'National Libraries in an African Renaissance'conference holds October 31 -November 2, 2000 inPretoria

Following the national renewal theme of an African Renaissanceanchored on a strategic vision to create a better coordinated libraryrelations, the National Library of South Africa will host aconference aimed, primarily, at the libraries and librarians in theSouthern African Development Community (SADC) and the representativesof the ministries responsible for libraries in the countries whichconstitute the SADC.

Conferencetitle is "National Libraries in an African Renaissance." The array ofissues will cover the dynamics of library science, its challenges,legal deposit, freedom of expression, intellectual property rights,the oral tradition, book development, preservation and promotion ofthe national published heritage. 

It will hold in Pretoria at the ABSA Conference Centre fromOctober 31 -November 2, 2000. According to Hester van der Walt,member of the conference Steering Committee (Logistics) and corporatecommunications exec at the National Library of South Africa "theconference is will foster the exchange of information and sharing oflibrary resources into the new millennium.

South Africa's Minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technologywill make the opening address underlining the commitment ofgovernment to the development of library sciences in the country,while the first plenary session will be chaired by Prof. RockyRalebipi.

Prof. Paul Zeleza, Director, Center for African Studies,University of Illinois will speak on the 'Renaissance, Libraries andDemocracy; the challenge of the African Renaissance.'

USAfricaonline.com and USAfrica The Newspaper Founder &Publisher ChidoNwangwu will make a presentation on 'African Libraries and theChallenge of Digital Documentation in the 21st century.'

Synopsis of country reports will be presented by Lianda Martin,Julian Massawe and Godfrey Ncongwane while the summary of issuespinpointed as major concerns will be articulated by the NationalLibrarian of South Africa, Dr. Peter Lor (in pix) and John Tsebe.

Other speakers and topics for the conference include:
Freedom of expression and censorship by Iyavar Chetty, Copyright andintellectual property rights Prof. Hannes Britz, Copyright andlicensing of electronic material by Dr. Colin Darch.

On the evening of 1 November, its first anniversary, the NationalLibrary will host a celebration of oral culture with a narrator fromthe Tzaneen Museum. The narrator will give a demonstration of oralhistory narrations, supported by traditional sculptures. Chris vanVuuren will speak on 'What about oral tradition?'

The issue of heritage awareness will be tackled by TitusChipangura. Book development policies in Africa will be analyzed byBrian Wafawarowa.

On November 2, Dr. Kay Raseroka will chair a plenary session onrecent developments and support structures for libraries in Africa.Afterwards, the issues of 'How to create, correct and improvenational library and legal deposit legislation: two case studies'will be presented by Johan Loubser and Dr Peter Lor.

From an institutional perspective, the role of the board of thenational library will be articulated by Dr. Lulama Makhubela.

The final day of the conference will feature a workshop on thecreation of regional partnerships and the role of the SouthernAfrican Development Community to be chaired by Prof. Seth Manaka.

The National Library of South Africa's mission is described inSection 3 of the  National Library Act, No. 92 of 1998; namely:to contribute to socio-economic, cultural, educational, scientificand innovative development by collecting, recording, preserving andmaking available the national documentary heritage and promoting anawareness and appreciation thereof, by fostering informationliteracy, and by facilitating access to the world's informationresources.

The conference is also being held within the framework of themission of the National Library, as reflecting three strategic goals:Holding a mirror to the nation, building a bridge to the informationsociety and leveling the playing field for access to information.This conference, the organizers say, should go along way inactualizing those goals. 

The travel, accommodation and conference expenses to cover twodelegates from each Southern African country will be covered bygenerous grants from the South Africa Department of Arts, Culture,Science and Technology and from NORAD, the Norwegian agency fordevelopment cooperation. The events are open to conference delegates,guests and the media. USAfricaonline.com will provide detailedcoverage of the conference.

Colbert I. King, Washington Post columnist, writes what is, so far, easily the most expository and insightful commentary on the disregard of Africa by Republican George Bush and Vice President Al Gore, as the country counts down to the November 4, 2000 elections. Especially, Colbert queries whether Bush is applying the "Pinky" foreign policy doctrine?

Nigeria at 40: punish financial thuggery, build domestic infrastructure
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's burden mounts into 2000 with murder charges, trials

Africa suffers the scourge of the virus
Kgomotso Mahlangu, a five-month-old AIDS patient in a hospital in the Kalafong township near Pretoria, South Africa, captures the more painful profile of the catastrophic and sweeping impact of the virus in the continent. USAfricaonline special report is titled AIDS, Africa and Kgomotso.
Living with AIDS in South Africa
Nkululeko Nxesi, who is living with HIV spoke to AIDS 2000 about the epidemic and his expectations for AIDS2000. Nxesi says Mbeki's government should do more to battle ignorance about AIDS among population.
Tanzanians mourned on Saturday October 13, the first anniversary of the death of the country's founding president Julius Nyerere.

Index of Viewpoints and Commentaries by USAfricaonline.com columnists and contributors

Why Africana History? By John Henrik Clarke

Achebe turns 70; to celebrate with Mandela, Morrison, Soyinka, Thelwell, world's leading arts scholars in New York in November at Bard College. Meanwhile, the Nobel committee has, again, chosen a relative less known (globally-speaking) Chinese novelist, Gao Xingjian, rather than Achebe for the Literature prize. Achebe was seen as a top favorite for the 2000 award. What the Swedish Nobel committee will not give, Achebe has, for well over 30 years, won in the hearts of millions in 53 languages. By Chido Nwangwu

Control, ownership of Prof. Gates' documentary raise need for 'real' Encyclopedia Africana. By Samuel Lee Burnham
African, African-American Scholars clash over Prof. Gates' PBS series on Africa
Even the late dictator General Sani Abacha deemed it fair to appoint Igbos into Nigeria's security council; why not President Obasanjo? By Uzor Maxim Uzoatu in Lagos