2016 has been a year of shocks to the political system as we know it. We have seen the rise of political extremes across Europe and the US. People are angry, fearful and 'gatvol', they are impatient with a political elite completely out of touch with the realities of ordinary citizens.
In South Africa similar challenges are apparent, highlighted most notably by the #FeesMustFall campaign that paralysed university campuses as well as ANC loss to DA and EFF of major metropolitan municipalities. Populist leaders seem to provide quick answers through their fiery and emotional rhetoric to much more intractable problems. The ‘them’ and ‘us’ discourse pervades and polarisation may become the dominant condition of the next few years.
What lessons can we draw from the events of 2016 and what does this mean for South Africa and Africa? Our Chief Executive, Elizabeth Sidiropoulos, and SAIIA’s Deputy Chairman, Moeletsi Mbeki, put 2016 into perspective and looked at potential scenarios of how 2017 could play out.
Date: Wednesday, 7 December 2016
Time: 12:00 - 14:00
Venue: Villa Sterne, 212 Johann Rissik Drive, Waterkloof Ridge, Pretoria
Please note that this was a closed briefing for SAIIA’s Diplomatic Members. These briefings form part of the portfolio of services provided by the Institute to its members to offer insights into current issues. If you would like to enquire about membership of the institute, please see our membership page or email firstname.lastname@example.org and our Membership Coordinator will call you with details.
Elizabeth Sidiropoulos is the Chief Executive of the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA), an independent foreign policy think-tank based in Johannesburg. She holds an MA degree in International Relations (cum laude) from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. She has headed the Institute since 2005. Her research focus is South Africa’s foreign policy, global governance and the role of emerging powers in Africa. Her most recent works include co-edited volumes on Development cooperation and emerging powers: New Partners or Old Patterns (Zed Books, May 2012), and Institutional Architecture & Development: Responses from Emerging Powers (Jacana, June 2015).
Moeletsi Mbeki is a political analyst, journalist, private business entrepreneur and Deputy Chairperson of SAIIA’s National Council. Moeletsi is the author of Architects of Poverty: Why African Capitalism Needs Changing. He recently edited Advocates for Change: How to Overcome Africa’s Challenges. Both these books have been translated into Chinese. Mr Mbeki also recently co-authored A Manifesto for Social Change: How to save South Africa. He is a member of the executive council of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) based in London.