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US Ambassador visits Wits

- Wits University

The United States Ambassador to SA, Reuben Brigety II, visited Wits University and engaged with a select group of Wits students studying International Relations

The Ambassador took part in a ‘fireside chat’ and fielded questions from students in the Department of International Relations, School of Social Sciences at Wits, on topics including security, corruption, climate change, the Covid-19 pandemic, international relations generally, and US aid to the African continent.

He encouraged the students to tap into the power of their ancestors and live out their answers to the philosophical interrogative with which he presented them: "What are you going to do?".

US Ambassador Reuben Brigety engages with students

The Ambassador stressed the importance of reciprocity in international relations. "The iron law is: sovereign choices made by one country need to be met with sovereign choices by another," he said.

Brigety also engaged with the Wits Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Zeblon Vilakazi, to explore ways in which the embassy and the University can collaborate. The Ambassador’s visit comes at a crucial time in US-South Africa relations, with both countries having a long history of cooperation in various areas such as health, trade, security, and development.

"It is always important that both parties engage on the role of public policy and how it affects various relationships with the United States concerning academic, social, cultural and commercial matters," said Vilakazi.

The Vice-Chancellor was joined by Professor Gilbert Khadiagala and Dr Asad el-Malik from the African Centre for the Study of the United States (ACSUS). During this meeting, Brigety highlighted the need for a mutually beneficial relationship between the two countries, pointing out similarities such as a shared colonial history, challenges related to race, constitutional democracies, and strong regional and global economic influence.

Khadiagala discussed ACSUS's work in helping to train the next generation of African scholars who will critically examine the relationship between Africa and the United States from an African perspective. 


The African Centre for the Study of the United States is the definitive hub for African-generated knowledge of the United States.

Based at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, ACSUS was established to redress the imbalance in the knowledge flow between the US and Africa. ACSUS is the first on the African continent to turn a nuanced, analytical, and rigorous African gaze on the US.