What dangers are posed by a retreat from politics and the general association of politics with dirty tricks, brinkmanship and ‘big men’? What happens when our understanding of politics, power and democracy sidesteps and marginalizes everyday concerns like housing, water, food, electricity and endemic violence. Who wins when politics is increasingly perceived as an exclusive arena of the elites, with ordinary people as mere spectators? Is South Africa’s worsening social and economic crisis contributing to a credibility crisis for democracy and emboldening calls emanating from some sections of society for the wholesale abandonment of democratic practice. What happens when politics is no longer considered a viable vehicle for social change? These questions are at the centre of the Democracy Builder – a Rivonia Circle initiative geared at linking up with activists in their communities and facilitating spaces for activists to dream about a different South Africa. The programme supports a community-driven approach to identifying problems and designing solutions and micro projects to address the pressing concerns confronting communities across South Africa. It challenges the idea that there is only one way of doing politics and invites us to look at democratic practice beyond the ballot, and to imagine what democracy – as an everyday practice that allows ordinary people to shape and influence social and economic forces that govern their lives – could look like. The Democracy Builder has connected with activists and communities in Limpopo, Eastern Cape, North West, KwaZulu Natal and Gauteng. Read more about Rivonia Circle here.