Political Journeys in Consciousness At a Time Of Local and Global Tipping Points: The Possibility Of Doing Democracy Differently
Jean Mathews Wildervanck (Nelson Mandela University)

For many years, in many nations, democracy claimed the high ground and presented itself as the preferred system but now, across the globe, proponents of the democratic ideal battle to do so with conviction. By many accounts, democracy is failing its constituents with democratic processes bogged down in political polarization and plagued by oligarchies not much different to those present in autocracies. In this paper I explore this statement by not only referring to the state of democracy in Africa but also relate it to similar concerns expressed at the 2021 Integral European Conference which I recently attended. Furthermore, one cannot discuss democracy without referencing the double-edged sword that is capitalism: the danger endless economic growth models hold for a finite planet on the one hand and on the other, the way in which competitiveness fosters excellence.  Collectively, it would seem, the world finds itself at a tipping point, also with regards to governance and polity. All of this speaks to our political journeys in consciousness and the need for a new story. I therefore make the argument that if democracy is to have a future on our continent, we have to rethink democracy specifically for our context. How might we do democracy differently; can we do it in way which is congruent with South Africa and the African continent?