New Publication: Top Eight Young Innovators and Entrepreneurs from South Africa


saRUFORUM recognizes the need for greater youth participation in enterprise development and business incubation and through its member universities and partners has supported training and skills development in this respect. It has also supported start-ups through innovative financing mechanism of the revolving fund implemented in some member universities.

RUFORUM believes in youth entrepreneurship as the game changer in ensuring greater youth participation and integration into the economic growth at national and regional levels and for youth employment. We bring you a new publication focusing on the top eight Innovators and Entrepreneurs from South Africa. Click here to download the publication.

Mac Maharaj on Mandela and South Africa


When we look back on the life and times of Mandela several attributes stand out. He was a man of action.

A South African freedom fighter, Mac Maharaj (left) speaks during the Nelson Mandela memorial lecture at Kampala Serena Hotel on July 15 2016. Right is the former minister of Agriculture, Victoria Ssekitoreko. PHOTO: Ronnie Kijjambu

A South African freedom fighter, Mac Maharaj (left) speaks during the Nelson Mandela memorial lecture at Kampala Serena Hotel on July 15 2016. Right is the former minister of Agriculture, Victoria Ssekitoreko. PHOTO: Ronnie Kijjambu

By Mac Maharaj

Nelson Rohlihlala Mandela, endearingly known among us as Madiba, once wrote that “Men and women, all over the world, right down the centuries, come and go. Some leave nothing behind, not even their names. It would seem that they never existed at all.”

On 18 July it shall be his 98th birthday. On the 5th December this year it will be three years since this great son of Africa left us. Sufficient time has elapsed to enable us to pronounce without fear of dissent, that Madiba’s footprint is deeply carved on the rock face of the history of our continent and burnished into the minds of peace loving people around the world.

It is a footprint that is intimately connected to the theme of today’s conversation: Take Action, Inspire Change.

When we look back on the life and times of Mandela several attributes stand out. He was a man of action.

However, action for social change, needs to be preceded by careful thought and planning, by tailoring action to achieve desired goals. Without this, action becomes irresponsible, if not anarchic.

Madiba was a man of action with a vision.

He was driven by a firm belief and commitment to Africa’s freedom, to empowering the people to shape their own destiny, and to the world-wide struggle to eradicate poverty.

The more he thought about it, the more he realized that freedom is indivisible. In his prison desk calendar dated June 2, 1979 he recorded that “the purpose of freedom is to create it for others.”

He saw poverty as one the greatest affronts to dignity. Poverty, he told a crowd of more than 22,000 people gathered at Trafalgar Square, London in 2005, “like slavery and apartheid, … is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings.” He held fast to the view that “Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life.”

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Strengthening University-Private Sector Partnerships in Agriculture – The Fifth RUFORUM Biennial Conference and African Higher Education Week


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Over 600 delegates, including 300 graduate students, 60 university Vice-Chancellors, policy makers, development partners and several delegates from all over Africa, Asia, Europe and America will convene at the Fifth RUFORUM Biennial Conference and African Higher Education Week during the week of 17-21 October 2016 in Cape Town, South Africa. Key Speakers confirmed for this conference include; Her Excellency Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, The President of Mauritius, Her Excellency Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, African Union Chair and Reeta Roy, The President and Chief Executive Officer at The MasterCard Foundation.

Higher Education has been highlighted as a critical component of implementing the Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa (STISA 2024), and the African Union Agenda 2063. The RUFORUM African Higher Agricultural Education Weeks and RUFORUM Biennial Conferences, conceptually, focus on providing a platform for African Universities and other higher education stakeholders, including graduate students, to discuss and tackle ‘frontier’ issues that are critical in transforming African Universities towards enhanced relevance for development in Africa, particularly through postgraduate training. The Conferences showcase RUFORUM students’ and other cutting edge university-led research in Africa.

The Fifth African Higher Agricultural Education Week and RUFORUM Biennial Conference will be held 17-21 October 2016 in Cape Town, South Africa along the theme “Linking Agricultural Universities with Civil Society, Private Sector, Governments and other Stakeholders in support of Agricultural Development in Africa”. The Conference is co-organized with the Agricultural Research Council (ARC), Centre for Coordinating Agricultural Research in Southern Africa (CCARDESA), and six RUFORUM member universities in South Africa namely Stellenbosch University, University of Free State, University of Fort Hare, University of KwaZulu-Natal, University of Pretoria and University of Venda.

The event will feature distinguished speakers, plenary sessions, parallel side meetings, an exhibition, and merit awards in agricultural education, research and innovation. For the first time, the conference will place special emphasis on university-private sector partnerships.

“For too long, universities in Africa have operated in a bubble, opaque to the needs of the private sector. Investment in higher education will give us less returns if our products do not address the market demands”, said Prof. Adipala Ekwamu of RUFORUM. “Learning about the issues surrounding university-stakeholder collaborations and crafting how to nurture, grow and maintain these partnerships is the focus of the Fifth RUFORUM Biennial Conference and African Higher Education Week ”,  he added.

The conference is open to all stakeholders in higher education and agricultural development in Africa. Graduate students in agricultural and related sciences, researchers, academicians, development practitioners, philanthropists, civil society, private sector institutions and policy bodies are hereby invited to participate. A call for abstracts is now open for participants who would like to present papers at the event.

Information about registration, application for side events and exhibitions is available on the conference website. You can also join the conversation on Twitter using #AfricaHEWeek2016 and follow @ruforumsec for updates.

Click here to download the press release.

COMMUNIQUÉ: 12th African Crop Science Society to be held in South Africa


The Council of the African Crop Science Society (ACSS) regrets to inform that the 12th ACSS Conference which was previously slated for Abuja, Nigeria, from 12 – 15 October 2015, has been cancelled due to unforeseen challenges. The Council thanks the local organizing committee for their efforts towards the organization, support and fund raising for the Conference; and apologies for any inconveniences caused. The Council now announces that the 12th ACSS Conference will take place in 2017 in South Africa, at a location to be communicated in due course. ACSS invites all researchers, students, farmers and partners in agricultural development in Africa and in other continents to join us in South Africa in 2017. As in previous ACSS Conferences, the 12th Conference will provide an enriching and engaging environment to foster and promote crop science research towards new and improved livelihood opportunities and sustainable food and nutrition security for farmers in Africa. Thank you.  Download the ACSS Communique Final.