The Nelson Mandela University Family Business Unit (FBU) recently hosted the 2nd Annual African Family Business Research Conference, in collaboration with African Family Firms (AFF).

The conference was hosted online between 10 – 13 August 2021 and was themed “Gamade”, which means “Striving for cooperation and sharing”. The theme was linked to the topics that were covered at the conference, which included innovation, resilience, sustainability, values, generational differences, governance, philanthropy, polygamy, branding and other contemporary issues of concern to family businesses.

Over the four days, many accomplished family business researchers and professionals from various countries (South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Kenya, Nigeria, Netherlands, Germany, United States of America, United Kingdom and Sweden) presented their research in the field of African family business. Informative panel discussions were also held on each of the daily themes, where important questions were raised and answered. For each of these discussions, the context of Africa was also discussed and debated.


Several members of the Family Business Unit presented at and were involved in the conference:

  • Prof Elmarie Venter presented her and Prof Farrington’s joint research, titled “The nature and importance of entrepreneurial orientation in African family businesses”, while also participating in several panel discussions and chairing several sessions.
  • Prof Shelley Farrington presented her and Prof Venter’s joint research, titled “Exploring the relationship between governance and family business success in a developing country context”, while also participating in several panel discussions.
  • Mr Welcome Kupangwa presented his doctoral research, titled “The nature of values among South African IAFBs”, and also participated in a couple of panel discussions.
  • Mr Haydn Hayidakis presented his master’s research, titled “Innovation in South African family and non-family SMEs” and participated in a panel discussion.
  • Dr Tony Matchaba-hove participated in a panel discussion.


Overall, the conference was a great success, and we would like to thank each speaker and panel member for adding great value to this event. It is hoped that this conference can continue to grow from year to year, as it offers a great opportunity for researchers in Africa to share (and showcase) their research and to contribute to the world of family business management and governance.

Links to all the session recordings can be accessed on the conference website.


Contact information
Prof Shelley Farrington
Professor in Business Management
Tel: 041 504 2203

Prof Elmarie Venter
Professor in Business Management
Tel: 041 504 2204