This edition of Focus is dedicated to Arts and Culture. The question may well be posed as to why an organisation whose mandate is the promotion of liberal constitutional democracy should be spending time and resources on the Arts. At the Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF), we believe that the development of both human and social capital is central to the tasks of building a society where both individual excellence and community development are valued.
This edition of Focus continues with the theme of ‘Making South Africa Work’, first explored in the previous edition where issues surrounding Human Capital Development were addressed. This edition surveys aspects of regulation and their impact on the economy and society.
We take our lead in this edition from Daniel de Kadt’s challenging exposition of why human capital matters. de Kadt goes beyond the usual rhetoric of the importance of human capital and contextualises it politically and socially. All who are interested in South Africa’s developmental trajectory should spend time reflecting on his observations and conclusion.
The previous edition of Focus, dedicated to commemorating 100 years of Statehood, had as its theme, Change and Continuity. This theme of change and continuity could also characterise this edition of Focus, which is dedicated to South Africa and the Changing World.
This edition of Focus is dedicated to a series of reflections about 100 years of statehood in South Africa. In my invitation to contributors, I pointed out that the political events which led to Union are well documented and widely known; so was the deliberate marginalisation of the majority of South Africans during the deliberations that led to the establishment of Union in 1910. Indeed, it was this marginalisation which led to the formation of the ANC in 1912, and it was only after some 84 years after the foundation of the state, that a constitutional and political ‘normalisation’ and legitimacy were achieved.
In keeping with the Foundation’s stated policy of seeking to offer a platform for both seasoned commentators and new and marginalised voices, we present this edition of Focus on Learning and Teaching. The Foundation works from the premise that education is not only an important developmental issue, but is also a human rights issue. Beyond the central concern of personal growth, our social development and, crucially, our long-term economic development is dependent on the acquisition and availability of suitable and appropriate skills. Arguably the major constraint confronting South Africa’s growth trajectory has always been its poor human capital base.