Whispering Truth to Power
Thuli Madonsela and 25 Years of Democracy in South Africa
In April 1994, South Africa held its first free and general elections. The most evident winner of these elections was the African National Congress (ANC) – a party which symbolized the very epitome of liberation from oppression and one which had given much hope for a profound change to the country’s political and economic system. The ANC has held supremacy in South Africa ever since.
Today, 25 years later and on the precipice of another election, this once-held image of a liberated and transformed nation has crumbled. Instead, the country is now plagued by numerous scandals of bribery, self-enrichment and nepotism by its Former President, Jacob Zuma and many others whom he surrounded himself with. The unearthing of these scandals eventually led to his removal in 2016 but it was by no means an easy feat.
Central to this fight to defend the Country’s constitution and its judicial system against these corrupt political circles, stood one person: Thuli Madonsela. Thuli, a lawyer by profession, served South Africa as its State Protector . She did so with great integrity and conviction and in the process while gaining significant respect by many she also faced great resistance including threats of death. This did not deter her however. When her term of office came to an end in November 2016, she released what she called the “State Capture Report” – a report which outlines the extent to which politicians and business people had literally captured the South African democracy for their own interests. .
In “Whispering Truth to Power”, the South African filmmaker Shameela Sedat accompanies Thuli Madonsela over the last year of her term in office. The film depicts a portrait of an exceptional woman who did not deter from standing up against corruption and the misuse of power in Post-Apartheid South Africa.
Following the film screening, we will be in conversation with its director on the state of democracy in South Africa, the ongoing inequality in the country and the anger of its citizens as the country attempts to recover from state capture.