Tuesday, 13.06.2017 - Youth Lab Offices

Policy Conversation: Power to the people? Making democractic participation practical

Democracy, as a concept of the rule by the people, finds different expressions in systems of election and governance around the world. What is understood as democracy is thus subjective and often determined by socio-political and economic choices that have been made historically and often go unquestioned in societies over time.

In recent years, South Africans of various backgrounds have been faced with frequent moments of personal and collective reflection about what constitutes its democracy, how democracy functions and, most importantly, what is the role of the citizen in maintaining a functional democracy in South Africa. Frequent service delivery protests, Chapter 9 institution investigations, calls for decolonisation, #MenAreTrash #FeesMustFall, #ZumaMustFall, calls for motions of no confidence and cabinet reshuffles, provide opportunities for citizens to seek an increased and shared understanding of the type of citizen action and the impact of various individual and collective actions that can drive change in South Africa.

Whether seeking free education, social justice for women or stable governance, what are the most effective ways for South Africans to participate in democracy?


As the majority of the South African citizenry, young people have an opportunity to lead the rethinking of citizen action. Youth Lab, in partnership with the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, is hosting a policy conversation themed:


The discussion will be guided by the following questions:

  • How can young South Africans make civic participation practical?
  • Do the historical tools for citizen engagement and mobilisation still have
  • the desired effect in contemporary democracy?
  • How do citizen concerns or suggestions result in change in government and society?
  • What is the role of political parties and NPOs in citizen engagement?

Conversation Starters?

  • Koketso Moeti, AmandlaMobi
  • Gavin Weale, Livity Africa
  • Sthembiso Yingwane, The Freedom Charter Foundation ▪ Tasneem Essop, SWOP


The event details are as follows:

DATE: 13th June 2017
VENUE: Youth Lab Offices, 142 Western Service Road, Woodmead, JHB
TIME: 16:30 – 18:30

RSVP to Pearl Pillay at

pearl.pillay(at)youthlab.org.za or
082 608 4000

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