3 FUTURES FOR SOUTH AFRICA
What will our country look like in 2020?How will our citizens fare?How will we stand in the world?
In 1994, at the dawn of a democratic era in South Africa, our hopes were writ large inthenarrative of liberty. There was a vision both of nationhood for all and of substantialimprovement in the quality of life for the victims of apartheid. Even those who had been partof the previous oppressive minority were buoyed by a sense of new-found pride in a nationthat could hold its head high in the global community.In the 15 years of our democracy, the realities of constructing a new nation have revealedthemselves as an entirely grittier and more complex task than we had anticipated.Our legacy challenges us once more with the task of reconstruction. We have not yetvanquished our past; nor have we yet fully constructed our future.In response to these predicaments, a group of 35 South Africans from a wide spectrumof our society gathered together to probe our country’s present, and to consider possiblefutures. The purpose was to engage citizen-leaders from all corners of South Africa in adiscussion about our future:
“To create a space and language for open, reflective and reasoned strategic conversation among South Africans, about possible futures for the country,and the opportunities, risks and choices these futures present.”
This purpose was built on the premise that a more engaged citizenry would contribute tothe consolidation and strengthening of democracy in South Africa.The Scenario Team comprises leaders from civil society and government, political parties,business, public administration, trade unions, religious groups, academia and the media.They were brought together by six convenors, all of whom are actively engaged inournational issues. They are Dr Mamphela Ramphele, who chairs the convenor group,Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane, Mr Bob Head, MsGraça Machel, Dr Vincent Maphai andMr Rick Menell.
We have chosen Dinokeng,“aplace of rivers”, because all our pasts have flowed together to meet at this place and time, and all our futures will flow from here. These beautiful surroundings remind us of how beautiful South Africa is.We have accomplished much as a young democracy, and we need toremember this, but our moments of triumph are our moments of great vulnerability. The gapbetween the promise of freedomand daily reality is growing intoa chasm of despair. The best defence of the gains is the creationof an inclusive future. We have succumbed to triumphalism, and denialism of what has not gone sowell. We need to move to a level of maturity, to an acceptance of our vulnerability. We need to turn our challenges into opportunities toreshape our future.With this Dinokeng exercise we should try to give South Africa areport about the need to be vigilant about what is happening around us, and do this regardless of our political affiliations. We need tobuild South Africa together so that we can leave a good future for our children, onewith respect for others and forself.
VOICES OF DINOKENG
Perspectives from members of the Dinokeng Scenario Team.