South Africa: 15 Years After Apartheid

Sunday 1 November, 3.45pm until 5.15pm, Henry Moore Gallery

The African National Congress (ANC) stormed to victory in the euphoric atmosphere of the first democratic election of 1994 promising ‘Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!’ As they celebrate their 15th anniversary in power and look forward to hosting the World Cup in 2010, the world’s eyes are once again on South Africa and on the ANC. Will they be in the dock for failing to live up to their promise? Or will Jacob Zuma’s government be hailed as a model for other developing democracies? What has happened in 15 long years?

Critics point to the rising crime rate, the modest housing programme, the failure of the education system and the poor quality of public services. Controversy also surrounds the racialised affirmative action programme of Black Economic Empowerment, which led to a ‘brain-drain’ and has failed to live up to its promise of providing jobs for the millions of people who voted for the ANC.

Supporters say the ANC is still dealing with legacy of Apartheid; that 15 years is not long enough to judge their performance and that after the euphoria they are now buckling down to real politics. This year, though, more South Africans voted for opposition parties to rule out the possibility of the ANC changing the constitution with a two-thirds majority. Is the democratic process deepening? Or could South Africa come to resemble Zimbabwe? What prospect is there of Western levels of development for all?

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John Battersby
UK country manager, International Marketing Council of South Africa; former editor-in-chief, Sunday Independent in Johannesburg

Barrie Collins
researcher and writer, African politics

Andrew Feinstein
former ANC MP; author, After the Party: corruption, the ANC and South Africa’s uncertain future

Professor Keorapetse 'Bra Willie' Kgositsile
poet laureate, South Africa; political activist; author, My Name is Afrika and If I Could Sing; recipient, National Order of Ikhamanga Silver (2008)

Sharmini Brookes
freelance writer and blogger based in Johannesburg; contributor Artslink and spiked

Produced by
Sharmini Brookes freelance writer and blogger based in Johannesburg; contributor Artslink and spiked
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