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The African Renaissance Statement Disclosed

On 13 August 1998, then Deputy President, Thabo Mbeki delivered The African Renaissance Statementt25 in a made for television banquet. Although Mbeki has spoken extensively about the African Renaissance, this event marked the official launch of Mbeki’s vision of the African Renaissance.26 The ARS is Mbeki’s open appeal to South Africa, the continent and the world to embrace the vision of an African Renaissance. The methodological framework for this ARS analysis is Paul Ricoeur’s hermeneutic arc.27, 28

Ricoeur proposed a hermeneutic arc that projects a journey in understanding beginning with what the event says (sense) and concluding with what the event is about (meaning). The hermeneutic arc is a dialectic process in which explanation (analysis) mediates two states of understanding: guess and comprehension/appropriation.29 In applying the arc, horizons of meaning emerge. Each horizon allows the researcher to bring into conscious experience an aspect of the phenomenon’s essential nature.30

The application of the hermeneutic arc follows this structure:

  • 1. Guess: examines the ARS giving attention to the presence of the three previously identified aspects of Mbeki’s persona.
  • 2. Explanation: applies inner textual analysis to the ARS, which validates and expands the initial Guess.
  • 3. Comprehension/Appropriation: compares and contrasts horizons emerging from ARS to African leadership behaviours in the Ebola Virus Crisis of 2014, identifies a possible structure of African leadership in times of crisis, and suggests a meaning for the ARS that transcends African crisis leadership.

The Guess is the first step toward discovering the elements of African crisis leadership.

 
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