The African Astronomical Society (AfAS) is a Pan-African Professional Society of Astronomers, registered in South Africa, as a non-profit, voluntary society. Our vision is to create and support a globally competitive and collaborative astronomy community in Africa. Our mission is to be the voice of astronomy in Africa and to contribute to addressing the challenges faced by Africa through the promotion and advancement of astronomy. Our key objective is to develop Astronomy and Human Capacity throughout the continent of Africa through a vibrant and active AfAS. South Africa currently hosts the Secretariat of AfAS through the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), and our office is located at the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) in Cape Town.
The History of the African Astronomical Society (AfAS)
At the 2010 launch of the African Physical Society in Dakar, astronomers from across the continent and the African diaspora resolved to form the African Astronomical Society (AfAS). Following this meeting, a whitepaper on the formation and structure of the AfAS was drafted and disseminated. An Interim Working Group was formed to conduct the formation of the AfAS at the IAU Symposium in Ouagadougou. The initial Constitution of the AfAS was agreed to and signed by the members of the Interim Working Group at Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, on 16 December 2010. The interim Working Group consisted of members from Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, and the U.S.A. AfAS was officially launched at the 2nd Middle East and Africa Regional IAU Meeting in Cape Town, South Africa, in April 2011. However, AfAS had not been an active organisation since its inception in 2017, and at the 4th Middle East and Africa Meeting in Ethiopia, it was decided to bring together stakeholders and relaunch AfAS. In March 2019, the Astronomy in Africa meeting was held for this purpose at the SAAO in Cape Town, South Africa. At that meeting, a revised Constitution was approved and accepted by the delegates. The AfAS Secretariat was incubated by the DSI from April 2019 to March 2020 and has been fully operational since April 2020.