The African Association for Lexicography in a nutshell

Afrilex was established in 1995. Membership of Afrilex is open to individuals and institutions who have an interest in lexicography. The aim of Afrilex is the promotion and co-ordination of the research, study and teaching of lexicography by means of the publication of a journal and other appropriate literature, and the organisation of regular conferences and seminars to provide an opportunity for an exchange of ideas and for mutual stimulus to researchers and practitioners in the field of lexicography. Afrilex also facilitates tutorials and training courses. It is managed by a Board elected biannually by the members present at a General Meeting of the Association. Afrilex seeks co-operation with other international associations for lexicography as well as local associations interested in the study of language such as the Linguistic Society of Southern Africa (LSSA) and the African Language Association of Southern Africa (ALASA).

Postponement of the 25th International Conference of the African Association for Lexicography

Dear AFRILEX member/friend

As you know, this year’s silver jubilee AFRILEX conference was scheduled to take place in Stellenbosch, South Africa, 22-25 June 2020. In the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, last week Stellenbosch University announced that all conferences on its campuses up to 30 June 2020 have been cancelled. This, along with the developing situation, necessitated the AFRILEX Board to assess the situation and consider alternatives.

We have deliberated the issue over the past week and, in the process, considered up to five conference postponement scenarios. Ultimately, the final decision was informed by the following factors:

  • first and foremost, obviously, the health and safety of AFRILEX members and conference participants;

  • the possibility/probability that Stellenbosch University will extend the duration of its conferences cancellation measure beyond 30 June 2020;

  • travel restrictions of indefinite duration imposed by governments, universities and other institutions;

  • measures taken by other similar organisations;

  • the implications for the organisation and logistics of each postponement scenario considered;

  • academic calendar considerations;

  • uncertainty and apprehension caused by the unfolding situation, but also by misinformation and disinformation regarding COVID-19;

  • the absence of clear and credible evidence to suggest any de-escalation of the current crisis at this time; and

  • WHO guidelines and recommendations.

I therefore have to inform you that the Board has resolved to postpone the 25th International AFRILEX Conference to June/July 2021. We will announce a precise date as soon as we have established one.

Naturally, it is unfortunate that this has to be the resolution, especially seeing that this year’s conference would have been very special, being AFRILEX’s silver jubilee conference taking place in Stellenbosch, which has special significance in the history of lexicography in South Africa. However, the silver lining is that we do not consider our resolution to be a conference cancellation, but merely a postponement, because:

  • our kind local organiser in Stellenbosch will still host us in 2021;

  • our Africa keynote speaker, Prof. Rufus Gouws (Stellenbosch, SA), and our workshop presenter and international keynote speaker, Dr Miloš Jakubíček (Brno, Czech Republic), have indicated that they will “stay on” in principle for 2021, subject to the final date of the conference vis-à-vis their respective calendars; and

  • even in 2021, the conference will still be our silver jubilee conference!

We would like to thank all prospective conference presenters who have already submitted abstracts. We have, however, decided that we will not process any abstracts now, because an abstract can evolve (or devolve!) significantly over the course of a year. If you have submitted an abstract, please consider it as unadjudicated and shelved for now, although we will keep it on record. We would like to invite you to resubmit it (and/or another one) when the call for abstracts reopens later this year or early next year.

To all our members, friends, and also to our sister organisations, I would like to, on behalf of the AFRILEX Board, wish you all the best and good health. We look forward to seeing you next year in Stellenbosch!


Herman Beyer

President: AFRILEX

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