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South Africa, as a young democratic state with a history of brutal colonial and apartheid rule, is recognised as having one of the most progressive constitutional and legislative infrastructures in the world. 

Despite this, however, racism and racial discrimination remains one of the biggest challenges that its citizens are confronted with on the daily.

In a bid to unpack these remnants of the country’s dark history, Nelson Mandela University will host a colloquium commemorating the 20th anniversary of the United Nations World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance (WCAR) on Wednesday, 25 August 2021.

The WCAR, which was held on 30 August – 8 September 2001 in Durban, sought to review progress made in the fight against racism and racial discrimination since the adoption of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, as well as to foreground the obstacles to these efforts and find ways to overcome them.

The colloquium is headlined by speakers who have been instrumental in South Africa’s anti-racism and discrimination efforts, particularly since the fall of the apartheid regime in the early 1990’s. These include the University’s Chair of Council, Ambassador Nozipho January-Bardill, who served on the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerances; Dr Barney Pityana, who is the former chairperson of the SA Human Rights Commission and was the designated spokesperson at the WCAR 20 years ago; and Prof Shirley Anne Tait, who is a renowned race scholar and Canadian Research Chair in Feminism and Intersectionality at the University of Alberta, Canada.

The colloquium seeks to interrogate the advances and challenges to bringing the WCAR Declaration to fruition.

It also serves as a precursor to a virtual international conference, to be held from 7 – 10 September 2021, titled “The State We’re In: Democracy’s Fractures, Fixes and Futures” that marks the 10th anniversary of the founding of the University’s Centre for the Advancement of Non-Racialism and Democracy (CANRAD).

You are invited to join and cover the colloquium, the details of which are as follows:

Date: 25 August 2021

Time: 15:00 – 17:00

Platform: RSVP to to receive the colloquium link.

Contact information
Ms Zandile Mbabela
Media Manager
Tel: 0415042777