Transitions and Transformative Rhetoric(s)

Call for Papers

One salient construct has received significant definition in most discourses on Africa: that of a continent perpetually in a state of transition. What, however, has received little attention is the supposed object of transition – that is, the transformation that transition promises. An examination of rhetoric(s) of transformation on the African continent reveals a deeply contested field. In East and some parts of West Africa, rhetoric(s) of transformation are often invoked within the context of developmental politics, specifically, political promises of infrastructural and modernist futures. In Southern Africa, calls for transformation have emerged often in emotive debates over the need to address historical racial injustices. In Northern Africa, transformation is now the site of mortal conflict over democracy, religion, and imperialism. The 5th conference of the African Association for Rhetoric (AAR) seeks precisely to contribute to the current dialectic between transition and transformation.


This conference seeks to bring together eminent intellectuals, researchers, rhetoricians, government operatives, diplomats and industry professionals to contribute to the conversation on the proposed conference theme. The addressed by submissions should include but not limited to the subthemes listed below. Each paper will be considered on its own merit. Refereed papers from the conference will be considered for publication in the Association’s publication: African Journal of Rhetoric (AJR).


The organising committee would like to emphasise that the conference of the African Association for Rhetoric is a multidisciplinary, multisectoral event. We seek participation from all disciplines, sectors and scholars who seek to contribute to engagements in and around rhetoric, public communication, leadership and transformation in society.



  • Defining the Rhetoric of Transformation or transformative rhetoric within a socio- political process
  • Rhetoric, Transitions and Political complications
  • Formations and Transformations in the Uses of Rhetoric in Africa
  • Philosophical and Theoretical Approaches to Understanding Transformation in Africa
  • Political Transitions and Institutional Transformation
  • Transition, transformation and Presidential Rhetoric
  • Transitions and Institutional Agency: Changes in Media and the Economic Sector
  • Impact of Transitions in North Africa on Other African Countries
  • Imagining a New Africa: The Rhetoric of Transformation in Literature and Oratory
  • Political Operatives as Agents of Change: Transformational Leadership and Transformational Change
  • Rhetoric and the Notion of Transitional Justice
  • Rhetoric, Transformation and Economic Development in Africa
  • Transition, Transformation and Civil Society
  • The Intellectual and the Political Process: Rhetoric of Transformation in Knowledge Production



The Cape Sun Hotel, Strand Street, Cape Town


2-4 July 2014


Registration Fees:

Faculty R2500

Students: R1500

Deadline of Abstract:

January 30, 2014

Submission of papers:

April 30 2014


About the African Association for Rhetoric (AAR)

  • The African Association for Rhetoric (AAR) is a body of scholars that conducts research into the performance of rhetoric and public discourse. The African Association for Rhetoric (AAR) has since 2007 organised successfully four international conferences and a Roundtable under the Theme: Africa’s Responsibility to Africa. The Association has two major publications, African Journal of Rhetoric (AJR: SAPSE Accredited) and Balagha: African Rhetoric Quarterly. The Association has a growing membership across the globe. For further information, please contact:


Targets: Representatives from different disciplines

  • Media
  • Politicians
  • Government
  • Civil Society / NGO
  • Educational sector
  • Presidency
  • Funders
  • Diplomatic community
  • Graduate Students

 Conference and Presentation format:

Keynote presentation normally lasts for an hour: 45 minutes will be allocated for paper presentation and 15 minutes for discussion. Other paper presentations will only last 30 minutes per speaker: 20 minutes for paper presentation and remaining 10 minutes for discussion.



The Communique will be in form of a declaration on the resolutions from the colloquium, which will be published in relevant media outlets.



The African Association for Rhetoric (AAR) has successfully managed to establish its publications and a track record of producing and dissemination knowledge through its main publications: African Journal of Rhetoric and Balagha: African Rhetoric Quarterly. Summaries of papers presented at the conference will be published in Balagha, while refereed paper will be published in the African Journal of Rhetoric (AJR). So far, 2 volumes of the African Journal have been published and four issues of the Balagha: African Rhetoric Quarterly have been published. AJR is a print journal while Balagha is an online only journal. Balagha is available online at:

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