Africa Diaspora Forum

The African Diaspora Forum (ADF) has achieved phenomenal success in a very short period of time, doing much to promote a culture of unity through diversity in South Africa. The origins of the organisation lie in the violence that erupted across the country in May 2008, starting in Alexandra in Johannesburg and extending as far south as Khayelitsha in the Western Cape.

According to the Chairperson, the initial inertia shown by national and local authorities in response to the attacks necessitated the immediate formation of the organisation. While there were associations that represented individual national groups, there was, until the ADF was formed, no consolidated body to represent the interests of all African nationals living in the country. This made it difficult to bring together resources from the variety of African communities in the country and to engage in coordinated action. The Chairman and others contacted leaders from a number of African communities with a proposal to form a united structure. Their proposal was warmly received and the African Diaspora Forum was born. The name was chosen because it best expressed the purpose of the organisation which was to provide a unified voice for people from Africa who are living in South Africa. However, like-minded South Africans and non-Africans are also welcome to join. The Chairman says that the focus of the organisation is more on creating awareness in society and disseminating information and less on protest.

To this end, a pamphlet was distributed in a number of areas calling upon South Africans and African immigrants alike to stand together against all forms of discriminations and violence in society. Reacting with remarkable speed, the newly-formed organisation also sent relief teams to a number of communities affected by the wave of xenophobic violence. Some of their work was done in the camps set up by government in the wake of the attacks. The Star learned of their efforts and offered assistance in terms of resources and media exposure. Thanks to this support, the ADF was able to set up office at the premises of The Star in Sauer St, Johannesburg. One of the organisation’s most innovative projects was a campaign that invited all schools in Alexandra to adopt one or more of the 53 nation states in Africa. After this was arranged, the ADF went about teaching schools the customs and culture of the countries that they had adopted. The ADF had originally planned to launch a carnival that would showcase African culture in the Alexandra area. However, because of organisational challenges in Alexandra that will take time to resolve, the organisation was forced to suspend this project and turn its attention to other areas. It was thus logical that, when approached by the Yeoville Bellevue community to co-host a Xenophobia to Living Together community workshop, the ADF responded positively. The workshop, held on the 22 November 2008 at St Aidan’s Church in Yeoville, was the result of close collaboration between the Yeoville Stakeholders Forum (YSF) and the African Diaspora Forum (ADF) who both saw the need to proactively engage the community in efforts to promote unity and tolerance.

If you want to find out more about this fast-growing organisation or to apply for membership, please contact Marc Gbaffou on 083 5147367 or email him on marcgbaffou@yahoo.ca. You can also contact the ADF Secretariat at africandiasporaforum@gmail.com.