The African Association for Rhetoric (AAR)
On the 3rd of July 2007, in the subterranean auditorium of the Malherbe Library, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, Professor Donal McCracken, accompanied by Professor Johan Jacobs, the then Dean and Deputy Dean Postgraduate Studies, Faculty of Human Sciences, inaugurated the conference series of what was conceived as the African Rhetoric Project, a section of the proposal for the establishment of a broad and robust African Rhetoric Project. Since then, the conference has migrated across provinces, across nations, and now, across continents. The current state of the Association is credited to the sacrifices made by fellow rhetoricians and members of our families who have given their unflinching support and resources since inception.
Similar to any endeavour that is meant to last, solid foundations have to be laid. Hopefully, in the future, the project will be taken over by new generations of scholars whose vision aligns with the fundamental value of the project: the promotion of discourse that best serves the interest of African peoples. Over the past ten years, The Association has organised conferences, colloquia in Durban, its birthplace, Cape Town, Lagos, Windhoek, Washington DC and Pretoria. Themes have ranged from Protests, to HIV/AIDS, Political leadership and more recently, Transformational Leadership and Good Governance. The one unique characteristic of meetings of the African Association for Rhetoric (AAR) is the diversity and plurality of thought and perspectives that are offered from various disciplines.
On behalf of the Steering Committee, I should like to particularly thank some organisations and individuals who have believed in the vision of this Association from inception and who have in one way or the other committed their resources to building the Association. First, the Faculty of Human Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal that supported the founding of the Association. Within the Faculty are the Centre for Civil Society, Maurice Webb Race Relations Unit, and the Department of Politics. The two pillars upon who the founding of the Association rested were, Professor Dasarath Chetty and the unassuming Professor Ari Sitas. More substantial funding and support would thereafter come from HEARD (Health Economics and AIDS Research Division). HEARD created a base for the Association for 5 years. Here, I should like to mention two key individuals who made that possible, Mr Obed Qulo and Professor Timothy Quinlan. HEARD funded a conference and 2 editions of the journal. Professor Keyan Tomaselli was critical to the conceptualisation of the journal and the general operations. There are many others whose names and contributions cannot be mentioned, whose kindness and effort we appreciate immensely. The future is right upon us, let not your kindness cease with the dawn of the day.
I am particularly grateful to NIHSS (National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences) which funded the 10th Anniversary conference in Pretoria. Their funding has made the conference possible. I am also very grateful to the Department of English, UNISA for the most effective collaboration.
Chair, Steering Commitee, AAR
Dr Segun Ige
Founder and President AAR
Segun Ige, Howard University (Chair)
Kermit Campbell, Colgate University
Omedi Ochieng, Denison University
Busayo Ige, University of Cape Town
Kgomotso Masemola, University of South Africa
Dr Tyechia Thompson, Howard University
Mr Yemi Ige, Media and PR Consultant
Dr Tyechia Lynn Thompson