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A Scholarly Society

Critically, as SACHES approaches the end of its second decade of existence, it is as conscious as it has never been before of the nature of the issues which provide it with its raison d’etre. Struggle as it is having to with maintaining its membership, it has stimulated and is hosting an internal discussion in its journal and its meetings which is directly addressing the questions of where it can go, what it can do and how it might deal with the challenges of being a relevant scholarly society in a time and space that is not especially conducive for its development.

Its annual meeting in 2006, for example, while a small meeting, debated, with intensity, the state of the field, its relevance and its future. The presidential address (Mda, 2006) opened up many questions about the ways in which the organization ought to be asserting itself in relation to the many opportunities that are arising in the region to put comparative expertise to good use.

Importantly, while the difficulty of sustaining the organization presents itself as a threat, the opportunity (which might not be proportionate in its potential) for thinking through immensely difficult questions has made itself available in a way which can only be for the longer-term good of the society and the region.


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