The research that provides the foundation for the Indlulamithi scenarios is a collaborative venture, involving a range of stakeholders and social scientists in different ways.

The Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection (MISTRA), in collaboration with political analyst Professor Somadoda Fikeni, is responsible for overseeing and coordinating the scenarios research and development, and is guided by a Leadership Group of eminent individuals.

The process of developing scenarios is to a great degree creative and the Indlulamithi South Africa Scenarios 2030 applies the methods used by Intuitive Logic School. This combines evidence-based social and economic research with insights of experts – pushing them to think beyond the confines of the current reality to a future that is in many ways uncertain.

The approach deals with two worlds: the world of facts and the world of perceptions as expressed by a range of participants.

The qualitative research process included the collection of data from the Leadership Group, Steering Committe, Core Participants and a wider sample of participants.

This was done through individual interviews that were later transcribed and coded for analysis. To enrich the research sample’s diversity, inclusivity, intellect and experience, online conversations and face-to-face focus groups were conducted with young people from different communities and life circumstances.

This research was supplemented by the production of research papers on potentially influential issues that required further analysis. The papers were presented and discussed at a Research Conference held in March 2018. The conference drew together academic experts, policy practitioners and young, emerging thinkers to grapple with some of the nation’s most pressing questions, including: mother-tongue education, human trafficking, labour law, the South African family, intergenerational trauma and shifting our economy into higher gear.

A series of working sessions is held at intervals throughout the process to identify factors that are emerging – through the research process – as key shapers of our reality and which we need to understand to construct views of the future. These sessions involve the Leadership Group and Core Participants, and occasionally other participants.

Trends are summed up and eventually a small number of key driving forces (KDFs) emerge. These KDFs are aggregations of trends that are likely to be the most fundamental shapers of our world and our country as we head towards 2030.

The KDFs form the bedrock of the scenario storylines. While some KDFs identify factors that can be influenced through government policy, great attention is paid to variables that have the highest levels of uncertainty and impact. The scenario storylines will be woven around possible combinations of various KDFs. The stories will be constructed so they provide the most plausible, challenging and inspiring narratives about the hurdles, opportunities and milestones South Africans might encounter on our journey to 2030.

Key question

Social cohesion is clearly a critical question for South Africa because this is an extremely diverse country, which has a history of division and inequality and is still undergoing far-reaching changes.

The concept of cohesion that Indlulamithi has in mind refers to social integration and inclusion in an open and multicultural society that offers access to opportunities for all.

Research team

Researchers from the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection (MISTRA), conducted all the core participant face-to-face interviews and focus groups, as well as coded and analysed the qualitative data from the interviews. This process led to the formulation of the variables and identification of research gaps that informed the content of the research conference. Some researchers who had knowledge and expertise in certain areas were commissioned to present papers at the research conference.