Home Featured Newly-established think tank Rivonia Circle aims to get South Africa ‘back on track’ by producing ideas and young leaders

Newly-established think tank Rivonia Circle aims to get South Africa ‘back on track’ by producing ideas and young leaders

by Zahid Jadwat

JOHANNESBURG – The newly-established think tank ‘Rivonia Circle’ aims to get South Africa back on track by generating ideas that inform real action and training young leaders, says the organisation’s founder.


Speaking to Salaamedia, former Business Day editor and author Songezo Zibi said the Rivonia Circle will tackle serious issues faced by ordinary South Africans, such as unemployment, by training young leaders and facilitating deeper democratic participation.


“Rivonia Circle is a hub of ideas about how to get our country back on track. Those ideas are meant to inform a real action; unemployment is very personal to many of us in different ways and it’s one of the issues we are hoping to [address]. Fundamentally, we want to produce ideas that offer a different and more prosperous direction for our country,” he said.


Zibi added that the think tank aims to “train and develop, in particular, young leaders who are going to be able to take those ideas into the different spheres of our society – some will be in business, as entrepreneurs, some will be in religious organisations, civil society and some of them even in government or politics. The more innovators [and] forward-looking leaders we have, the better for the country”.


According to Zibi, the lack of formal structures means that ordinary South Africans are unable to put their ideas forward. The Rivonia Circle will play an important role in ensuring that the voices of ordinary South Africans are heard, he said.


“We’re going to facilitate higher and deeper democratic participation by bringing all of these ideas and information and conversation to as many ordinary people as possible because, a lot of the time, people aren’t able to participate in democratic processes because they don’t have enough information.”

“Once they have information and they have ideas that they want to put forward, it’s not in a well organised fashion so that their voice can count and that is the space in which we’re going to play.”


Zibi denied that the formation of the organisation is a political party in the making, saying that the idea is for political parties to “steal” ideas and leaders instead.

Julie Alli spoke to Songezo Zibi, founder of the Rivonia Circle, on News & Views. Watch the full discussion here:

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