It was a historical moment in the African Geography sector when various scholars from Africa and around the globe convened for the inaugural International Geographical Union (IGU) Commission on African Studies conference which recently took place at the University of Namibia.
The IGU Commission on African Studies was formed in May 2017 by Dr Innocent Moyo, a Lecturer in University of Zululand’s (UNIZULU) Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, and University of Pretoria academic, Dr Christopher Nshimbi. The Commission is chaired by Dr Moyo and headquartered in his department at UNIZULU. The overarching aim of the body is to promote African and Africanist (non-African scholars with a keen interest in conducting research on African geographical issues) scholarship on issues in and around Africa, ranging from social sciences to natural sciences, but informed by geographical, multi and interdisciplinary perspectives.
According to Dr Moyo, the conference “was a huge success and it attracted well over 60 paper presentations as well as posters” and included panel discussions, all under the theme “What is Africa’s response on global challenges: Understanding drivers of poverty and reducing inequality?”.
“The parallel presentations were lively and were constituted of papers from the natural and social sciences, which actually emphasised the nature and scope of Geography as an academic discipline,” Dr Moyo said.
After outlining the vision, mandate and plans for the Commission in his maiden speech, Dr Moyo emphasised the need for all stakeholders to partner with the body in efforts to champion cutting edge research and scholarship which would contribute towards addressing problems that afflict humanity today and in the future.
Dr Itah Kandjii-Murangi, Namibia’s Minister of Higher Education, Training and Innovation who gave the opening remarks, expressed similar sentiments saying that the Geography sector needed to be given consideration by government in order to strengthen the understanding of relationships between humans and physical processes upon which regional and national development is anchored.
– Dr Innocent Moyo and Precious Shamase