JONATHAN JANSEN | Welcome to uMngeni, where the New SA is at last dawning

Its new leaders are young, competent and anti-corruption – in short, exactly what a nation that’s in the ashes needs

24 November 2021 - 19:22

Few South Africans would know where to find uMngeni municipality on a map. But throw in familiar town names such as Hilton and Howick and suddenly you have a sense of place; a mental picture of those lush green fields of the beautiful KwaZulu-Natal Midlands. A few weeks ago, a little miracle unfolded in the municipal elections in uMngeni. A young white man, 30-year-old Christopher Pappas, became mayor, with a young black man, Sandile Mnikathi, 26, as his deputy.

Everything about this arrangement was wonderfully countercultural in the racial absolutisms of South African society. The white man is gay, the black man from a blended family. The new mayor is a development economist; his deputy is pursuing a PhD in the politics of local government. Both are young, energetic leaders who are smart, knowledgeable and impressive...

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