In the two decades of its democracy, South Africa has come a long way in dismantling the legal infrastructure of apartheid. The long struggle for democracy and freedom had prepared its protagonists to imagine a state and a society that should be achieved through strong, visionary policies. After 1994, no area of public life was left untouched by profound reforms, be it education, justice, tax collection, housing, health, defense, water, energy or the national budget. But in spite of the achievements of the transition, an increasing number of South African citizens are voicing their disappointment. The democratic project is being challenged by inequality, inertia and violence. The symposium "South Africa: Challenges and Promises of Democracy" invites stakeholders in economics, education, justice and culture to undertake a critical appraisal of the developments since 1994. What are the possibilities of re-engaging the South African archive of hope?