Tintswalo’s life worse off than someone born in the ’70s, says researcher

President Cyril Ramaphosa at the 2024 State of the Nation address at the Cape Town City Hall. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane / Independent Newspapers

President Cyril Ramaphosa at the 2024 State of the Nation address at the Cape Town City Hall. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane / Independent Newspapers

Published Feb 11, 2024


Tinswalo’s life story is worse than that of someone born in the 70s, Xolelwa Kashe-Katiya of Indlulamithi Scenarios 2035 has told Newzroom Afrika.

The research-based organisation, which has been researching and conducting studies as well as scenarios building exercises for the future of South Africans, revealed that South Africans born in 1994 and beyond are worse off than those from previous generations.

Kashe-Katiya said Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address, which was anchored on the 30 years of democracy, lacked research-based evidence and only focussed on some of the milestones of democracy.

“The addressed did not infuse research. It reflected on the number of schools built and without a baseline it was working against. This distorts the picture and it can sound like the beautiful picture like hat of Tintswalo. But if you were to measure this against what it is that we set out to do in 1994, the picture then becomes very bleak,” she said.

She said the story of Tintswalo, as illustrated by President Ramaphosa in his address on Thursday, had some pockets of success as the country has become a democratic and just society.

“There were pockets of success – we have become a more just society which has emerged post-94 and we have a Constitution that enables to even have a conversation such as this one, which affords us various freedoms including freedom of expression, etc. But when you look at the reality of it all and if you were to measure and look at research from StatsSA and the barometer that we have been designing, it reveals that we are in a state of lawlessness, where the national coffers are completely eroded and state capture and we are not seeing any real consequences,” she said.

She said the reality of Tintswalo was different from how the president presented it.

“The reality of Tintswalo and the society in which she is growing up in, is increasingly becoming lawless and increasingly becoming a state where we are losing faith in our democratic institutions which are meant to implement all those things,” she said.

She added that has resulted in a gwaragwara state where the morale of South Africans is currently at its lowest levels with rocketing food and fuel hikes being at the centre of distrust between leaders and citizens and state fails to deliver basic services.

On Thursday, Ramaphosa used Tintswalo, a child of the democratic South Africa, to highlight the successes of the governing ANC over the last 30 years.

He said Tintswalo, and many others born in democracy, were beneficiaries of the first policies of the democratic state to provide free health care for pregnant women, and children under the age of six.

“Tintswalo’s formative years were spent in a house provided by the state, one of millions of houses built to shelter the poor.

“Tintswalo grew up in a household provided with basic water and electricity, in a house where her parents were likely to have lived without electricity before 1994,” he said.

Kashe-Katiya said the state has become incapable to deliver on its promises of a better life for all.