To celebrate the scholarship of Prof Charles Fombad, the Centre for Human Rights, the NRF Chair in International Constitutionalism, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, the Faculty of Law, University of the Free State and the African Network for Constitutional Lawyers, plan to co-host a conference and co-edit a publication (conference proceedings/volume of essays) to celebrate and reflect on Professor Charles Fombad’s ongoing scholarship.

Download Call for Papers

Conference: Comparative Constitutionalism in Africa

This conference is called to advance the emerging conversations and ideas of one of the world’s most original thinkers in terms of comparative constitutionalism, and also offers a comprehensive  platform for engagement and assessment of comparative constitutionalism in Africa and beyond. Conference participants will be offering fresh ideas and lively engagements with Fombad’s thoughts in addition to a wide range of scholarship in the areas of law, political sciences and development economics. The conference will bring together experts from various fields, including academics, human rights activists, advocates for law reform, civil society groups, lawyers, emerging researchers, practitioners, students, and policy makers and analyst to explore ways to advance constitutionalism in Africa and beyond. It will take place in Pretoria, South Africa, on the Future Africa campus of the University of Pretoria. The format will be hybrid, with around 100 selected participants, including speakers, attending in person.

Charles Fombad the scholar

Professor Fombad is professor of law in the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria. He is currently  the  Director  of  the Institute  of the International  and Comparative Law in Africa (ICLA) at the University of Pretoria and a recipient of the University of Pretoria Chancellor's Award for Research for 2022. He is a globally renowned as a  prolific comparative constitutional legal scholar, whose scholarship has been very significant in the academia and in practice, and has impacted the understanding of comparative constitutionalism in Africa.  He is a National Research Foundation (NRF) B1 rated researcher, which means that he enjoys considerable international recognition for the high quality and impact of his scholarship and is considered a leading international scholar in his field.  Prof Fombad is a member of the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAF), and an associate member of the International Academy of Comparative Law. He was from 2006 a member of the Executive Committee of the International Association of Constitutional Law and later one of its four Vice Presidents from 2014-2022. He has been a fellow of the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS) since 2013. As a STIAS fellow he has for the past ten years been organising the prestigious Stellenbosch Annual Seminar on Constitutionalism in Africa which has resulted in a book series on comparative constitutionalism in Africa, the Stellenbosch Handbooks in African Constitutional Law, with seven volumes of essays already published by Oxford University Press.      

He has performed professional services for the African Union on the African Governance Architecture (AGA) cluster on constitutionalism and the rule of law, the Max Planck Foundation on International Peace and the Rule of Law Programmes in Africa; for the  International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) programme for Sub Saharan Africa and East Asia; he is the founding member of the Transnational Advisory Group to the Association of American Law Schools (AALS), and was an external expert on the Ghana Universities Law faculty accreditation board.

Prof Fombad’s field of research can broadly be characterised as “comparative constitutionalism in Africa”. Based on his extensive experience and ability to bridge the divide between the “common law” and “civil law” African legal traditions, his work often provides a holistic and comprehensive perspective. Professor Fombad is one of the most exceptional African comparative constitutional thinkers of our generation by whatever yardstick one applies: productivity, quality, impact, or relevance. It is against this backdrop that this conference is organised to engage with his scholarship as to further advance comparative constitutionalism in Africa and beyond. 

Conference call

We welcome contributions that focus on the following sub-themes or any related themes:

  • Constitutionalism in Africa
  • Constitutional literacy in Africa
  • Transformative constitutionalism in Africa
  • Challenges to constitutionalism and constitutional rights in Africa
  • The Constitution as a source of accountability: the role of constitutionalism
  • Constitution-making in Africa
  • Constitutional implementation in Africa
  • Constitutional reforms and constitutionalism in Africa
  • Democracy, elections and constitutionalism in Africa
  • Political parties and constitutionalism in Africa
  • Election management bodies in African constitutionalism
  • Presidential terms limits and constitutionalism in Africa
  • Presidential term limits through constitutional amendments in Africa
  • The separation of powers in African constitutionalism
  • Constitutionalism, human rights and development in Africa
  • Constitutionalism and gender equality in Africa
  • Judicial appointments in African constitutionalism
  • Constitutional adjudication in Africa
  • Emergencies regimes in African constitutionalism
  • Legal pluralism in African constitutionalism
  • Religion in African constitutionalism
  • Constitutional entrenchment of decentralization in Africa
  • Corruption and democratic governance in Africa
  • Corruption and the crisis of constitutionalism in Africa
  • Anti-corruption strategies in Africa in African constitutionalism
  • The enhancement of good governance in Africa: The role of national human rights institutions
  • Africanisation of legal education programmes
  • The African Union, democracy and good governance
  • Unconstitutional changes of government and Africa constitutionalism
  • The mass media and the democratization process in Africa

Submission specifications

Abstracts for papers/chapters

A committee will review abstracts that are in English, are 300 words in length and in MS Word format. Abstracts must be submitted in a single document and include:

  1. Topics/themes relevant to your submission
  2. Title of abstract
  3. Author(s) name
  4. Affiliation(s)
  5. E-mail address(es)
  6. A concise statement of the salient findings foreseen and the contribution of the proposed chapter to advance scholarship

Proposals for panels

Proposals for panels (3-5 presenters) must include: 1) title of the panel and a collective summary of 250 words on the panel’s theme, including the title of each individual work; 2) a 200-word abstract for the presentation of each speaker (a concise statement of the salient findings foreseen and the contribution of the proposed to chapter to advance scholarship); 3) mailing address; 4) phone number; 5) email; and 6) institutional affiliation of each presenter.

Abstracts and panel proposals must be sent by email to Shaun De Freitas DeFreitas@ufs.ac.za and Bonolo.makgale@up.ac.za

Publication: Conference proceedings/volume of essays

The abstracts/full papers for this conference shall undergo a double-blind peer review and excellent contributions will be selected for publication in the form of chapters in an edited volume by a renowned publisher.

Important dates

  • 30 June 2024:  Last day for accepting abstracts
  • 10 July 2024:  Response to potential chapter contributors
  • 14 September 2024: Full papers expected
  • 21-22 October 2024: Conference
  • 30 November 2024: Deadline for revised conference papers
  • From 1 December 2024: Peer-review and preparation of chapters for publication
  • March 2025: Volume of essays/conference proceedings published

Contacts for more information, please contact:

Prof Serges Kamga
Faculty of Law University of the Free, State

Prof Frans Viljoen
Centre for Human Rights, 
(Interim) NRF Chair in International Constitutionalism,
Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria


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