In March 2011, Rebecca Freeth and Busi Dlamini facilitated a scenarios workshop with the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (IJR) in Cape Town to develop Southern Africa scenarios and to consider the implications of these scenarios for IRJ’s future work on transitional justice and reconciliation. The purpose of the workshop was to support IJR as it moves into the next strategic phase of its work, informed by a strong and collective sense of the possible trajectories of events and their underlying drivers. Furthermore, the IJR team wanted to become sufficiently familiar with the scenarios methodology that they can continue using it to think about the future.
IJR was established in the aftermath of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. It works towards the vision of building fair, democratic and inclusive societies in Africa through three programmes: Reconciliation and Reconstruction, Transitional Justice in Africa and Political Analysis. Please see www.ijr.org.za for more information.
The value of scenarios lies in the fact that they, unlike many other strategic tools, embrace uncertainty. They build an awareness of how these uncertainties might play out so that an organisation like IJR can adapt more effectively and exercise their influence strategically. An organisation that has conducted scenarios tends to be better prepared for a range of possible futures and more equipped to recognise early warning signals and to read what is happening as the future unfolds.