This week, the African Cancer Registry Network (AFCRN) held its 2023 Annual Meeting in Addis Ababa, the green, burgeonning Ethiopian capital at the foot of the Etoto Mountains. As always, the meeting brought together cancer registrars, epidemiologists and oncologists from across the continent and beyond to disuss about all things cancer in Africa, from surveillance techniques to the region’s growing cancer burden to the most cost-effective interventions. For participants, the meeting is an opportunity to establish professional networks, discuss possible collaborations, dream up new research projects, train in novel surveillance methods and catch up with colleagues and friends. Two members of our team – Thandeka Cochrane and David Reubi – attended the meeting to do some fieldwork and carry out interviews. Indeed, the AFCRN is a critical player in the making of the Globocan Maps – the maps of cancer incidence and mortality published online by the WHO’s International Cancer Agency for Cancer (IARC) based in Lyon, France. Specifically, the cancer registries that make up the AFCRN are the ones that collect the data that feed into the Globocan estimates computed by IARC. We were asked to present some of our historical work at the meeting and Thandeka gave a fantastic overview of the early history of cancer registries and cancer research in sub-Saharan Africa, which generated a lot of interest and questions among the participants.