A Century of African Engagement

To mark the centenary of Chatham House in 2020, and ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Africa Programme in 2022, we are examining the institute’s research and engagement with African citizens, institutions and states over the past 100 years, and the facilitating role of the institute as a platform for African leadership in international relations.

Our centenary research theme on Foreign Relations and African Agency in International Relations examines Africa’s influence and engagement in global debates.

Chatham House was founded in the era of British dominion, but throughout its history it has also been a platform for liberation actors and newly independent countries to have a voice in international relations and global affairs.

This progress is highlighted in this exhibition, and an expert comment charts the five key moments in the history of Africa at Chatham House.

In July 2020, Chatham House published speeches by two of the most iconic leaders of Southern Africa’s national liberation movements for the first time: the 1968 speech by Dr Eduardo Mondlane of FRELIMO in Mozambique(opens in new window); and the 1985 speech made by Oliver Tambo of South Africa’s ANC(opens in new window).

The speeches were the subject of a webinar in which the respective leaders’ daughters argued that, while there has been significant change since their fathers spoke at the Institute, there remains an urgent need to heed the words of the liberation leaders and push for greater progress, as the Black Lives Matter movement demonstrates. The event was held in partnership with UNESCO and the Oliver and Adelaide Tambo Foundation.