Common Action Forum 2018

Global racial polarisation and the rise of right-wing politics
Johannesburg, South Africa | 10 – 11 November 2018

CAF 2018 Report.pdf
Browse it or download clicking the image


Countries are increasingly becoming antagonistic towards immigrants and minorities for a number of sociopolitical and economic reasons. There has been a rise of radical anti-immigration and right wing movements across Europe in particular. In Africa, tribal tensions are once again emerging threatening development in the continent. Unfortunately some African politicians are readily taking advantage of those situations whenever they occur.

Moreover the continuing movement of Africans across the Mediterranean in search of a better life in Europe has brought a spotlight on Africa’s ability to retain its people and provide desperately needed economic opportunities. Furthermore the conflict in Syria, regarded as one of the greatest catastrophe of our time, has impacted tremendously on the plight of refugees. Moreover, as geographical borders get redrafted across the globe, there are thousands who find themselves internally displaced and stranded for relief.

read more +

Common Action Forum hosted the CAF 2018 Annual Forum in Johannesburg, South Africa on 10 – 11 November 2018. The Forum gathered experts, politicians, journalists and academia to engage in an open and deep discussion on multiculturalism, racial polarisation and the rise of right-wing politics. The outcomes of the conference were compiled into a report which is being circulated widely to policymakers and the media.

Notwithstanding its important role and position in the Global South, South Africans marked the 100th year since the struggle stalwart and politician Nelson Mandela was born. The timing of CAF 2018 Annual Forum in South Africa is in that regard was appropriate. Furthermore, South African political miracle was by and large due to its ability to navigate the delicate tribal and racial political trappings. The country has since 1994, at various levels, assisted in a political discussion involving multi-culturism and non-racial politics across the globe. When the majority black South Africans had convincing reasons to embrace Black Nationalism they opted for an inclusive non- racial politics. Therefore as the world continues to deal with racial polarisation and the rise of right-wing politics, the South African experience is becoming indispensable.


Urban inclusiveness and global racism

Speaker: Parks Tau

Deadly immigration into europe and the rise of right-wing politics

Speakers: Ayo Obe – Aasil Ahmed – Nazinine Moshiri
Moderator: Layla Dean-Verity

Populism and future of politics: youth perspective

Speakers: Chumani Maxwele – Faith Abiodum – Fatima Muneer – Soud Hyder
Moderator: Simon Allison

Non-racialism and multi-culturalism, a dream deferred

Speakers: Cheryl Carolus – Neeshan Balton – Mohammed Dangor – Michel Amoah
Moderator: Rafael Heiber

The importance of education to overcome racism

Event Coordinator: Thembisa Fakude


Wadah Khanfar

Wadah Khanfar is the Co-Founder and Chairman of the Common Action Forum. Former Director-General of the Al Jazeera Network, he was named one of the «Young Global Leaders» in the 2008’s World Economic Forum and was first in Foreign Policy’s Top 100 Global Thinkers of 2011.

Parks Tau

Parks Tau is President of South African Local Government Association (SALGA), President United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG). He is the current Gauteng Provincial Treasurer of the African National Congress, the governing party in South Africa. He is also the former Executive Mayor of Johannesburg.

Sami Zeidan

Sami Zeidan is principal presenter, Al Jazeera English. Sami Zeidan is an award winning Senior Presenter with Al Jazeera English since 2005. He was chosen to present the channel’s first live broadcast when AJE launched on November 15th, 2006. Sami joined Al Jazeera after presenting with a number of the largest broadcasters in the world including CNN, CNBC and NBC.

Thembisa Fakude

Thembisa Fakude is a Researcher at the Al Jazeera Centre for Studies as well as a contributor and analyst for several newspapers. He is former Bureau Chief of the Channel’s Media Network in Southern Africa and former Chairperson of the Foreign Correspondents Association of Southern Africa (FCSA).

