What will our country look like in 2020?
How will our citizens fare?
How will we stand in the world?
In 1994, at the dawn of a democratic era in South Africa, our hopes were writ large in
the narrative of liberty. There was a vision both of nationhood for all and of substantial
improvement in the quality of life for the victims of apartheid. Even those who had been part
of the previous oppressive minority were buoyed by a sense of new-found pride in a nation
that could hold its head high in the global community.
In the 15 years of our democracy, the realities of constructing a new nation have revealed
themselves as an entirely grittier and more complex task than we had anticipated.
Our legacy challenges us once more with the task of reconstruction. We have not yet
vanquished our past; nor have we yet fully constructed our future.
In response to these predicaments, a group of 35 South Africans from a wide spectrum
of our society gathered together to probe our country’s present, and to consider possible
futures. The purpose was to engage citizen-leaders from all corners of South Africa in a
discussion about our future:
“To create a space and language for open, reflective
and reasoned strategic conversation among South
Africans, about possible futures for the country,
and the opportunities, risks and choices these
This purpose was built on the premise that a more engaged citizenry would contribute to
the consolidation and strengthening of democracy in South Africa.
The Scenario Team comprises leaders from civil society and government, political parties,
business, public administration, trade unions, religious groups, academia and the media.
They were brought together by six convenors, all of whom are actively engaged in
our national issues. They are Dr Mamphela Ramphele, who chairs the convenor group,
Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane, Mr Bob Head, Ms Graça Machel, Dr Vincent Maphai and
Mr Rick Menell.
The exercise has been generously sponsored by Old Mutual and Nedbank who have provided
the funding, together with project, infrastructure and logistical support. The Old Mutual
Group believed that the time was right to create an opportunity for healthy debate about
the future of the country. They also decided that the initiative should be conducted in the
public interest; the agenda and outcome would be determined by the participants and the
results published in the public domain.
The Scenario Team met in the north-eastern corner of Gauteng known as Dinokeng. Dinokeng
is in a catchment area between two rivers and its name derives from the Sepedi word
meaning “a place where rivers flow together.” The location captured the spirit of the dialogues:
a flowing together of ideas and perspectives in the forging of a common future. It also
gave its name to the scenarios the Team produced: the Dinokeng Scenarios.
With their deep collective experience and expertise, and with input from experts in various
fields, the Scenario Team considered our key accomplishments and failures since 1994,
and the critical challenges that lie ahead.
The Team is diverse; a group of individuals with widely differing perspectives and experiences.
They debated robustly and did not agree on everything. What they do share is a common
commitment to the principles of our Constitution, an appreciation of the heritage of our
past, and a very real concern about how they, as citizens, can contribute to the construction
of a sustainable future for South Africa.
What follows is a presentation of the Team’s efforts in the hope that this work will contribute
to the national dialogue, and ultimately to a future that lives up to the promise of 1994.
|VOICES OF DINOKENG
Perspectives from members of
the Dinokeng Scenario Team.
We have chosen Dinokeng,
“a place of rivers”, because all our
pasts have flowed together to meet
at this place and time, and all our
futures will flow from here. These
beautiful surroundings remind us
of how beautiful South Africa is.
We have accomplished much as a
young democracy, and we need to
remember this, but our moments
of triumph are our moments of
great vulnerability. The gap
between the promise of freedom
and daily reality is growing into
a chasm of despair. The best
defence of the gains is the creation
of an inclusive future. We have
succumbed to triumphalism, and
denialism of what has not gone so
well. We need to move to a level of
maturity, to an acceptance of our
vulnerability. We need to turn our
challenges into opportunities to
reshape our future.
With this Dinokeng exercise we
should try to give South Africa a
report about the need to be vigilant
about what is happening around
us, and do this regardless of our
political affiliations. We need to
build South Africa together so that
we can leave a good future for
our children, one with respect
for others and for self.
I grew up in a struggle culture
and have high aspirations for our
people and our nation. Suddenly
we find this dream unravelling.
We had this beautiful vision for
the country. Sometimes in my
quiet moments I now have mixed
feelings of happiness and
disappointment. I want to
contribute to this Dinokeng
exercise in the hope that together
we can make a small contribution
to fundamentally changing the
country’s future course.
If you study countries in transition
you will see a “mood pattern”.
It’s a global trend. Look at
Southern Europe, South America;
it always starts with euphoria.
Mandela represents our euphoria.
We still rely on the Mandela magic.
We haven’t taken responsibility
at a very subconscious level.
We expect from the world that we
have given them Mandela and
they must give us the cheque.
We believe in the miracle, and
then we discover that it’s not the
way the world works. We move to
disillusionment. That’s where we
are now. Both euphoria and
disillusionment are a mistake.
We are in a period of transition
in which making proportionate
decisions is difficult. Both
euphoria and disillusionment
are disproportionate responses.
We are as South Africans capable
of realising the country’s potential,
if only we are able to dig deep into
ourselves to find the resolve to