Background to the “Up We Go Mzansi” Movement

In 2012 the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture established a Social Cohesion Advocates Programme, made up of activists invited to serve voluntarily by the Minister. They were tasked to assist with promoting National Unity and Social Cohesion. Their mandate is drawn from the National Development Plan (Outcome 14), which has set the following five pillars of the Medium-Term Strategic Framework goals for South Africa to achieve by 2030:
  1. Knowledge of the Constitution and fostering Constitutional values
  2. Equalising opportunities, promoting inclusion and redress
  3. Promoting social cohesion across society through increased interaction across race and class
  4. Promoting active citizenry and broad-based leadership
  5. Achieving a social compact that will lay the basis for equity, inclusion and prosperity for all
UP WE GO MZANSI is led by the Social Cohesion Advocates Programme, made up of volunteer activists who are powered by the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture.

We wish to inspire all people living in South Africa to work together, and to each do what is required to improve the status quo.

We believe that collectively we will make headway on achieving the above goals, as we each activate our own personal power to move ourselves, others and South Africa forwards and upwards.

The overall goal of the Social Cohesion Advocates Programme is to mobilise society in its entirety, to work together to build a caring and proud society, based on shared values and a vision informed by:

  • Advancing constitutional democracy, human rights and equality.
  • Promoting non-racialism, non-tribalism, non-sexism, ubuntu and social solidarity.
  • Building unity in diversity amongst South Africans, as well as with the region, continent and the international community.
  • Encouraging healing of individuals and communities, and more intercultural and intercommunity cooperation.
  • Improving inclusivity and a sense of belonging for all, and striving for transformation, redress and social justice in all areas of society.
  • Inspiring empowered, inclusive and active citizenship that will define our National consciousness and identity.

We wish to hear from our youth via our Up We Go Mzansi Creative Competition. We know that our youth (under 35’s) make up almost two thirds of our population. The future needs to be jointly envisaged and created, incorporating the inspiration of the youth and the wisdom of the elders. The energy of the youth, if directed, is what will set South Africa apart and propel us forward to be the inspiration of Africa and the world.

We want to hear from the public about any proven, successful, and scalable project(s), that will enhance our society socially and/or economically. We will do our very best to try and introduce viable concepts to the relevant stakeholders in government.

(Details for contacting Work Streams with relevant projects: Please only contact us if your project is already piloted and a proven success. Before you contact us, please see a list of our workstreams below to see which workstream it is likely to be relevant to. Emails need to be sent to Eleni Ratheb at with the WORKSTREAM NAME and YOUR NAME in the subject line. Your email MUST contain a summary of what your project aims for, what is has achieved and a spreadsheet showing the investment required versus the yield/result based on hard evidence from pilot studies.)

Why is Social Cohesion Important?

Social cohesion helps us to feel that we all belong in South Africa – it makes us feel proud of our country. It increases our sense of identity and shared humanity, trust of and respect for one other, and it builds respect and diversity.

It helps us create a society in which everyone is valued, as enshrined in our Constitution.

Where there is a high level of social cohesion, people help those who are marginalized. They care for one another.

By working towards social cohesion, everyone living in South Africa benefits.

We are stronger together. Working together does not mean that we forget the past, or that we expect people to suppress their pain, but it is essential for growing a strong, healthy nation in which everyone can prosper. There can be a better future ahead for all – but we must persevere, and work together.

Each of us have a role to play as a powerful force to set South Africa on a different path.

When every person in South Africa finds a way to unlock their personal power and potential, and we each choose to make sacrifices along our journey to do the right thing not only for ourselves but for the progress and good of those around us, then we will all find ourselves moving forwards and upwards with our flag held high!


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