Layla Dean-Verity

Layla Dean-Verity is barrister in England and Wales. She is a visiting Law Lecturer, Academic Researcher at the University of Westminster. Former CEO of an international non-profit organisation Basic Human Rights.

Aasil Ahmed

Aasil Ahmed is co-founder at Discourse Analytics and co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of Votifi. He has worked in mobile, tech, politics and data analytics in the United States, Middle East and Asia. He is also a Fellow at the Truman National Security Project.

Ayo Obe

Ayo Obe is a legal practitioner and partner, Olasupo Shonibare, Lagos Nigeria, Chairpeson Goree Institute, Senegal. She is trustee of the Brussels-based think tank, the International Crisis Group. In Nigeria she is on the boards of the Z.O. Dibiaezue Memorial Libraries and the Ajegunle Community Project.

Nazinine Moshiri

Nazinine Moshiri is UN member of Somalia and Eritrea panel of experts. This involves investigating violations of the sanctions regime on Somalia and Eritrea, for the UN Security Council. Prior to that, during her 17-year career in broadcasting and news, she thrived in some of the most dynamic newsrooms in the world, leading teams on complex and often dangerous missions.

Simon Allison

Simon Allison is the Africa Editor at the Mail and Guardian. He is also a researcher/consultant at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS). Before joining Mail and Guardian, Simon worked as an African correspondent for the Daily Maverick.

Soud Hyder

Soud Hyder is President of South African Local Government Association (SALGA), President United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG). He is the current Gauteng Provincial Treasurer of the African National Congress, the governing party in South Africa. He is also the former Executive Mayor of Johannesburg.

Chumani Maxwele

Chumani Maxwele is a South African Political activist best known for his involvement in #Rhodesmustfall. In October 2015, Maxwele was involved in a nationwide protest against rising costs of attending university otherwise known as the #FeesMustFall movement, during which he was arrested outside the parliament of South Africa.

Faith Abiodun

Faith Abiodun is International Affairs analyst and a writer. His early career in journalism involved stints as a reporter for the Guardian and as a radio host, interviewing personalities including Nobel Laureates Wole Soyinka and Leyman Gboyee.

Fatima Muneer

Fatima Muneer is research analyst at Earnscliffe Strategy Group, Canadian government consulting firm. She is a graduate of Georgetown’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service and holds an M.S. from Columbia University. Muneer is part of the Leadership Team at Columbia Alumni Association Ottawa and an award-winning photographer.

Rafael Heiber

Rafael Heiber is the Co-Founder and Deputy-Chairman of the Common Action Forum. Geographer and Climatologist with a MSc in Territorial Planning and a PhD in Sociology, his expertise includes the political links between technology, space and citizenship. He participates in academic activities and publishes in the international media.

Cheryl Carolus

Cheryl Carolus is xecutive member of the board, International Crisis Group, Former South African High Commissioner to the United Kingdom. Cheryl served on the National Executive Committee of the African National Congress, the governing party in South Africa.

Michael Amoah

Michael Amoah is visiting fellow at the Firoz Lalji Centre for Africa, Institute of Global Affairs, London School of Economics (LSE). He specializes in foreing policy and diplomacy, international political economy, international relations, politics of Africa and theories of nationalisms.

Mohammed Dangor

Mohammed Dangor is the former South African ambassador to Libya, Syria and Saudi Arabia. He and his siblings joined the struggle at an early age. Five of the nine siblings actively took part in the struggle.

Neeshan Balton

Neeshan Balton is the Executive Director of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation. He has been involved in community and political activism for the past 35 years with involvement ranging from teachers unionism, civic organisations, youth activism and formal and underground ANC activism.


Photo gallery CAF 2018


CAF 2018
Opening Remarks

CAF 2018 – 2nd SESSION
Populism and the future of politics: youth perspective

CAF 2018 – 3rd SESSION
Non-racialism and multiculturalism, a dream deferred