Tag Archives: civil society

Selfless leadership could fix South Africa

The #FeesMustFall movement is a dress rehearsal for the revolution South Africa will face unless we fix our socio-economic conundrum of inequality, poverty and unemployment. This will require leadership! It will require “bridge builders” who are not beholden to vested interests and can lead for the common good. It will require technical skill to empower…

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Are activist youth our agents of real social change?

By Zukiswa Mqolomba Today’s youth are no longer the “lost generation” apathetic about the societies surrounding them. They are acutely conscious of their marginal structural position. Now, they no longer trust the state’s willingness and ability to find solutions to their problems. In their shared marginalisation, young people have developed a sense of common identity…

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Why is civil society power still located in the global north?

By Dhananjayan Sriskandarajah and Mandeep Tiwana Almost everywhere we look — from economics to demography to air travel to innovation — the shift to the so-called “emerging” markets is palpable. But when it comes to the civil society landscape, the transformation is much less visible. While some high-profile human rights organisations are decentralising (eg Amnesty…

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Can SA, India and Brazil reboot the global human-rights narrative?

There is a pressing need for southern democracies to reclaim the human-rights narrative from the strategic imperatives of traditionally powerful western governments. While the ability of India, Brazil and South Africa to emerge as moral voices from the south is not in doubt, their willingness to take the global centre-stage on human rights is certainly…

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Parliament @20: Shrinking the accountability deficit

This year South Africans celebrate the 20-year anniversary of our democratic parliament. With national and provincial elections approaching, political parties are finalising the lists of candidates selected to represent South Africans. It is an opportune moment to reflect on the efficacy of public representation and how civil society can assist in enhancing it. Much has…

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What does it mean to be a feminist in Women’s Month?

Many people spend a lot of their time making straw-women arguments about what it means to be feminist. Feminists, they assume, are all unshaven, definitely don’t wear make-up or do their hair, and perhaps are a bit overweight. Feminists, they think, are all militant and anti-men. Feminists do not have a sense of humour, and…

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Suspicion-mongering to discredit critical civil society

Cynicism permeated the atmosphere at Parliament’s latest round of public hearings on the Protection of State Information Bill (POSIB), ringing alarm bells about increasing hostility emanating from parliamentarians towards civil society. While the interaction should be rigorous, as different views are tested, the mere hosting of public hearings should not in itself be contentious in…

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