South Africa in 2030

In 2017 a group of representatives from government, labour, academia, business and other stakeholders came together to establish Indlulamithi as a quest for change, centred on a long-term strategic view of South Africa.

The Indlulamithi Scenarios were launched in Johannesburg on 21 June 2018 and comprised three possible scenarios of visions of South Africa’s future, each typified by a popular dance. It is envisaged that the Indlulamithi Barometer will be updated every year on the anniversary of the launch until 2030.

The three possible scenarios include:

Nayi le Walk: The precision of steps in Nayi le Walk and the confident spirit denote a country with increasing social cohesion, economic expansion and a strong commitment to the Constitution. This nation in step with itself is the most positive outcome described by the three scenarios.

iSbhujwa: Named after a loose-limbed and jumpy dance, with a frenetic edge, iSbhujwa describes a South Africa torn by deepening social divides, daily protests and cynical self-interest. This scenario describes South Africans developing social enclaves, and becoming isolated from one another.

Gwara Gwara: This scenario describes afloundering false dawn where South Africans are torn between immobility and restless energy. Disorder and decay become dominant, with high unemployment and low growth.

On August 27th 2019, the Trust published a press release describing how South Africa was being pulled closer to the ‘Gwara Gwara’ scenario. The statement was released before the recent outbreak of looting and arson where disenchanted South Africans took to the streets to vent their frustrations.

According to the press release, in the Gwara Gwara scenario, South Africa’s average economic growth is projected to drop to below two percent, while inflation rises. Unemployment is likely to hover around 26 percent, restricting the growth of demand in the economy and, with it, the growth of output.

Investment in South Africa’s mining, agribusiness and manufacturing sectors is projected to dry up, with creditors doubting South Africa’s ability to recover from a probable 2026 financial meltdown. The slow rate of per capital income growth and the worsening of inequality under the Gwara Gwara scenario significantly reduce the share of the poor from the economic pie. Approximately one third of the population is projected to remain in poverty, with South Africans feeling poorer and poorer every year.

The data that underpins the scenarios is collected by researchers from the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection who conduct face-to-face interviews and focus groups and then analyse qualitative data. The project is a response to the reality that, despite great progress over the past two decades, South Africa still faces major challenges. As a nation we are struggling to deal with a confluence of inadequate economic growth, widespread unemployment, sharp inequalities, low levels of fixed investment and frail social capital. Cumulatively, these have a major impact on the living standards, safety, education and health of our people.

A series of working sessions is held at intervals throughout the process to identify which trends are becoming key shapers of the political, economic and social experience of South Africans. Trends are discussed and eventually a small number of key driving forces emerge.

The Indlulamithi Barometer is a new research tool which measures the extent in which the Indlulamithi scenarios are materialising over time. Using two components to collect data, the Barometer compiles important and emotive events of the year into an audio-visual format through the ‘story telling’ component, and it compiles information on 52 carefully identified indicators into a set of data visualisations and brief written description through the ‘data-driven’ component.

Indlulamithi is the Nguni name for giraffe. It can be directly translated as ‘above the trees’. Indlulamithi South Africa Scenarios 2030 encourages big picture and far-horizons thinking on the future of our country.

The Indlulamithi South Africa Scenarios 2030 Trust was established to promote the objectives of the project, mobilise funding and to administer funding received. According to the company website, Indlulamithi South Africa Scenarios 2030 is supported by Anglo American, Distell, Exxaro, Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS), Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), National Planning Commission (NPC), Sasol and Yellowoods through financial resources, in-kind contributions and human resources.

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