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60. What South Africa Does the World Need?

Yes, this Proposal Paper was written by Paul Graham in the twentieth century. Its intention was, and still is, to stimulate a conversation about the existing opportunities to change the world and the extent to which South Africa can and should contribute towards that. It celebrates the human effort to achieve liberty, equality and fraternity and the ways in which these elude us even as they invigorate, as Wordsworth recognized after the French revolution. During the twentieth century South Africa came to occupy a place in the global consciousness out of all proportion to its size. This paper will remind us of some of the reasons for this, of the romance of the moment, of the slow dying embers of that romance, and of the quest that both South Africans and their friends continue on. It asks the question: Is this quest worth continuing or, like the Grail, will it come to stand for an unrequited moment to which all look back in true nostalgia – the pain of recalling the past?