This year marks the 20th anniversary of the ending of apartheid and South Africa’s transition to democracy. Finland and Sweden, along with other Nordic countries, supported the liberation struggle and encouraged the building of democracy in South Africa. Nelson Mandela and other leaders of the anti-apartheid movement placed high value on the partnership with Nordic countries. Indeed, Mandela visited Sweden as early as March 1990, barely a month after his release after 27 years of imprisonment.
Since 1994, South Africa has embarked on many reforms focused on social service delivery to the most disadvantaged members of the population and national education. However, many challenges remain. The recent national elections show that popular discontent and impatience is growing, especially among the younger generation. Income inequality remains high and service delivery to poorer communities has often been neglected. Economic development has slowed, industrial development has encountered workers protest, and Nigeria has overtaken South Africa as the continent’s leading economy.
This seminar involves leading experts on South African development and will explore the main challenges facing the country in the post-apartheid era. How can living conditions for neglected population groups be improved more quickly, and how can political participation and civic engagement be encouraged? Will South Africa be able surmount these challenges and sustain its democratic development?