This volume offers the insights and reflections – both critical and self-critical – of a prominent civil society activist who has been engaged in local and global struggles for emancipation for over 30 years. On the basis of his own experiences in many different contexts Kumi Naidoo pleads for the involvement of ordinary people in the work for greater justice in this world. His point of departure is that civil society cannot be strengthened in a vacuum. Its achievements must be the result of actions by real people dealing with real problems. The volume deals with several of today’s most burning issues and also touches on sensitive matters within the global movements engaged in struggles for justice and equality. It does not avoid unpopular views on several issues, and advocates engagement with representatives of various agencies, including controversial ones such as faith-based organisations and the business community. While being guided by a notion of non-violent forms of resistance, the author nonetheless promotes radical alternatives to the existing reproduction of societies as a necessity to meet the challenges in securing the survival of the human species and a decent life for all. His reflections add to the search for sustainable alternatives and the potential contributions that concerned citizen action can offer. This volume thereby also contributes to a better understanding of the potential that a so-called ‘third United Nations’ can offer to global governance issues currently at stake.



Chapter 1 » Citizen action and the democratic deficit


Chapter 2 » Re-defining what change means
and how it occurs


Chapter 3 » Accountability


Chapter 4 » Citizen organisations and the business community


Chapter 5 » Secular and religious civil society dynamics – How do we break the barriers and bridge the divide?


Chapter 6 » Poverty


Chapter 7 » Climate change – A catalyst for civil society unity?


Chapter 8 » The prospects and limitations of civil society in challenging environments


Chapter 9 » The challenge of youth citizenship – From the margins to the centre


Chapter 10 » The majority are socially excluded!! Marginalised groups and the challenge for civil society