Thursday, 16 March 2017

Billy Kay talks on Africa and the Scottish Diaspora

Billy Kay
                         Photographer Louis DeCarlo                   
Billy Kay is the author of The Scottish World, and the producer and presenter of several series of radio documentaries about the global effects of the Scottish diaspora. Here Billy will place Dundee’s Calabar Missionary Mary Slessor in the context of this diaspora and look at the profound effects of the Scottish missionary effort in Malawi. He will also comment on other places where presbyterianism was planted from South Africa to Russia to Brazil. The talk will be illustrated with audio from Billy’s BBC Radio Scotland programmes and will include music from Mary Slessor’s Duketown Parish Church in Calabar, and the voices of the daughters of Daniel Slessor, one of the children saved and adopted by Mary.   

For more information visit     

                          Ticket: Free.  
Follow the link below to book your place.                       

Dundee Africa Research Network (DARN) proudly presents an illustrated talk by Writer and Broadcaster Billy Kay:

  31st March, 2017

Lecture Theatre 4 
         Dalhousie Building
        University of Dundee 

       6:00 PM

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Politicising History in South Africa: Drawing Lessons for Sustainable Development

We were delighted to welcome Dr Matt Graham as our guest speaker on 13th March 2017. His presentation was titled: “African National Congress and the Politics of History in South Africa”. The participants had different backgrounds including politics, law, economics, history, and broadcasting.
Rhiannon Dempsey (left) facilitating the talk and Dr Matt Graham (right) answering questions after his presentation.
Dr Graham traced the history of the African National Congress (ANC), a South African political party that became synonymous with the struggle against apartheid
He examined how the continuing symbolism of the ANC as a resistance to oppression and misrule, was being exploited by key political actors with a view to maintaining a grip on power. The speaker then considered whether there was a link between the pivotal role of the ANC and the reality of current governance issues, political tension, and economic challenges.
Some of the participants. Dr Matt Graham is seated fourth from the left.
These set the stage for several incisive comments and questions from participants. Some contributors explored the possible link between the complicated colonial history of South Africa, the peculiar context in which the ANC was formed, and the current socio-economic challenges. There were also comments concerning the future of the ANC considering the politicisation of history and how such politicisation may influence other countries in the region.

We would very much like to thank Dr Graham for his participation as well as those who attended and contributed to the event’s success.

By Rhiannon Dempsey and Pontian Okoli

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

African National Congress and the Politics of History in South Africa

Dundee Africa Research Network (DARN) is pleased to present Dr. Matt Graham  as the guest speaker on the forthcoming talk titled  'African National Congress and the Politics of History in South Africa'. The overview of the presentation is provided below. We look forward to welcoming you to this fascinating lecture.
On August 3 2016, South Africa’s governing African National Congress (ANC) suffered unparalleled losses in the local government elections. What made the 2016 local elections so important was that the hegemony of the ANC, a party which played a leading role in the downfall of apartheid, and has dominated the political landscape since 1994, looked under serious pressure for the first time. This is the only election in the post-apartheid era in which the ANC has received less than 60% of the national vote.
Yet, despite a maelstrom of scandals and mishaps that surrounded President Jacob Zuma and the ANC, encompassing an impressive list of issues such as Nkandla, Guptagate, and #feesmustfall, millions of South African’s still remained remarkably loyal to the party of liberation. An important reason for this loyalty is located within the disputed realm of history and the mainstream reinterpretation and utilisation of the past by the ANC. In this paper I will explore some of these contested issues by delving into some of the ‘myths’ of the past by examining the role of historic remembrance in modern South Africa, offer a sense of the continued power and influence of the liberation struggle (especially within a Southern African setting), while demonstrating how the official narrative is promoted.
The paper will offer a sense of how a self-serving portrayal of history designed to suit their current political demands centred on the continued retention of power remains an important electoral tool. 
Bio:  Dr. Matt Graham is a historian of modern, sub-Saharan Africa, with a particular focus on South Africa. Matt is interested in national liberation movements; nationalism; the 'invention' of traditions; and the development of post-colonial governance. His first book 'The crisis of South African foreign policy', which examines the historic trajectory of the ANC's foreign policy from exile to power came out in 2016.

Join us in this fascinating talk.

  • Start: 13 Mar 5:00PM      End: 13 Mar 6:30PM       
  • Location: Dalhousie Room 2G03, University of Dundee
  • Cost: Free
  •   Organiser: Dundee Africa Research Network (DARN) -