Report on PIMS’ “Building Democratic Societies” Debate Series

In recent years public discourse has been increasingly dominated by the politics within the elites, while political spaces for ordinary citizens to participate have been reduced. The rising levels of violent protests in towns across South Africa speak to the increasing levels of frustration among the poor, who seemingly have no stake in our democracy.

Idasa recently hosted the first of their three-part Building Democratic Societies debate series, entitled “Who is heard in the Democratic South Africa?”.
The debate attempted to construct some public dialogue around issues of citizenship. Speakers Eusebius McKaiser (Centre for the Study of Democracy) and Dmitri Holtzman (Equal Education), chaired by Hennie van Vuuren (Institute for Security Studies) provided provocative and insightful commentary on the current state of democratic politics and active citizenship. The discussion was interesting and lively  – listen to the podcast here.


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