Friday 7 October 2016
1985-2022 1-37 Libertarian Seminars
South African Libertarian and Individualist Seminars
from 1985 to 2022
In 1985 a subscriber to The individualist, Ria Crafford, suggested that a seminar be held at which libertarians from all over the country could gather. This led to the first libertarian spring seminar being held on the farm Nebo near Ficksburg in the Orange Free State in 1985, organised by Frances Kendall. Following the success of this seminar, Trevor Watkins, Charl Heydenrych and Peter Kidson got together to organise the second Seminar at Mont-aux-Sources hotel in the Drakensberg. A libertarian spring Seminar has been held every year since that time with the single exception of 2010.
These seminars are a classic example of "spontaneous organisation" suggested by Friedrich Hayek. There is no central committee or structure that takes responsibility for organising the next seminar. After the last seminar it is commonly unknown who will organise the next one. Around about June or July of each year the pressure to organise the next seminar begins to build up, suggestions are exchanged, and eventually the person(s) who want it most emerge and undertake the quite arduous task of organising the seminar completely voluntarily. These organisers choose the date, duration, location, theme, target audience and agenda, yet there is a remarkable consistency between seminars. The date is commonly late September or October (Spring in South Africa), the venue is often close to mountains (the central parts of the country are more accessible to more people), the target audience is all known South African libertarians, with a smattering of overseas intellectuals.
The Libertarian Spring Seminars have outlasted 6 South African presidents, the oppressive apartheid regime (whose secret service agents threatened the organisers of the 2nd seminar), and massive and unprecedented changes in the governance and structure of South Africa. A full list of the seminars is available below.
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