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Max du Preez on South Africa's 21st Democratic Birthday: "We Live in the Shadow of the Tree of Polokwane"

A Rumour of SpringMax du Preez has reflected on South Africa’s imminent 21st birthday as a democracy. In his latest column for News24 the award-winning author of A Rumour of Spring: South Africa after 20 years of Democracy writes:

“With our bitter history and complex demography we should at least have built a strong middle ground over the last 21 years; a basic, broad consensus of the centre. We were well on our way during the first decade after 1994. Then we started faltering, and in December 2007 we stumbled, never to get going again.”

Du Preez ascribes the country’s current immature state to the ANC falling “back on its baser instincts as a liberation movement” and events that occurred at the Polokwane conference in 2007, the beginning of the end of Thabo Mbeki’s tenure as president. He writes: “We live in the shadow of the Tree of Polokwane. We should chop down that tree and remove its roots.”

Read Du Preez’s article:

South Africa’s democracy comes of age in four weeks’ time. Well, only technically, because it will be 21 years old, not because it’s become mature.

If the behaviour of politicians in Parliament and the Western Cape and Gauteng provincial legislatures is a yardstick, our democracy is still a juvenile delinquent.

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