Firing-up commitment to build a socially cohesive South Africa

A diverse group of South Africans is investing energy into a project designed to concentrate the minds of decision-makers in government, business, labour, civil society and other local and global role-players on the critical question of building a united and socially cohesive country.

Work on the project, Indlulamithi South Africa Scenarios 2030, began in mid-2017. The resulting scenarios will be completed in mid-2018 and then taken into the public domain.

“Indlulamithi is about social cohesion – about building solidarity among South Africans, a national feeling of belonging and mutual respect. It goes without saying that this means tackling the inequalities that fuel division and ensuring that all people feel they have opportunities to achieve a better life,” says political analyst and Indlulamithi spokesperson Dr Somadoda Fikeni.

“Currently we witness the symptoms of exclusion on a daily basis – angry service and education protests, extensive joblessness and homelessness, crime that undermines security, violence against women and children, and human trafficking. We urgently need to find radical new ways to heal our country’s persistent and painful divisions.”

Dr Fikeni was speaking today (Thursday, 1 March) in Johannesburg at a two-day research conference, which forms a critical part of the Indlulamithi project.

The Indlulamithi scenarios – or storylines about possible routes to alternative visions of the future – will be tools to help tackle complex issues.

“We are encouraged by the spirit of national consultation that has re-emerged recently and signs from government that it welcomes broader partnership to define a new era. We believe Indlulamithi has something unique to contribute.

The scenarios approach has the potential to assist decision-makers to break out of their mental prisons and to stimulate vital discussions in a non-threatening way,” said Dr Fikeni.

Once the Indlulamithi scenarios are published, a series of intensive workshops will be held across South Africa to spark a national discussion on the trajectory of our country over the next 12 years and the actions we need to take to ensure that we progress on the preferred path.

“In a sense, this is where the serious work begins,” says Dr Yacoob Abba Omar, Indlulamithi steering committee member. “Our goal is to invite, and even challenge, leaders in various spheres to consider how their decisions and their actions fit into the various scenarios. We want people to own the idea that they have the power to make a difference to the unity and solidarity of our country’s people.”

The scenarios are produced through a process that combines factual social and economic research, along with interviews and focus groups to elicit insights of a diverse group of people. These findings are then interrogated and interpreted during several workshops by experts from different backgrounds. The objective is to identify a handful of key driving forces that impact critically on social cohesion, and then to weave various, coherent storylines around these forces.

The overriding question that has guided all this effort is: What would a socially cohesive South Africa look like? And to what degree is it attainable by 2030?

The network of individuals who have contributed to the Indlulamithi process comprises:
A leadership group of 18 influential individuals with experience in government, business, the judicial system, the labour movement, religious communities, and academic institutions who provide strategic direction to the project.
Some 140 core participants, also with rich experience in diverse fields, who have powered the identification of key driving forces for social cohesion through a series of workshops. This includes more than 80 young people who participated either through focus groups and online engagement.
About 25 experts who prepared and delivered research papers that expand on issues raised in the earlier interviews.

Today’s research conference drew together academics, policy makers and emerging thinkers to examine topics such as mother-tongue education, human trafficking, labour law, the state of the South African family, intergenerational trauma and shifting our economy into higher gear. Participants examined the impact of these on the integration of society.

The Indlulamithi project is facilitated and supported, through financing, human resources and in-kind donations, by several private and public-sector organisations.

Distributed on behalf of the Indlulamithi South Africa Scenarios 2030 project by Meropa Communications (tel +27115067300)
For more information or to arrange interviews contact: Karishma Jivan, cell +27710489009
e-mail:, Luyanda Majija, cell +27786262296, e-mail, Sicelo Vilakazi cell +27745467387, e-mail