On December 6, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES), a non-profit German organization with operations in South Africa, launched the Lindiwe Mabuza Space, a new conference facility, in the country.
The launch commemorated a year since the passing of Lindiwe Mabuza, the distinguished South African diplomat who died at the age of 83. An anti-apartheid activist, Mabuza went on to become a member of the first democratically-elected parliament of South Africa. She was also an academic, journalist and poet.
In attendance at the launch was Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, South Africa’s Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, also a former anti-apartheid activist.
As part of the program, group exercises were held where people posed answers to important problems of the day.
“We must be the change we want to see,” added Dlamini-Zuma to the discussion. When the group spoke of greater youth participation, she emphasized that women should be included.
Sebastian Sperling, resident director of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung in Johannesburg, spoke to FORBES AFRICA about how the new facility would be used.
“It’s a space for progressives to meet, develop ideas, engage on ideas, experiment, and talk to each other again – as we have felt today. And lastly, build alliances, overcome our divisions, especially in the progressive camps,” says Sperling.
The organization is a global network, and while they are working with South African partners, a big element of their work is creating links internationally, “because we need to organize across borders,” he says.
FES is advancing socio-political and economic development in the spirit of social democracy, through civic education, research, and international cooperation.