This research cluster has as its primary direction of study on the experiences of the continent of Africa and the diaspora African peoples; how the peoples, cultures and environments interact; and howallof these impact on residents and inhabitants of the continent across time and space. Africa, originally conceived as the immediate physical world and boundaries of the African continent, has come to assume more complex mosaic dimensions and scope far beyond its initial conceptions of blackness of colour, physical outlook, and heritage and geographical features. The expanded notion of Africa in this consideration encompasses more diverse perspectives which include, inter alia, mental conception, mind-set as well as its composition of indigenous and international communities, etc. Thus, the notion of Africa has become more inclusive embracing all communities in its material and symbolic worlds – the Arab-Africans,some peoples of Middle East heritage and the North Africanregion, Asian-Africans and whites in South Africa, etc.There are also other significant considerations of Africa – the black communities in different parts of the world and peoples of African descents in other continents outside Africa like the USA, South America, Europe and the Pacific regions.
The cluster also investigates issues around the expanding African world, particularly people of African descent living outside Africa. First, are those who were forcefully uprooted from Africa and moved to other parts of the world as a result of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, and thenothers who voluntarily relocated to societies outside their African homeland in search of greener pastures and good fortunes or escaped persecutions and oppression to take up permanent abode in their new locations –the migrants and exiles; and later, theiroffspring, etc.
As the African diaspora strengthens their economic and political clout across the world, their countries of origin in Africa have also sought to engage them and integrate them into the development of their homelands. Over the years, the roles of the diaspora in the homeland development of their countries of origin have become core tenets of national strategic programmes and policies of some of the countries. Against the backdrop of expanding globalisation and deepening regional integration, diaspora communities play significant roles in Africa’s development and global inclusion.
This research cluster studies the African diaspora along its historical background and also undertakes a current analysis of diaspora policies with focus on migration policies and economic development. It focuses on how to harness skills and energies within the continents and abroad for the socioeconomic development perspectives so as to facilitate innovation and entrepreneurship through sustainable partnerships.