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Curios.ty 17: #Democracy

- Curiosity

This issue is very timely as South Africa celebrates 30 years of democracy, and heads to the polls again on 29 May 2024.

The 17th issue of Wits University’s research magazine, Curios.ty, themed: #Democracy, is available online now: (To republish articles, see guidelines below.)

| Curiosity 17: #Democracy © turned to our academics and professional staff for their research, perspectives and commentary on both the progress and shortcomings in our democracy. Their work interrogates democracy as a political system as well as its liberal, conservative, and other alternatives.

Our feature stories explore how media maintain and support democracy in the 21st century, and how crime and corruption undermine it. We share research and expertise on hot topics including AI, religion, migration, social grants, and the National Health Insurance.

Our experts also answer your questions on the Constitution, and investigate environmental rights, conservation, and water wars and how all of these relate to our individual and collective democratic roles and responsibilities. There is also a call for a social consensus revolution.

Despite our shortcomings, there is reason to be cautiously optimistic about the country’s future.


  1. The rise and fall and reform of democracy: A violent freedom (page 8): Despite the knife-edge upon which South Africans live, the country is not, in fact, a failed state – but a new form of democracy is required.
  2. How colonialism bastardised ancient rituals (page 18): Traditional rituals and practices such as lobola and initiation are often viewed through a western lens and are misunderstood as misogynist or patriarchal.
  3. Social grants: A hand up, not a hand-out (page 20): The existing child support grant and proposed pregnancy grant both give children a healthier start in life, and they make democratic and economic sense.
  4. NHI: From aspiration to implementation (page 24): Access to healthcare services is a constitutional right but is equal healthcare in South Africa a reality in our lifetime?
  5. Playing the migration blame game (page 26): Blaming foreigners is merely a smokescreen for politicians' own failures.
  6. AI and democracy: For better and for worse (page 32): Today’s news and current affairs landscape, which underpins our democracy, requires both ethical content producers and discerning consumers.
  7. Religion and the state: A shifting cocktail of contradictions (page 36): Can political structures withstand the pressures of religious groups’ ‘New Right’ ideology?
  8. What environmental equality in Africa really look like (page 44): South Africa must urgently industrialise to ensure sustainability and a genuinely just transition.

About Curios.ty

Curios.ty is a print and digital magazine that aims to make the research at Wits University accessible to multiple publics. Curios.ty is available on the Wits website here:

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