The New South Africa

A passionate South African has written a post days after the elections and it’s being shared far and wide for all the right reasons.


Sithembile Mbete is a 31 year old political researcher who graduated from the University of Cape Town with a Masters in International Relations.

She has experience working in both NGOs and government.

The incredible South African was previously employed as a political researcher in the Political Information and Monitoring Service (PIMS) at Idasa, where she researched key issues in South African politics.

Mbete also worked as an assistant researcher in the Secretariat of the National Planning Commission, where she contributed towards drafting the National Development Plan 2030 and now lectures in the politics department at the University of Pretoria.

As a Steve Biko Fellow with a master’s in international relations Mbete has always kept a close eye on South Africa’s transition to democracy.

“I was six when the ANC was unbanned and my parents were very politically involved. I remember very vividly the debates and discussions before the 1994 elections, that period sparked my interest in South African politics.”

Mbete believes the only way anything will get done in South Africa is if its citizens contribute actively to the country’s development. It’s time to put the freedoms of democracy to work.

Mbete wrote the perfect status in relation to the recent South African elections that is being shared for all the right reasons…

Here is a link to the post and a full transcript below:

Now that I’ve gotten some sleep, three thoughts from being at the IEC results centre and doing media work over the past week:

1. The profile of the average talk radio caller has changed. Susan/Mike in Randburg has been replaced by Thembi/Thabo in Diepkloof/Midrand, who is a civil servant or works in the private sector in a job for which they are overqualified and underpaid. Because of this they have front row view of the corruption and incompetence of the state as well as the continued racism and corruption of the private sector. The ANC created the opportunities to raised them up into the middle class but it has also created the conditions that threaten to push them back down into poverty. Having grown up in the movement, Thembi/Thabo has outgrown it. They may be a relatively small proportion of the general population but they are shaping the national discourse and the ANC ignores them at its peril.

2. This election, culminating in the powerful silent protest at the results announcement, is ironically the fruit of the ANC’s 1994 democratic project. Those four young women, in their early 20s, are what happens when you grow up free in a democratic society. It is that very freedom and ungovernability that JZ harnessed to take power in the ANC in 2007. It is also what he has systematically tried to suppress using the security cluster as state president.

3. South Africa is now really a young adult of 22. Four years past childhood with all the freedom of adulthood and not all of the responsibility. She is challenging authority and destroying the establishment but hasn’t quite figured out what she wants to put in its place. She is growing up and taking the messiest, noisiest, funniest and most unpredictable way to get there.

She may reach 30 battered, bruised and jaded, constrained by a new structure that oppresses her instead of bringing more freedom.

I’m optimistic that she will reach 30 with a few scars but on a solid path- wiser, calmer, wealthier and more compassionate to herself and others.

I think we’re all optimistic that South Africa is on the right path to becoming the wiser, calmer, wealthier & more compassionate country, we know she can be.

And together… if we all work together… we may get there sooner than her 30th.

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About the Author

Brent Lindeque is the founder and editor in charge at Good Things Guy.

Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.


  1. It seems that this was the first election that people voted because of what and how they reasoned, instead of voting purely for their feelings. May the trend continue, and reasoning learnt by all voters. Education is the ONLY way to uplift anybody. As soon as the fierce grip of the leading party is released, and my vote is not cast purely to make that happen, the party with the best solution to educate ALL South Africans equally, will have my vote.

  2. I may not be a South African but my interest in south African politics has taught me a lot concerning race and gender in the SA political discourse. Unemployment has always been blamed on the apartheid regime. What I know is that it took only ten years for Dubai and Singapore to change their fortunes. It has been 22 years since SA gained freedom from the so called white minority, yet the current leadership blames the olden regime for their inability to create jobs for the youth. How do we expect leaders without credibility to rule our behalf and expect them to deliver? We would continue to refer to the past until we enter into a state of no dignity. We appoint leaders without qualifications simply because they were in exile, only in SA would one find this. Let us put an end to our traditional way of electing leaders and elect leaders who have the credential and the ability to think and reason critically in terms of creating jobs and improving our lives.

  3. If the country will go from now to were each child has supervision from the time she goes to school to 6 when mom and dad comes from work(the average household) then I’m all for it….living on the cape flats is not for the faint hearted and 12 is the new 18 gabgsters are born at 12 why because mom and dad are at work kids pick up bad habits its a fact as gangsters are not born we create that we create unequal sporting opportunities we create unequal work opportunities as well the scales are not right 22 years is far to slow….we xan only rectify by developing were development was not done and then bruises scars will not be an issue cause our kids will be well educated and well groomed for a better country socially

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