This is the start of a series of observations from the Flux Trend Review innovating with Samsung…
What’s trending now?
The state of flux in the country – A New World Order looming?
“I see collapse, collapse everywhere. It’s youth month and 3 million young people are unemployed or unemployable”. These were the opening words from City Press editor, Ferial Haffajee as she spoke on the State of our Nation at this year’s Flux Trend Review innovating with Samsung.
Eighteen years into democracy, the developing South Africa has reached a heightened level of unrest as depicted in her discussion. Reference is made to the country’s deteriorating educational system, rocketing unemployment rate, increased reports of corruption in government, increased protests and the angry youth that is manifest as a result of these failed systems. Does this mean we have failed our democracy?
As we are lead to part two of her State of the Nation address, we see that it is not all doom and gloom. South Africa, our Rainbow nation, a country in its developmental phase, has come a long way. This is evident in the great artists it has produced, world renowned economic managers, booming infrastructure, valuable minerals and world class technology.
Our nation is at a crossroads in its democracy. The great debate on the information bill and freedom of expression points to a country which is now re-evaluating itself. With all the building blocks of a free, just and democratic nation, the question is: can government handle the challenges posed by this system?
As per the Future Consumer Forecast 2013 by Marshall – Johnson, Haffajee highlighted that whilst 2012 is more a year for exploring and experimenting, 2013 is going to be the year to move towards decisions on how we evolve and move forward.
According to Haffajee, South Africans are soon to be faced with those decisions, either choosing what she refers to as the “Banana Republic”, idling back into past failures, or to a land of apples, where we seek to invest today and harvest tomorrow.
Why it’s important
We are a developing country. How do we define our newly earned democracy? Do we understand the pros and cons that come with it? In theory, we understand, but practically, we are all transitioning through it one day at a time. The principles around elements such as freedom of speech, handling of information are all new in this democracy.
Are we comfortable with it? Sometimes not, as evident in recent reactions from the ANC on Brett Murray’s painting of the president and City Press coverage thereof. This has not been the first occasion where political satire is used to spark debate by artists. Well-known cartoonist, Zapiro and brands like Nandos continue to pose critical discussions within society. They do it to get the country thinking, using advertising and political commentary as an opportunity for debate, to address matters at hand and fight against the abuse of power. The impact raises consciousness, allowing the people to determine the way forward.
What’s the butterfly effect?
In Haffajee’s address she made mention of Moeletsi Mbeki’s notion of a “Rebellion Year” by 2024. Might we see a revolution? Whatever the result is, it will be greatly shaped by the decisions we make at this point. South Africans are “tjatjarag” (in reference to Julius Malema’s term), this means that they want to be involved and not let things slip by the wayside. So, beyond public commentary on Twitter, Haffajee makes the point that there is a need for civil society to act and create that social change. Subliminally, all these challenges we face plant a seed of revolution in the minds of the people. The question is: will they water that seed or let it whither?
Eric Miyeni, Rams Mabote, Ferial Haffajee, Moeletsi Mbeki, Zapiro – these figures hold up the mirrors in the face of society, pointing out the good, the bad and the ugly and confronting the state with the unpleasant truths we may choose to conceal. It is therefore important that we have these people as they ask the nation the questions they themselves are too afraid to ask concerning this democracy. Ironically, we do this hoping to keep the peace, yet it is these people who point the way to our freedom.
The global hot spots
In the last few years, the world has seen a great degree of political unrest. Take for example the “Arabic Spring” – revolts taking place in countries such as Syria, Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria and Iraq where the people rebelled against the ruling governments. The issues faced were that of dictatorship, unjust systems and abuse of power. These protests have resulted in governments being toppled and systems of power being brought into balance.
In Haffajee’s words, “Africa is the new cool”, and as South Africa we are positioned well and have come way too far to make the wrong turn now!
By: Bongiwe Mncube
Bongiwe has a background in Human Resources, currently working for DStv Media Sales. She holds a MA degree in Industrial Psychology, completed at Wits University. She is currently a 1st year student at LISOF, completing a BA in Fashion. She enjoys the world of business and having that positive impact in people’s lives. She has vast interests ranging from the business of fashion, to contributing towards addressing skills shortages in the country by bridging the gap between business and schooling systems.
Bongiwe was part of the 2012 Flux Trend Review innovating with Samsung, Social Media Monitoring Team in partnership with LISOF, led by Trend Analysis lecturer Loren Phillips (@lorenphillips)
Image credit: Flux Trends