Against the Tide by Steven Friedman
Do we take censuses too seriously? This year's census, released a few days ago, has been criticised for not counting many South Africans. We are told that this is important partly because the government needs the census to work out what we need. But, when any census anywhere tells us that it has given us an entirely accurate picture of our country and what it needs, we should have our doubts. More important, the government should not use a census to decide what we need - it should listen to the people when they tell it what we need.
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Steven Friedman is a public commentator and an academic, currently employed as a Research Professor at the University of Johannesburg. He has been writing on South African politics for the entire democratic period both as a scholar and public commentator. He has published books on South Africa’s transition to democracy, the role of the trade union movement, and current South African politics. He has also written columns and articles for several South African newspapers. His writing seeks to use academic research to shed light on current politics but to ensure that this is conveyed in a way easily understood by people who have no academic training.