African Association of Political Science

South Africa

AAPS was launched in Dar es Salam in 1974 as the continental parent body of political scientists in Africa, and as a platform to interrogate the state of the politics, governance, economy, and development of African states. Before its collapse, AAPS promoted the systematic study and application of African Political Science scholarships. The Association also interrogated the viability of knowledge conjectured about/for Africa. AAPS became a formidable composition of established and emerging African Political Science scholars, Political Science students, scholars from related disciplines, and the corporate membership of foreign scholars and institutions.
AAPS’ biennial conferences and annual workshops were platforms for the exchange of notes, discussion of ongoing research, formation of new research networks, the launch of major publications, and exchanges with research funders and publishing houses. These platforms helped in the formation of schools of thought such as the Dar es Salaam, Ibadan, Cairo, and Harare (SAPES Trust) schools in the 1980s through to the 2000s. These helped induct scholars emerging with the arrival of a new South Africa to the broader archive and legacy of African political thought in the 1990s, a crucial moment for the extension of AAPS’ reach. The association was central in strengthening the pan-African social science fraternity as one of the biggest and most organized associations participating in the
CODESRIA network.

10 years relapse
Following a stop of its major funding source from the Swedish International Development Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), AAPS went into silence between 2007 and 2017. This marked the demise of a regional association capable of providing the platform for a re-examination of “African political thought and activism epitomized by the likes of Claude Ake, Mwesiga Baregu, Ali Mazrui and others” in the light of multidimensional challenges bedeviling the continent, and which impeded the development of African solutions to Africa’s challenges. This saw AAPS losing its collective membership of IPSA.

2018 Revival
Following a resuscitation drive-by political scientists in the continent that was aptly supported by IPSA, AAPS was kick-started in a meeting in Ghana in 2018 where IPSA President Marianne Kneuer was also present. The following were appointed as part of an interim management committee to manage the new AAPS and conduct a conference and general meeting of the association to formally herald its rejuvenation:

1. Interim President - Prof Siphamandla Zondi
2. Member - Prof Godwin Onu
3. Member - Prof Christopher Isike.

After 2 years of membership mobilization and the establishment of new political science associations in Africa, the AAPS interim leadership convened a virtual Conference on Rethinking Politics in Africa held on 25 and 26 March 2021 where the new AAPS was formally launched. In attendance were 12 national political science associations and their officers including an individual membership base of over 120 political scientists in Africa comprised of the Diaspora. At the end of a successful conference, general meeting, an Executive Committee (EC) of 9 members as provided for by the new AAPS constitution was elected.