For Immediate Release

28 August 2019


Can South Africa avoid a decline in Left politics?

What lessons can the country learn from political trends in Latin America, especially Brazil?

South Africa shares many similarities with Brazil in terms of the social and economic crises the countries face. Both countries are dealing with slow economic growth and political instability. And both countries  share equal perceptions of  levels of corruption, inequality and racial exclusion.

Given these similarities,  South Africa can draw some lessons from Brazil’s political outcomes

Recently, Brazil elected a new president who propagates strong right-wing views. Unpacking some of the events that led to this political and ideological shift in Brazil, Professor Giorgio Romano Schutte will deliver the Mapungubwe Annual Lecture 2019 on Wednesday, 4th September 2019. The lecture, which is a partnership between the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection (MISTRA) and the University of Johannesburg is under the theme: The age of unreason and ignominy – can we judge the people’s judgement?

The lecture will also cover sub-themes such as:

  • The apparent decline in global humanist and Left politics and the character of current trends in Latin America;
  • The domestic political and social dynamics that influenced the outcome of Brazil’s 2018 electoral outcomes;
  • The impact of ethics as well as safety and security on electoral choices and how the Left is perceived on these measures;
  • Democracy in the era of fraught USA politics and its implications for global economic relations and geopolitics;
  • Possibilities for the poor to protect and advance their socio-economic interests beyond formal political platforms; and
  • The strategic underpinning of the BRICS partnership and whether it can outlive the volatility of politics in  partner-countries and across the globe.

Giorgio Romano Schutte is a Professor in Economics at the Federal University of ABC (Universidade Federal do ABC), in São Paulo. He is also Associate Professor of the National Research Council (Bolsa Produtividade CNPq). His career includes experience in academia, public administration and the labour sector. Between 2004 and 2006, Prof Schutte worked as an international advisor in the office of former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Before his career in public administration, he worked for 13 years (1987-2000) for  European and Brazilian trade unions in the fields of research, policy advice and education. He has also worked for the government Research Institute of Applied Economics (IPEA); the private university Belas Artes de São Paulo; and the World Bank as Regional Advisor for South America of the Cities Alliance.

He has written and published extensively on labour issues, international economics, globalisation and trade unions. He holds a PhD from the University of São Paulo (USP) and a Masters in Political Science/ International Relations from the University of Amsterdam (1987).

For media enquiries or interview requests please contact:

Communications Officer

Siphokazi Sigenu


To RSVP to the lecture, please email: