Empowerment - Business Media MAGS - A leader in industry-related B2B magazines, current, relevant informative content


A retrospective of 30 Years of Democracy in the Empowerment magazine

Nelson Mandela, the founding president of democratic South Africa, reminds us in his seminal autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, that in life, after climbing a great hill, one only finds there are many more to climb ahead.

“I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come,” wrote Mandela. “But I can rest only for a moment, for with freedom comes responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not ended.” As South Africa celebrates its 30th anniversary as a nonracial democracy and a stable economy, we have every reason to use the occasion “to steal a view of the glorious” progress our nation has made. From a country that was deeply and racially divided by the system of apartheid, a nation that many around the world feared was destined for civil disorder and disintegration, we have built for ourselves a nation united in diversity. All of the legislation and regulations meant to keep people apart and to divide South Africans into different and unequal categories of citizenship have been repealed and replaced by a Constitution whose progressive Bill of Rights is the envy of many around the world. In commerce, education, health, human settlements and many other aspects of our public lives, the past three decades have mostly been a story of remarkable progress. But, as Mandela warned us, conquering the steep hill that was the 1994 fairly peaceful transition from apartheid to democracy, did not mean that the journey was complete – for there were many more to face us as we marched towards becoming a prosperous and stable nation. Some of them so towering that they tempt us to waiver, to lose hope of ever reaching the promised land. The past decade has arguably been the toughest in our journey as a young nation and has given birth to many doubting Thomases of the democratic project. In the following pages, we reflect on the journey travelled so far in our relatively short history – highlighting both successes and failures and the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead. Considering how difficult the first 50 years usually are for any country going through transition, it is important that when we reach milestones, such as the 30th anniversary, we pause a little to reflect on the journey travelled – and to appreciate the progress made. However, as Mandela said, we dare not linger, because the “long walk is not ended”. We look to the past only to draw strength and take in important lessons for the many challenges ahead for this great nation.

S’thembiso Msomi, Editor, Sunday Times

Sign-up and receive the Business Media MAGS newsletter OR SA Mining newsletter straight to your inbox.