Date: 28-29 November, 2016
Venue: School of Economics Seminar Room, University of Cape Towm
Professor Sam Moyo, who made enormous contributions to the research on African Potential, passed away on 22 November 2015 in Delhi, India, at the age of 61. He was involved in a traffic accident on his way back from an international conference. As Prof. Moyo was one of the main counterparts in Africa for the research on African Potentials, we were speechless from the shock of the news. Researchers and activists working on land issues around the world have also shared in this great loss.
Academic gatherings to commemorate Prof. Moyo’s work have been organized around the world. One such event, a colloquium titled “Land, the State and Decolonising the Agrarian Structure in Africa,” was co-organized by the African Potentials Research Project, Kyoto University’s Centre for African Area Studies, and University of Cape Town’s Centre for African Studies, on 28 and 29 November 2016.
The venue was the School of Economics Seminar Room at the University of Cape Town. Despite the expanding student movements across South Africa regarding tuition fees, the campus regained its composure by the time of the event, which was held as planned.
Mr. Walter Chambati, Vice Director of the African Institute for Agrarian Studies, at which Prof. Moyo served as the Director, and Prof. Moyo’s daughter, Ms. Q. Moyo, delivered speeches at the colloquium. As for the keynote speech, Prof. Lungisile Ntsebeza, the director of Centre for African Studies, University of Cape Town, gave a speech on the “Legacy of Archie Mafeje and Sam Moyo,” while Prof. Mine delivered the concept paper, “ Perspectives on African Potentials,” which he co-authored with Prof. Moyo.
In addition to Japanese researchers, participants from Zimbabwe, South Africa, Ghana, the United Kingdom, and China contributed to the event with 17 presentations on the future of agriculture in Africa. From the present project, Prof. Yoko Nagahara, Dr. Shuichi Oyama, Dr. Chizuko Sato, and Ms. Yumi Sakata presented their reports. The presentation themes varied from agriculture in Zimbabwe, land reform in South Africa, and continental-scale agrarian changes in Africa to the roles of the government, sustainable development, and tradition and gender, but all the presentations related in some way to Prof. Moyo’s intellectual legacy and his experience of land reform in Zimbabwe.
Discussion among the participants on perspectives on African Potentials concluded the colloquium. The participants agreed on the importance of accelerating exchanges of young researchers and postgraduate students in the collaborative framework between African and Asia. This was also a point the late Prof. Moyo emphasized in his life.
Taking this colloquium as momentum, the “localization” of African Potentials is expected to deepen and expand in South Africa. A strong member of the African Potentials Project, Prof. Francis Nyamnjoh, University of Cape Town, raised the proposal for this colloquium. The participants pledged to reunite at the forum at Rhodes University in South Africa, where Prof. Moyo served as a visiting professor.