Canada and South Africa have a long history of shared relations, both during and after the years of Apartheid struggle. In light of this The Canada-South Africa Relations Colloquium took place on 14 – 15 May at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, to encourage new dialogue and cooperation between public intellectuals, academics and policymakers of both countries in the current changing dynamics of the global political economy.
Critical stakeholders and supporters of the event included the International Council for Canadian Studies, South African Association of Canadian Studies, Government and High Commission of Canada, and the Department of International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa.In addition, members of Canada’s academic community and other officials came to South Africa for the event, and their research and expertise contributed to an enhanced understanding of key aspects in the relationship between Canada and South Africa Issues discussed included the legacy of Canada in aiding the abolition of Apartheid, the question of Canada’s solidarity with South Africa’s ongoing struggle for a legitimate democracy, Canada’s reconstructive efforts towards post-Apartheid South Africa, and some of the current trade linkages that hold the potential to expand the politico-economic relationship between the two countries.
Furthermore, the issue of class inequities gives Canada a better understanding of the South African context and vice versa, where the latter is currently the most unequal in the world in this regard. It is from these teachings that the two middle powers can strengthen future cooperation with one another.
Overall the event ended on a positive note. It is to be hoped that it has created a platform for enhanced policymaking between the two countries in the near future.
Akashni Pillay, Policy and Advocacy Intern, CIVICUS