Zwelethemba’s Hope
Hope is directed to a future good which is hard but not impossible to attain.
omas Aquinas (Summa eologica, circa 1270)
In preceding chapters we have traced a journey to develop a set of robust and
sustainable processes—a model—designed to enable poor communities to
contribute to the accomplishment of eective and legitimate security gov-
As we come to the end of this journey—a journey that we have
examined through the lens of four ideals of good governance—we return to
where we began, namely, to the period immediately aer South Africas rst
democratic elections and to a small energetic, committed, and hopeful group
of people drawn from a desperately poor suburb in the town of Worcester,
who joined together with a small, and equally enthusiastic, group of profes-
sionals from the University of the Western Cape—our modelers.
Unlike today, a little over 15 years later, when almost daily service deliv-
ery protests express the anger and frustration of millions of people at the
failure of the South African government to provide basic services, our mod-
elers were full of hope that post-1994 their lives would be better. Indeed for
many, and perhaps most, Zwelethembians, realizing the new South Africa
they hoped for would, they believed, require their participation not simply as
voters, but as nation builders. ey had directly participated in the struggle
against apartheid that had enabled them to vote for the rst time in their
lives and they expected that building a new South Africa would also require
their active involvement. For the people of Zwelethemba, and most certainly
our modelers, this was a time to contribute to building an eective, demo-
cratic, and just country. e desire for “payback” that has become so much a
part of the politics of South Africa todaya desire that was emblematically
expressed in a statement by a government ocial who observed that “we did
not participate in the struggle to be poor”—while certainly present, did not
imply that one should simply “sit back” and wait for delivery.
What the modelers hoped to discover was a set of pathways for engage-
ment that would enable ordinary South Africans to participate actively,
in ways that were consistent with the values set out in the constitution, in
reshaping their neighborhoods so that they would become safe places in
which they and their children could live, work, and play. e modelers were
looking for ways in which micro, grassroots processes could be established
that would enable South Africans, particularly poor South Africans living

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