WELCOME NOTES OF THE ANNUAL CONFERENCE
I am elated and honoured to soon be welcoming you to the Republic of South Africa to attend the distinguished African Bar Association 2023 Annual Conference which will take place from August 6th – 10th, 2023. The 2023 Annual Conference marks a significant collaboration of the African Bar Association (AFBA), the University of South Africa (Unisa), and the South African Bar Association (SABA). Indeed, it is true that when like minded individuals and institutions come together to collaborate on any issue, success is guaranteed. This partnership has allowed UNISA and SABA to host this year’s AFBA Annual Conference, a great milestone in the pursuit to transformation of the legal and academic fraternities across the African continent.
Over a period of five days in August, luminous minds of Lawyers, Magistrates, Advocates, Judges, of the African Fraternity and their counterparts across the globe will be gathered in Pretoria, also known as Jacaranda City, to deliberate on innovative and sustainable ways of moving the continents forward.
The deliberations will take place during a very important time in UNISA’s history – a time when we as a University are celebrating 150 years of existence. This conference could not have come at a more opportune time than this. The strides that UNISA has made over these 150 years, coupled with the illustrious legacy of the AFBA and SABA will add value to the development of the legal fraternity across the continent.
UNISA is well placed to host an event of this magnitude, given its footprint throughout the African continent and the globe. As aptly captured in its mission, that of being an African University in the service of humanity that reclaims African intellectuals whilst defining tomorrow, Unisa endeavours to ensure that it remains inclusive and accessible to all students from diverse backgrounds. As a Comprehensive Open Distance eLearning University, Unisa attracts students who participate in the justice and economic development of their countries while also being able to pursue their studies. The location of Unisa’s facilities will enable students from the other universities to attend and participate, thus allowing students to stay up to date on the latest trends in the field. This will also allow for interactions between legal practitioners and aspiring lawyers – a key ingredient to transformation of the legal sector both in South Africa and on the continent.
The planned seat of the conference, Pretoria (under Tshwane Municipality), is a vibrant cosmopolitan city, home to the Office of the State President and to some 180 embassies and diplomatic missions of foreign countries. It is also an educational centre of note, with two universities and two universities of technology. Unisa, and its Muckleneuk surroundings offer several superb venues to suit a range of business and cultural events. The City of Tshwane, hosts several National Government Portfolios/Departments, including the National Department of Justice, the Department of International Relations Page 3 of 3 and Cooperation, etc. It also houses the Union Buildings, which serve as the official seat of the Government and the Presidency. A high network of security makes the city and Unisa safe.
The City of Tshwane also boasts a seat of one of the busiest High Courts in South Africa (The North Gauteng High Court). Over and above being home to these various governmental functionaries, Pretoria is cosmopolitan city which boasts several vibrant entertainment centers and restaurants which serve local and international delicacies. The hospitality industry is also world class, with over 120 hotels, some often used by visiting heads of states. All the foregoing is critical for successfully hosting a world class conference, as we intend to do.
As preparations for the upcoming conference progress, we hope for successful and solution-seeking deliberations. UNISA, AFBA, and SABA wish to extend a very special invitation to members of the legal profession in Africa and beyond, to Government officials, Lawyers, Advocates, Judge s, Magistrates, Prosecutors, Politicians, Academics, Students, Legislators, Business Leaders, Entrepreneurs, Experts in the legal fraternity and all interested persons to join us and participate in this year’s joint UNISA-SABA – AFBA Conference.