About Us

Idasa’s Cape Town Democracy Centre is an inviting and vibrant space where Capetonians of all walks of life can interact and engage with each other on the many issues that face us all as citizens of our young democracy. Combining an innovative and flexible events venue with an independent book shop and a restaurant, the Cape Town Democracy Centre is the place to come to to eat, drink, talk, read and think.

Idasa, the Africa Democracy institute, is an independent public interest organisation committed to promoting sustainable democracy based on active citizenship, democratic institutions, and social justice.Idasa was founded by Frederick van Zyl Slabbert and Alex Boraine at the end of 1986 to help find an alternative to the politics of repression and to explore new ways of addressing polarisation between black and white South Africans.

Idasa’s early work included facilitating meetings between the then banned political organisations and prominent white South Africans. One such meeting was the groundbreaking conference in Dakar, Senegal, attended by Afrikaners and exiled members of the ANC.

After the unbanning of political organisations in 1990 and democratic elections in 1994, the focus of Idasa’s work shifted to the creation of a democratic culture in South Africa and strategic interventions to help the new democracy take root. Between 1990 and 1994, Idasa ran programmes that enabled groups from the old and new orders to work together to build inclusive, democratic structures in government and civil society.

Idasa’s strength has always been its ability to change and adapt to different circumstances. Its history and development have been closely tied to the evolution of democracy in South Africa – it has worked under the apartheid regime, states of emergency, a transitional government and democratically elected parliaments. But while it has changed focus and reshaped its strategy many times over the years, it has always seen itself as a critical ally of democracy. In this role over the years Idasa has engaged in projects and activities covering the widest spectrum of democratic transition and consolidation, not only within the borders of South Africa but also in a growing number of other African nations.

6 Spin Street
Cape Town

Contact Details:

Idasa’s Cape Town Democracy Centre / Lobby Books:
Tel.: 021 467 7606
Email: aspath@idasa.org.za

6 Spin Street Restaurant:
Tel.: 021 461 0666
Email: reservations@6spinstreet.co.za

3 Responses

  1. I do agree with your idea of sustainable democracy through active citizenship,democratic institutions, and social justice.I feel that the ethos of human rights as devised by the Europeans should be retold and redefined. Why can’t you add sustainable human rights or sustainable rights with your programme. With out this earth, (eco system) no democracy can survive not the least no man can survive. so let us think of rights which are usefull to both mankind and other living beings in this world. Right to property should be treated as only a right to possess wealth. It is only a transitory activity. Resources should be preserved for next generation. It is the duty of human being to protect other beings since he acts as the custodian of entire living things. We should reduce the globan warming rate. We should take care of millions who are deprived of basic amenities of live and living under poverty. We will not ignore the fact that the earth has every right to exist and survive.

    • Good response Manojkumar, I have never really looked at it that way. It would be interesting to have a focus on a sustainable earth. Does the centre have any books or publications that have such a focus?

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