FRIDAY BRIEFING | Reinventing South Africa: why all is not lost

Reinventing South Africa: why all is not lost

In 1994, as a freshly graduated student, I watched Nelson Mandela become the country’s first democratically elected president. I felt the thrill of the possibilities of what the end of apartheid meant and how South Africa would no longer be a pariah state.

That thrill was back with me a few years later when I undertook an internship at the SABC after completing my studies. SABC felt like an oyster, waiting to be opened up to the rest of the world to become the continent’s premier broadcaster.

Difficult however, 28 years later, to still feel this thrill.

Every day we are faced with headlines screaming about another incident of corruption. The inequality gap, instead of narrowing, is widening, further aggravated by the Covid-19 pandemic. And just when we thought we could celebrate the end of Covid, the Ukraine-Russia crisis hit, causing gas prices to escalate, while scientists warned us that the pandemic was not over with a fifth wave coming loomed. The dreams and hopes of 1994 seem far away, and the discouragement is there.

But we shouldn’t let it happen. There are many reasons to believe in South Africa – chief among them are our people.

The saying “when the going gets tough, the tough get on” has never been truer than with South Africans. We need to build on that feeling and work together to create a country we want to live in. We are the ones who can make South Africa work.

In this week’s Friday Briefing, we asked several writers to tell us why, despite everything, they still have hope in South Africa.

News24 Deputy Policy Editor Qaanitah Hunter explains why she thinks South Africa will not suffer the same fate as Venezuela by becoming a failed state.

The leader of One Movement SA, Mmusi Maimane, is of the opinion that although there are concerns about what is happening, the new generation will bring change, while the vice-chancellor of UCT, Mamokgethi Phakeng, reflects on how many students are struggling against poverty and what we as a society can do to reduce inequality.

Cas Coovadia of Business Unity South Africa echoes Phakeng’s sentiment that it is not just up to the government to lead the way, but that civil society must also be involved to put the country on the right path.

Tessa Dooms, who is the director of the Rivonia Circle, echoes Maimane’s views, writing that it is the youth that gives her hope for the country.

And finally, the eminent academic and policy analyst, Professor Tinyiko Maluleke, reflects on how our deep love for South Africa keeps us trapped in hope that this country can and will be better.

As part of the country’s duty, contributions to the Friday Briefing will be open to all News24 readers this week, so you too can find reasons to believe in South Africa.

Hope you enjoy reading.


vanessa banton
Review Editor

We must keep hope… for the good of our country

As South Africa tinkers with near-failed state territory, Qaanitah Hunter explains why his optimism for South Africa persists.

The best are born: South Africa’s best years are yet to come

Twenty-eight years after 1994, we have known both hope and betrayal. But the betrayal of the old system and its players has spawned a new system of endless hope and possibility, writes Mmusi Maimane.

To build our country, we must build each other

South Africa’s potential cannot shine if we don’t help each other to rise up and make a difference, writes UCT Vice Chancellor Mamokgethi Phakeng.

Despite some failures, I love my country and I believe in it

Business Unit CEO Case Coovadia writes that while he believes in the opportunities our country presents, he is frustrated that we are failing to take advantage of those opportunities.

South Africa’s greatest opportunity is its youth

May we, who have the opportunity to partner with the young people of today, choose to make the sacrifices and investments that will enable a new group of young people to lead South Africa into the future, writes Tessa Dooms.

Prisoners of Hope: The South Africa We Love (and Hate)

There is no indication that we, the inhabitants of the southern tip of the African continent, are about to abandon this beautiful land, writes the professor Tinyiko Maluleke.

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*Want to share your take on this week’s Friday briefing? Send your letter or article to [email protected] with your name and city or province. You can also send a profile photo. We encourage a diversity of voices and points of view in our readers’ submissions and reserve the right not to publish all submissions received.

About Mitchel McMillan

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