Thursday, November 5, 2009

Ramphele's memorial lecture to Helen Suzman Foundation

Read full text of the speech

BY NOT protesting against the decay of social services and public schooling, all South Africans are to blame for high rates of crime and unemployment among youths, says businesswoman and anti- apartheid activist Dr Mamphela Ramphele.

Speaking at the annual Helen Suzman lecture in Cape Town this week Ramphele urged South African youth to engage in peaceful protest against the moral decay of society “as loud as we did (under apartheid) — even against laws that could have you shot”.

“We’ve had shocking statements made in our public sphere. What kind of ethics allows young people to say Kader Asmal should just lie down and die? In the Free State a young man said (University of Free State Rector Professor) Jonathan Jansen should be shot dead? For what? For making a decision?

“That’s the morality of the group which thinks this is a good thing. But what morals make you silent in the face of these words? We should really be outraged,” she said.

Ramphele said this was the result of allowing the schooling system to decay to a point where a high number of youths are not attending school anymore.

“And you wonder why you have higher electric fences and youths who will take your cellphone and come back to stab you. They are filled with rage. And you have failed them. We are responsible for the situation we are in now.”

Ramphele said these were all signs that SA was at a crossroads, struggling to emerge from the growing pains of its young democracy.

“The issue we are faced with is to rediscover the ideals so many people have dreamt of. We have to (acknowledge) that we have grossly underestimated what is needed to become a society.

“We underestimated the diversions in the journey, pre-1994, that has brought us here and the foundations of our democracy is only emerging now. But we are compelled to double our efforts.” Roux van Zyl Business Day

Read the text of news today about the speech
on Business Day

and then Independent Online

And read about Mamphela Ramphele

Posted by HWB Communications, Cape Town's premier PR agency specialising in crisis communications & media relations in South Africa. The Helen Suzman Foundation is a client of HWB.