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Reimaginging Relationships: Suggested Reading

Published Date: 26 November 2014

We suggested the following blogs and articles to participants before the event to help them think about what it means to reimagine relationships.

1. The End of Hope: SA Civil Society's Race to the Bottom
South African civil society has happily drunk the cool aid in tacitly agreeing to cut salaries and de-professionalise their own organisations. While donors don't blink at financing international NGOs to recruit highly qualified fundraisers, researchers and project designers, local civil society has allowed them to drive salaries and operational costs forever lower turning our organisations into largely bankrupt, mute and cheap service delivery organisations. Call it the Walmart approach, but funding from donors pretty much embodies the principle of keeping the supplier on the verge of bankruptcy to ensure uncritical compliance.

2. The tragedy of the private, the potential of the public
From South Africa to Brazil, from Italy to the US, in Uruguay, Greece, Norway, the UK and in many other countries, municipal councils are taking services back under public control. Public Service workers and their fellow community members are not only defending public services but are also struggling to make them democratic and responsive to the people's needs and desires.

3. Are South Africa's Protests Really Driven by Rising Expectations?
Are South Africans protesting because government service delivery is poor? Or are they protesting because delivery is so good that expectations have been raised to the point where government cannot meet them? The 'rising expectation' explanation of the protests has found favour with a diverse range of institutions and individuals from the government to the SAIRR to City Press editor, Ferial Haffajee. This argument is fascinating, as it allows vested interests to perform a rhetorical sleight-of-hand, turning a 'bad news story' into a 'good news story'. The 'rising expectations' rationalisation allows government to argue that protests occur, not because the government is doing badly on service delivery, but because it is doing well.

4. INSIDE|OUT newspaper is a quarterly paper published by the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship who will be joining us at the event. Read the latest version, which focuses on financing new ways of social impact.

5. Izindaba Zokudla (Conversations about Food) – Innovation in the Soweto Food System is a multi-stakeholder engagement project that aims to create opportunities for urban agriculture in a sustainable food system in Soweto.

Read more about this project which we will be visiting during the site visit.

6. 9 Future jobs that will power Africa

7. The Role of mHealth in South Africa
In this article, Gustav Praekelt, who join us at the event, speaks about how to scale mobile health solutions. He points at the importance of working with what is already present, plan for scaling from the start and engaging the user in a two-way conversation.

8. After inspiring fossil fuel divestment, will South Africa's own campaign succeed?
South Africa’s carbon emissions rank among the worst in the world. So why is there debate about a fossil fuel divestment movement which may be close to a transformative victory?

9. The Dawn of System Leadership
This article states that these modern times ask for a system leader, a person who catalyzes collective leadership, the way Mandela had. The deep changes necessary to accelerate progress against society's most intractable problems require this unique type of leader.

10. Top 10 trends of social innovation in South Africa, by Jordan Junge