Johannesburg: 21 June – Compelling and contrasting scenarios for South African society in the year 2030 were launched today (Thurs 21 June) in Johannesburg and will now form the basis of a nationwide public conversation, involving government, the corporate sector and civil society organisations across the country.

 

“We are putting on the table probable visions – based on consultation and evidence gathered through research – of what our country might look like a decade from now and suggesting the steps society can take to influence these outcomes,” says Prof Somadoda Fikeni, project leader of Indlulamithi South Africa Scenarios 2030.

 

“We have focused on the question of social cohesion and the factors that might drive us toward – or away from – a society that is socially cohesive. That is, one where all people are included and feel they belong, experience basic wellbeing, have opportunities and show mutual solidarity.”

 

President Cyril Ramaphosa was among the 200 individuals at the launch who watched three distinct visions of South Africa in the year 2030 brought vividly to life by a group of actors and dancers. Responding to the scenarios, the President urged South Africans to engage vigorously with the possibilities they presented and not to shy away from the tough issues.

 

The Indlulamithi initiative started in June 2017 when influential figures from civil society, labour, business, the public sector and academia came together to discuss complex issues and trends that will influence the country’s political, social and economic future.

 

Indlulamithi, literally translated from Nguni languages, means “above the trees”. It is also the name for the giraffe, the world’s tallest land animal that has a place in folklore as the creature able to see distant threats. The scenarios launch coincides, fortuitously, with World Day of the Giraffe.

 

“Like the giraffe, we are looking above the trees towards a future South Africa that can meet the aspirations contained in our Constitution for a country that belongs to all who live in it – united in our diversity,” says Fikeni.

 

The results of the research and consultations have been consolidated to create three possible scenarios, typified by popular dances. They are:

 

iSbhujwa – An enclave bourgeois nation

Loose-limbed and jumpy, with a frenetic edge, iSbhujwa is a South Africa torn by deepening social divides, daily protests and cynical self-interest.

 

Nayi le Walk – A nation in step with itself

The precision of steps in Nayi le Walk denotes a country where growing social cohesion, economic expansion and a renewed spirit of constitutionalism get the nation going.

 

Gwara Gwara – A floundering false dawn

The people of South Africa are torn between immobility and restless energy, and Gwara Gwara is the name for a demoralised land of disorder and decay.

 

“We want South Africans across the spectrum of age, gender, ethnicity and socio-economic status to read through the different scenarios and recognise that they can help to create a stable, prosperous and socially cohesive country,” says Fikeni.

 

“All sectors of society – including government, political parties and the electorate – will have to make critical decisions in the coming months. Through the storylines contained in the scenarios we can illustrate the possible consequences of the choices they make and hopefully convince them to make well-considered, far-sighted decisions.”

 

“We also want to stir the imagination of all South Africans and make them aware of the powers they have to create a more united and equitable country. The last 10 years have demonstrated how our country deteriorates when leaders are not held to account by the citizenry.”

 

Fikeni says Indlulamithi is not linked to government or any political grouping. “We brought together individuals with broad experience in different sectors of society, who were diverse in terms of age, ethnicity and gender. We have also already reached out to a variety of significant organisations to introduce the Indlulamithi project.”

 

In coming months, the scenarios, and the research behind them, will be disseminated through engagements with representatives of a wide variety of structures across the country, including decision-makers in government, business, academia and civil society. Background information on the Indlulamithi project, including some of the research and the full scenarios document, can be accessed at: http://sascenarios2030.co.za/

 

“The Indlulamithi scenarios will not gather dust on academic bookshelves,” says Fikeni. “They will remain ‘living’ and accessible documents that can serve as tools to improve national, regional and local planning capacity, enrich public policy decision-making and inform long-term investment decisions.”

 

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For more information or to arrange interviews contact:

Luyanda Majija – email: luyandam@meropa.co.za and mobile: 078 626 2296

Sicelo Vilakazi – email: sicelo@meropa.co.za and mobile: 074 546 7387