Presidents Address to the AAM Conference
As part of the national celebrations to mark the decade of freedom, the Documentation Centre and the Campbell Collections of the University of KwaZulu-Natal will jointly host a conference of the International Anti-Apartheid Movement over three days in Durban from 10 - 13 October, 2004. The conference will seek to bring together, for the first time, activists who have been involved in the anti-apartheid struggle from countries such as the UK, USA, India, Australia, Japan, Germany, France, New Zealand, the Nordic countries and the African continent to South Africa. The conference will take place around a myriad of related activities in the city such as exhibitions from different countries, film launches and book launches. Invitees to the conference will include members of the international anti-apartheid movement, stalwarts of South Africa's liberation struggle, members of the South African government, representatives of foreign governments and academics.
By focusing on the role of this international movement and its contribution to South Africa's new democracy, this conference will allow participants to reflect on this country's achievements during the first decade of freedom and to discuss mutual cooperation during the second decade of freedom as well as the challenges that face this country. For the victory of 1994 belongs not just to South Africans but to the thousands of international activists and the organisations they led in solidarity with the oppressed of this country. That there has been a tendency in recent years to minimize or underestimate the central role played by these peoples of the world in the struggle against apartheid, is undeniable. This is an issue that needs to be urgently addressed.
The conference will also provide an opportunity to reflect on the contributions of the International Solidarity Movement to the struggle for human rights globally. More often than not, the AAM was linked to the struggle for human rights within those countries or elsewhere. While South Africans celebrate the decade of freedom and hold the Bill of Rights as an example of tolerance, human decency and mutual respect in a nation marked by racial, religious and cultural diversity, they rarely stop to reflect on what happened to the struggle for human rights elsewhere that were linked to the campaign against apartheid. An evaluation of the work of the International Solidarity Movement in the struggle for human rights in other countries other than South Africa will assist in taking stock of what happened to those struggles for these rights