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04 August 2020 | Story Dr Nitha Ramnath

Apart from its devastating impact on people’s lives and livelihoods, the COVID-19 pandemic has also affected the nature and quality of our democracies – democracy read in its widest sense here as collective and individual self-determination. Formal, institutional democracy has beencurtailed through the imposition of states of emergency or disaster and the logistical difficulties associated with social distancing. Extra-institutional democratic work, such as protest and social-movement activity, has suffered from prohibitions imposed by law and through state suppression related to ‘lockdown’. The nature (and perhaps democratic quality) of public conversation has changed – for better or worse – from increasing reliance on ‘science’ and ‘scientists’ to justify public choices. The crisis has brought to the fore already existing characteristics of our democracies, such as the prevalence and power of special-interest bargaining, the extreme inequality of our societies, and chauvinist nationalisms that force us to ask whether we have ever had democracy at all. What will be the long-term effects of these impacts of the crisis on our democracies? What will democracy look like post-COVID? What does the crisis teach us about what our democracies have always been?

Join us for a discussion of these and other democracy-related issues in these troubled times by a panel of four hailing from Colombia, India, South Africa, and the USA.

Date: Thursday, 13 August
Time: 14:00-16:00 (South African Standard Time – GMT +2)


Please RSVP to Mamello Serasengwe at no later than 12 August 2020 upon which you will receive a Skype for Business meeting invite and link to access the webinar


Prof Natalia Angel Cabo (University of Los Andes, Bogota, Colombia)

Dr Quaraysha Ismail-Sooliman (University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa)

Dr Usha Ramanathan  Independent Law Researcher  (Delhi, India)

Prof Katie Young (Boston College, Boston, USA) 


Prof Danie Brand (Free State Centre for Human Rights, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa)   

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