around the world. She used her music to fight against apartheid and promote social justice, earning her global recognition and

Makeba’s life and work embody the values of the Thabo Mbeki Foundation, which seeks to promote Africa’s Renaissance by engaging with efforts aimed at achieving the continent’s development and progress. After she was forced into exile from South Africa, Makeba found refuge in Guinea, where she was warmly welcomed by President Ahmed Sékou Touré.

Africa Day

Insights into the life Of Miriam Makeba

Makeba lived in Conakry for over a decade and became an integral part of Guinea’s cultural and political life. During her time in Conakry, Makeba collaborated with local musicians and artists, which helped to promote cultural exchange and collaboration between South Africa and Guinea. Makeba’s influence on Guinea’s music scene was significant, and her presence in the country helped to elevate Guinea’s reputation as a cultural hub in West Africa.

Makeba’s time in Conakry is a significant part of her legacy and adds another layer of significance to the Thabo Mbeki Foundation’s decision to organise a Miriam Makeba Tribute Concert in Conakry. Moreover, the concert was an excellent way to showcase the talent of local artists and promote their work on the international stage.

Africa Day

Previous Lecturers

Since its inception in 2010, the TMF has hosted some of Africa’s most eminent thought leaders as its esteemed lecturers. They are:

Africa Day Lecture 2018 Phumzile Mlambo Ngcuka

Africa Day Lecture 2019

Lecture delivered by H.E. Hailemariam Desalegn

Thabo Mbeki foundation

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