Kwadwo Ofori Owusu (SAWIP 2012 Team Member)
Alexandra Appelbaum (SAWIP Class 2012) and Nondumiso Phenyane (SAWIP Class of 2012).
On Monday 10 September, SAWIP 2012 team members met with a delegation from the American Council of Young Political Leaders (ACYPL) by invitation of the U.S. Consulate General, Cape Town. Each ACYPL delegate was involved in the political processes of their home states within the US—some having been elected to their state legislatures, while others were more involved in lobbying or campaigning. The aim of the meeting: to discuss the state of politics in the United States and in South Africa.
Kwadwo Ofori Owusu (SAWIP Class 2012)
ACYPL Members- The Hon. Robert Johnson, (Republican) Member of the Oklahoma State Senate; The Hon. Michael Watson, (Republican) Member of the Mississippi State Senate; Ms Beth Lewallen, (Republican) Legislative Liaison for Maricopa County, Arizona
Tucked away in a corner of the Central Library of Cape Town, three Democrats and three Republicans gave their takes on the campaign trail and the build-up to the 2012 Presidential Election. The panel was balanced, their commentary was fair and their opinions informed, and more than once were there concessions made on points that were challenged by colleagues from across the ideological aisle.
The event was a dialogue in roundtable format, and the SAWIPers were expected to hold their own; and that they did. There were questions on the best model of government, contrasting the way representatives are elected in the two countries, with an eye to the levels to which officials could be held accountable to the people they purport to serve. There were also questions on the likely outcome of the November polls, and their possible effects on South Africa and the rest of the world. And being that the ACYPL delegates were in South Africa to learn about our country, they too probed the SAWIP crew on their views regarding domestic politics, including the importance and result of the various political parties’ elective congresses, which are due to take place at year’s end.
This gathering provided the perfect platform for both the American visitors and their South African hosts to reflect on their experience of the others’ countries and to augment that with the subjective realities of that nation’s citizens.