This year, 2014, marks 20 years since the dawn of participative democracy in South Africa. There is little doubt that 1994 heralded the dawning of a new era in South Africa. We are better off in so many ways - all of our citizens have equal status before the law. We have made positive gains in health care for all, education for all, and in general South Africans have a higher life expectancy and even have better economic prospects. See the OECD Better Life Index report for more details .
The reality is, however, that even though we are doing better, we are not nearly where we should be as a nation. We have some serious problems - HIV and TB continue to have a huge impact on the average South African. Moreover, South Africa has the highest GINI coefficient (we have the highest rate of inequality between the rich and the poor) in the world. This means that unemployemt remains a problem, crime is difficult to manage and the majority of South Africans are still living in poverty .
All of this is compounded by ongoing human rights abuses and continuing corruption in government and the private sector.
My paper on Thursday will discuss these issues in detail using some of the most recent statistics from early 2014.
I will, however, also focus on the role of the Church in addressing these economic, social and political issues. South Africa remains a largely religious society, if the Church is doing its work we should be engaging the moral character of our citizens, and positively engaging issues justice. I will post my talk once it has been delivered and published.
Dr Dandala did an excellent plenary talk this morning. He spoke very strongly about the African nature and character that is required of the Church in South African society. His talk was an acceptable challenge. I recorded it and got his permission to post it here.
You can download Rev Dr Mvume Dandala's talk at the Stellenbosch University, Ekklesia / Beyers Naude Winter School on 10 June 2014 here (45MB MP3).
If you use or distribute the talk would you mind please referencing Dr Dandala and linking back here to www.dionforster.com?
 OECD, OECD Economic Surveys: South Africa 2013 (OECD Publishing, 2013); OECD, How’s Life? 2013, How’s Life? (OECD Publishing, 2013), 17–31, http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/economics/how-s-life-2013_9789264201392-en#page1.
 Please see the World Bank report on global inequality here: http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SI.POV.GINI South Africa has a GINI coefficient of 63.1, which was the highest in the world at the time of the report in 2009.