12 August 2021 | Story Dr Nitha Ramnath

As a public higher-education institution in South Africa with a responsibility to contribute to public discourse, the University of the Free State (UFS) will be presenting the webinar as part of the Free State Literature Festival’s online initiative, VrySpraak-digitaal.

The aim of the webinar series is to discuss issues facing South Africa by engaging experts at the university and in South Africa. Some of the topics for 2021 include, among others, reimagining universities for student success; corruption; local elections, the state of business – particularly in the Free State.

In 2020, the webinar series saw the successful participation of leading experts engaging on COVID-19 and the crisis facing the country socially, economically, and politically. This year, in lieu of the Free State Arts Festival, the UFS will present the webinar virtually over a period of five months.

Fourth webinar presented on 24 August 2021
What South Africa will look like after the recent unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, is yet unknown. As the country is attempting to normalise while tallying the human, political, and economic cost of the riots – what we know for sure is that the events of the past few weeks have dispelled the impression of South Africa as exceptional, with a triumphant future. Moreover, the inconsistent response from government during and after the unrest laid bare the divisions within the ruling party. As South Africans are reeling from the aftermath of the looting, a lacklustre response from leaders with unreliable, conflicting messages has brought little comfort to those most in need.

What happens now? What will it take for South Africans to advance a cohesive vision to provide a sustainable future for the next generation?

Date: Tuesday, 24 August 2021
Topic: Is South Africa falling apart – where to from here?
Time: 12:30-14:00
RSVP: Alicia Pienaar, pienaaran1@ufs.ac.za by 20 August 2021


Prof Francis Petersen
Rector and Vice-Chancellor, UFS


• Prof Bonang Mohale
UFS Chancellor
Professor of Practice
Johannesburg Business School, and
Chairman Bidvest Group Limited

• Nikiwe Bikitsha

Board Member: Nelson Mandela Foundation
CEO and co-founder: Amargi Media

• Qaanitah Hunter

Political Editor: News24

• Prof Anthony Turton
Affiliated Professor
UFS Centre for Environmental Management

Bios of speakers:

Prof Bonang Mohale

A Professor of Practice at the Johannesburg Business School’s College of Business and Economics, and Chairman of the Bidvest Group Limited, Prof Mohale is a published author and respected business leader who has held chairmanships and directorships at some of South Africa’s top companies. He currently serves on the boards of Swiss Re Africa Limited, Rand Merchant Bank Limited (RMB), the Automobile Association of South Africa, and SBV. Prof Mohale was the former Chief Executive Officer of Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA). In 2001, he received the President’s Award for his servanthood in South African industry, and in 2019 the Free Market Foundation’s Luminary Award. Prior to joining BLSA, Prof Mohale was the Chairman of Shell Downstream South Africa (Pty) Limited, and Vice-President of Shell Upstream.
Ms Nikiwe Bikitsha

Nikiwe Bikitsha is a former journalist who has been at the forefront of major national and international developments in a news and current affairs broadcasting career spanning twenty years. Nikiwe is a Fulbright Hubert H Humphrey Fellow – the Humphrey programme is a mid-career Fulbright exchange fellowship awarded to people who have demonstrated leadership. Nikiwe holds an MA in Journalism and Media Studies from the University of the Witwatersrand, and an MSc degree in African Studies from the University of Oxford. She serves as trustee on the board of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, is a member of the Deloitte Global Advisory Council and an independent non-executive director of Deloitte Africa. Despite leaving journalism, Nikiwe remains a keen observer of society.
Ms Qaanitah Hunter

Qaanitah Hunter is an award-winning political journalist and author. She is the political editor of News24 and author of Balance of Power: Ramaphosa and the future of South Africa. Qaanitah has won a number of awards for her work, including the Nat Nakasa award for brave and courageous journalism in 2019. She is currently a master’s student at the University of the Witwatersrand.  She has reported fearlessly on state capture, the Zuma years, and the political transition thereafter. Her constant probing and investigations have played a pivotal role in holding truth to power. Her writing on South African politics and investigations has featured prominently on many national media platforms, often setting the agenda in the country. Qaanitah is well-versed in issues of governance and her well-rounded and balanced political reporting has contributed to her astute analysis of news and current affairs. She has fought strongly against censorship and intimidation among journalists and has been a strong advocator for the freedom of the press. Qaanitah believes that the prospect of any democracy to persevere is pinned on how free the media is and its ability to hold those in power accountable.
Prof Anthony Turton

Prof Anthony Turton is an Affiliated Professor in the Centre for Environmental Management at the University of the Free State (UFS). He specialises in strategic planning, transboundary water resource management, policy and institutional issues, conflict resolution (mitigation), political risk assessment for large infrastructural projects, and research programme design. He is also the Director of Nanodyn Systems Pty Ltd. Prof Turton’s focus is on resources, more specifically the need to overcome water and energy constraints to our future economic growth and prosperity, both as a country and the entire SADC region. As an environmentally aware person, he believes that we are reaching the limits to our current developmental approaches and will be forced to make changes in the near future, whether we like it or not. By understanding and anticipating this, Prof Turton assists organisations in staying ahead of the game by isolating fundamental drivers at work and by identifying emerging opportunities.

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