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South Africa at a Crossroads: a Conversation with Terence McNamee

March 16, 2022 @ 12:00 pm - 12:30 pm EDT

A discussion on the trajectory South Africa is on and what Canadians need to understand.

Please note the event will be live-streamed on the the CIC’s Youtube channel. Please register at link below and you will receive an email with link to the youtube channel.

In 1994, on the eve of South Africa’s transition from apartheid to democracy, one of the country’s great journalists famously wrote that “tomorrow is another country”. Under the inspirational leadership of Nelson Mandela, South Africa captured the world’s imagination, not least Canada’s. Canada had robustly supported the fight against apartheid and helped shape South Africa’s Constitution and Bill of Rights, which drew on the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Through the tenure of Mandela’s predecessor, Thabo Mbeki, South Africa continued on a strong trajectory of impressive economic growth, political stability, and widening black economic empowerment. Internationally, the promise of Mandela, that South Africa could become a beacon of hope for the world and African development, seemed within reach. The culmination of such hopes seemed to come together in South Africa’s successful hosting of the FIFA World Cup in 2010. Yet not long after the World Cup, South Africa slipped into a profound political and economic crisis – and there the country remains, unable to renew itself after a ruinous decade of “state capture” under the former President, Jacob Zuma.

In this presentation, Dr Terence McNamee explores why South Africa has become so badly unstuck domestically and is unable to repair its damaged international reputation, which may sink even further due to the government’s failure to criticize Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. Dr McNamee considers 2022 a pivotal year in defining what replaces ‘Mandela’s South Africa’, the country that once so inspired Canada and the world.

Speaker: Dr Terence McNamee has two decades of international experience working across a diverse set of issues and sectors, from think tanks and consultancy to publishing and family offices. After graduating in 1992 from the University of British Columbia (Vancouver, Canada) with a BA in History, Terence went on to pursue a MA of Political Science in 1995 at McGill University, and completed his PhD in International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science (2002). He has published articles in Foreign Policy, The New York Times and Financial Times, and longer works including scholarly essays and an internationally acclaimed popular history. He has delivered presentations and speeches in more than 30 countries across 4 continents and served as an advisor to a head of state. He previously held positions as a visiting expert to the Prism Group, ISAF IX, based in Kabul, Afghanistan (2006), was a member of the Atlantic Strategy Group (2016, German Marshall Fund) and a member of the ‘Harvard University-South Africa Fellows’ selection panel (2012-2017). Terence is currently a Global Fellow of the Wilson Center (Washington, DC) and Chairman of the Institute for Continuing History (Australia).




CIC Montreal Branch