In February 2014, as part of the 20th anniversary of democratic South Africa, the foundation brought together leading thinkers, artists, government officials and activists to honor the achievements of the past and look to the challenges of the present and the future. Together, we explored fresh approaches to help advance the causes of justice and human dignity for the next generation of South Africans.


Marking 20 years after South Africa’s first free and fair elections, we took to the streets to talk to people about the state of the country. At our symposium in Johannesburg, we discussed how to move forward. Scroll down to see more videos from this event.


Learn more about the full series of events and dialogues the foundation hosted to explore the theme of achieving the full promise of democracy in South Africa—and browse a slide show about the Ford Foundation’s work in Southern Africa since 1954.

Watch an interview with Ford Foundation President Darren Walker on South Africa’s SABC News, and read an op-ed by Walker and the foundation’s Southern African representative Achmat Dangor about the country’s extraordinary evolution and its next generation of challenges.


About the Event

February 10, 2014

Screening: “Soft Vengeance”
“Soft Vengeance: Albie Sachs and the New South Africa,” directed by award-winning documentary filmmaker Abby Ginzberg, documents the life and struggles of human rights activist and retired Constitutional Court Justice Albie Sachs—from his early resistance and exile to his involvement in shaping the new South African Constitution. The film premiered at a screening on February 10 at the Market Theatre in Johannesburg, and was followed by a conversation with Albie Sachs.

February 11, 2014

Performance: Mzansi Youth Choir
The day kicked off with a performance from the Mzansi Youth Choir, which was established in July 2003 to give talented, underprivileged teenagers and young adults the opportunity to perform locally and abroad. The choir consists of 45 choristers from Soweto and other areas in and around Johannesburg.

Mzansi Youth Choir
Welcome and Introduction
Ford Foundation President Darren Walker welcomes attendees and offers an overview of the day’s themes.

Darren Walker President, Ford Foundation
In Plain Sight: South Africa Today
Twenty years have passed since the country’s first truly free and fair elections brought the current government to power. As we reflect on the last two decades, how do we measure the success of post-liberation democracy? Are we where we should be at this point on our extraordinary journey? And what have we learned along the way about ourselves and our country, our system and society, race and politics that prevents us from realizing our full promise?

Justice Malala (Moderator) Host, “The Justice Factor”
Adam Habib Vice Chancellor and Principal, University of the Witwatersrand
Wendy Luhabe Entrepreneur
Trevor Andrew Manuel Minister in the Presidency, National Planning Commission
Liberation 2.0: New Roles, New Responsibilities
South Africa’s constitution is held up as one of the great models of progressive thought and an inspiration for democracies worldwide. Yet for all the promise of the principles it enshrines, poverty remains deep and persistent and inequality is growing. How do we meet these challenges so the constitution’s aspirations become a reality?

In this conversation we’ll ask where the responsibility lies for ensuring these rights are recognized and respected. Have South Africans have done enough to take ownership of the rights they’ve been given? And have government, the corporate sector and community leaders played their part in upholding these principles and building a truly modern, equitable and prosperous democracy?

Judith February (Moderator) Senior Research Associate, Institute for Security Studies
Tamara Braam Program Management Consultant, Joint Gender Fund
Pregaluxmi Govender Deputy Chairperson, Human Rights Commission
Mark Heywood Executive Director, SECTION27
Bridgette Motsepe Radebe President, South African Mining Development Association
Performance: Lebogang Mashile
Lebogang Mashile is a poet, performer, actress, presenter and producer. Her hip-hop inspired poetry addresses themes of gender, identity, spirituality, love and sociopolitical conditions in South Africa. Mashile’ opinion and personal writing has been published throughout South African media and she has been invited to judge the Sunday Times Literary Awards for fiction.

Lebogang Mashile Poet and Performer
Lunch Conversation: Revelations and Reflections on South Africa
Former Ford Foundation President Franklin Thomas reflects on South Africa’s progress and the challenges that lie ahead.

Charlayne Hunter-Gault (Moderator) Journalist and Former Host, CNN Africa
Moeletsi Mbeki Deputy Chair, South African Institute of International Affairs
Judge Yvonne Mokgoro Former Justice, Constitutional Court of South Africa
Franklin A. Thomas Former President, Ford Foundation
Fresh Voices from the Frontlines of Social Change
Throughout Southern Africa, the next generation of social change leaders is finding new ways to lift up the voices of their communities, often by forging unlikely partnerships. What innovative approaches are they experimenting with? How are they pursuing their aspirations? And what will happen if we do not follow their lead in advancing social justice? Join us as representatives of the new generation tell their personal stories and inspire us to think differently about social change.

Jack Devnarain (Moderator) Actor
Bandile Mdlalose Secretary-General, Abahlali baseMjondolo
Joel Nana Founding Executive Director, African Men for Sexual Health and Rights (AMSHeR)
Mandla Sibeko Entrepreneur
Phindile Georgia Sithole-Spong Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Rebranding HIV
Performance: Lira
Lira, born Lerato Molapo, is an award-winning Afro-Soul vocalist and performer. She has performed at the FIFA World Cup Kick-Off Concert and the 92nd birthday celebration of former President Nelson Mandela. She actively works with grassroots organizations and advocacy, including the Student Sponsorship Programme and the Southern Africa Trust.

Lira Vocalist and Performer


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