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The Challenges

Particularly challenging has been holding the membership intact and drawing in new members. The organization, interestingly, remains challenged by the issues of the region. Despite the intense efforts of its leadership, and here the work of Weeks must be recorded in editing the society’s electronic newsletter, the contradictions of South Africa’s relative privilege in relation to the region, and the consequent access of its scholars to greater levels of support from their universities, has configured and projected the role of South Africans in the organization in complex ways.

In terms of these developments - the difficult issues of regional dominance, in the context of the country’s racial problems, despite being the subject of regular discussion at meetings - it has been difficult to plot a way forward for the organization. Central has been an abiding anxiety within the leadership of the organization to avoid becoming a patronage agency – offering largesse to the region in the form of, for example, travel bursaries and stipends – while recognizing that its members don’t all have equal access to resources. In this challenge, the organization is confronted with the essence of the development conundrum confronting the region as a whole. What will it take to stimulate its core business of building scholarship in an environment of generalized poverty?


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