Journal Article

Pixley kaIsaka Seme and the African Renaissance debate

Chris Dunton

in African Affairs

Published on behalf of Royal African Society

Volume 102, issue 409, pages 555-573
Published in print October 2003 | ISSN: 0001-9909
Published online October 2003 | e-ISSN: 1468-2621 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/afraf/adg047
Pixley kaIsaka Seme and the African Renaissance debate

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  • African Studies
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In 1906, Pixley kaIsaka Seme, a future president of the African National Congress, delivered an oration at New York's Columbia University, entitled ‘The regeneration of Africa’. This can be seen as an important contribution to discourse on the notion of an African Renaissance, the history of which discourse extends from the mid‐nineteenth century to the present day. Analysis of the discursive strategies Seme employed in his oration reveals certain contradictions in the structure and development of his argument. These contradictions are also discernible in current contributions to the African Renaissance debate, for example in South Africa. A historical trend therefore emerges, in which central features of African Renaissance discourse — especially with regard to models for social and economic renewal — may be shown to be persistently problematic.

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Subjects: African Studies ; International Relations ; African History ; Regional Political Studies

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