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The concept of an African Renaissance emerged in the wake of the collapse of apartheid in South Africa. The term entered public discourse in the mid-1990s, and was a prominent part of the speeches of South African leaders like Deputy president Thabo Mbeki during this period. Since then, it has been a topic often revisited by African intellectuals, particularly Washington Okumu, who authored a book entitled the African Renaissance in 2002. For Okumu and others, the term reflects an aspiration and to some extent an expectation. Proponents of the idea suggest that the continent will experience a revival of economic well-being, culture, and political institutions. In the face of the realities confronting many African nations, the idea of an African Renaissance is thus a call for reform. For many African intellectuals, the idea of an African Renaissance depends on unity of its people, while for others it entails embracing the diversity of the continent. By any definition, the African Renaissance connotes progress while still maintaining Africans' cultural identity.
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